, Newburyport, MA


April 16, 2014

Tim's Tips: Spring brings up questions on pruning, mulching


Speaking of mulching, who started this trend of mounding mulch up onto the trunks of trees? Mulch should never be mounded up onto the trunk of a tree. Over time, the trapped moisture in the mulch will damage the bark of the tree. Once that bark is damaged, the tree will not be able to take up food and water. Once that happens, you can plan on buying new trees. Mulch should always be kept a few inches away from the trunk or stem of any plant.

The cool spring has caused a lot of people to question when they should be putting down a crabgrass control on their lawns. The rule of thumb is that you put down the crabgrass control when the forsythia bushes come into bloom. The reason for this is that the soil temperature that makes the forsythia bushes drop their flowers is very close to the soil temperature that makes the crabgrass seed sprout. If you put the crabgrass control on too early, you run the risk of heavy rain washing it away.

The other thing that you must know about crabgrass control is that there are different types of crabgrass control. The organic control lasts about four weeks on the surface of the soil. This means that timing is critical if you want it to work. The good news is that you can reseed sooner than you can with the common chemical control. The organic control and the conventional crabgrass control will also kill grass seed. There is a crabgrass control that allows you to put down grass seed without harm to the grass seed, yet it will kill the crabgrass seed.

Well, those are some of the common questions that came up this past week. As always, if you have questions, you can stop by the store for our expert advice.

I’ll talk to you again next week.


Tim Lamprey is the owner of Harbor Garden Center on Route 1 in Salisbury. His website is Do you have questions for Tim? Send them to, and he will answer them in upcoming columns.






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