Q: My rhubarb plants began sprouting seed pods almost immediately after leaves came on. What should I do?
A: Publication HO97W from Purdue University says that bolting (formation of seed pods) is caused by “Infertile soil, extreme heat or cold, drought, or long days that expose the plants to too much light … .” With our odd spring, why this is happening so soon is a mystery, but seed stalks when they appear should be cut out because they'll cut down on production.
My opinion is that the early, warm March days caused these plants to become confused and, in order to protect themselves, they rushed to reproduce (which is what plants do anyway when they feel threatened). During drought conditions, you'll see trees and plants making seed in preparation for dying or going into dormancy to save themselves.
•Remember every part of the rhubarb plant is toxic except stalks.
•For more on rhubarb, see publication HO97W at: www.hort.purdue.edu/ hort/ext/Pubs/ HO/HO_097.pdf.
Q: There is a weed growing everywhere in my garden and grass that looks like clover and has a tiny yellow bloom. I've also found some with white blooms. What is it. How can I get rid of it?
A: What you describe is most likely wood sorrel, (genus Oxalis). It can reproduce both by seed and vegetatively and has the capacity to develop a low-growing, creeping habit in healthy turf or become bushy in open spaces. That makes wood sorrel tough to control. It's necessary to pull or remove it with a hoe, or reach for the chemicals.
Oxalis responds well to repeat spraying with post-emergent broad-spectrum herbicides. These herbicides work best when they are sprayed on oxalis during the growing season. The herbicide is absorbed more quickly during the warmer temperatures and more of the plants die sooner.
When using an herbicide, it is important to protect surrounding plants from the spray because it will kill whatever it touches.
Be sure to wet foliage of wood sorrel leaves to just before the point of runoff.
Once the plant is dead, spread a pre-emergent herbicide on soil to prevent seeds from germinating.
You can buy a wide variety of specially grown plants at reasonable prices 1-4 p.m. May 5 at the Allen County Purdue Cooperative Extension office, 4001 Crescent Ave.
Master Gardeners are hosting their first plant sale of the season. They work hard to make plants available that you won't find anyplace else in Fort Wayne. While shopping, tour Display Gardens and have your yard and garden questions answered. There will also be young adults from the Master Gardener Youth program to take your purchases to your car.