The advertising is getting out now on the quick grass seeding of zoysia grass for your lawn. Is this something we should consider this spring?

No, this is a grass for Zones 6 and 7. You will be disappointed having this in your lawn.

Remember we live in Zone 4, while the grass will grow, it is not the green lush grass you are looking for. It does not green up until June and starts turning brown in August. There are many other grasses which will grow much better in our area. Be sure to buy grass seed suited respectively for shady or sunny areas. This is not the place to skimp on cheap grass seeds, as you are seeding these for now and in the future.

When can I prune my fruit trees?

The ideal time for pruning is between February and mid-March. No need to put any pruning paint on the pruned off stems/branches at this time. The main reason for pruning is to get more air going through the tree, and you will have fewer disease and insect problems. I will talk more on this in future columns.

I will be a new gardener this spring. Suggest some ideas for a successful and good-looking flower and vegetable garden this spring.

Start out with a small garden of some of your favorite flowers and vegetables, and ones that members of your family like to eat.

If you have a gardener friend living in your area, ask their advice, as gardeners are usually willing to share their ideas.

Always try to select and buy healthy plants. An unhealthy looking plant will never develop into a good-producing plant whether it is vegetables or flowers. If you see insects on the plants at the nursery, this may be the reason the plants are unhealthy, and buying these plants will create bigger problems for your other plants at home.

Once you get your garden planted, observe it whenever you have the time. It's easier to get rid of small problems than wait until they grow out of hand.

Is this a good time to be starting flower seeds?

Yes, for the slow-starting flower seeds, one certainly can start these at any time. Remember most seeds are very small; cover them lightly with potting soil, and the word here is patience.

Once the seedlings emerge, make sure there is light on the plants. Cloudy weather, as we have been having in December and early January is poor growing weather without some type of lighting system.


Hank Wessels is a Master Gardener in Watonwan County. He welcomes questions and comments from readers. He may be reached at 601 1st St. SW, Madelia, MN 56062 or (507) 642-8479 or