House & Home

KC Gardens: Answers from the masters

A sampling of recent questions and answers from

KC Gardens

, The Star's gardening blog:

I have new seeded grass and weeds are starting to grow. What shall I use to control weeds and not kill the grass? – Webb

When soil is disturbed, the result is weeds. There are two types of weeds that you will be dealing with. One is the broadleaf weeds such as dandelions, henbit and chickweed. Many of these are starting to flower now. If the grass was seeded last fall and you have mowed the new grass a couple of times then any of the broadleaf herbicides will work. If the grass was seeded this spring then at this point timely mowing is your friend. Most broadleaf herbicides cannot be safely applied until the new seedling grass has been mowed at least twice.

I would like to plant a butterfly bush in my small enclosed patio garden, but I have been reading that they are extremely invasive. Is this true, and if so is there another shrub that would do as well? – Sheila

Butterfly bush is considered an invasive plant in many parts of the country but not in the Kansas City area. Rarely if ever does it reseed in our climate. I would continue to plant this great summer flowering shrub. Another thought — many of the newer varieties on the market are sterile, which means they should not produce seeds.

Tell me about pruning and fertilizing holly. – Joanne

Holly is a nice evergreen addition to the landscape. It is not an easy-to-grow plant; it seems like it either thrives or struggles. It is very dependent on the right micro-climate for success. The goal would be to prune holly as little as possible. But if it does need a trim, now or early spring is a good time. If you are needing to prune then why would you fertilize to promote more growth that you have to prune? Once established holly should not need additional fertilization.