Frequently Asked Questions

What is the proper way to water my plants? 

Always remember to water your plants at the base and not on the leaves. Refer to our Watering Guide for a more specific watering guide and remember to ask us if a certain plant likes more or less water than average because there are always exceptions to the rule. When in doubt follow the 10 second rule. Water a plant for 10 seconds per foot of height. That means if a plant is 2 feet tall, water it for 20 seconds at a time.

What Plant Hardiness Zone are we in?

We are in Zone 5. Click here for more plant hardiness zone information. 

When is the proper time to apply grass seed? 

Grass seed can be applied at any time of the year but it is important to understand why the fall is best time. Typically in spring, homeowners need to apply pre-emergent herbicide to their lawns which prevent crabgrass and other weeds. You cannot apply grass seed when applying herbicide, therefore skip the step 1 fertilizer application in the areas where you need to reseed. Grass seed can be applied in the summer, however it is typically too hot and dry for difficult seed like Kentucky Bluegrass to germinate efficiently. However, if the summer is mild and you keep the seed watered properly it can do fine. Therefore, you can deduce that the fall is a great time to apply grass seed because the temperatures are cooler and there is little weed pressure so few herbicides are being applied. 

What does full sun exposure mean (i.e. full sun, shade, part shade, etc.)?

Sun exposure determines what plants can be planted in certain areas and the right exposure means a plant will typically thrive there. Full sun plants prefer 6 hours or more of direct sunlight. There are always exceptions to the rule as full sun does not designate the type of sun and 6 hours of hot western sun can burn certain plants while 6 hours of eastern sun is not as harsh. Part sun/shade is typically 4-6 hours of direct sunlight, and full shade is less than 4 hours of direct sunlight. 

When should I prune my flowering shrubs? 

Shrubs that flower in early spring such as Lilac or Forsythia should be pruned after they are done flowering in later spring. Plants that flower in summer/fall like Hydrangeas should be pruned in to early spring. Remember to prune the cone (panicled) shape flowering hydrangeas down about 1/3rd-1/2 of their size and prune the ball shape flowering hydrangeas down 1/2-3/4ths of their size. Click here for more pruning information.  

Why does my flowering crab lose its leaves in the summer?

Certain flowering crabs are susceptible to apple scab. This is a foliar disease caused by moisture & humidity. In March rake up any old leaves from under the tree & apply dormant oil to branches & the trunk before the buds break. Mid April thru early June apply a foliar fungicide every 14 days to protect the leaves from spotting and limit the spreading of the disease. Visit Jim Melka Garden Center and our staff will assist you in choosing the right product.

What is the Emerald Ash Borer and how can I protect my Ash tree?

The Emerald Ash Borer is a wood boring beetle metallic green in color about 1/2 inch in length and 1/8 inch wide. Females lay eggs in the bark crevices of the tree. The eggs develop into worm-like larvae, which tunnel under the bark to feed and grow throughout the fall. This activity eventually kills the tree. The larvae lay dormant over the winter and finally emerge from the trees in May as adults, leaving a unique D-shaped exit hole. Infested trees will decline from the top down, and will be dead in one to three years. At this time there is no cure, but studies indicated that the chemical Merit is a treatment being used as a preventative. Bayer’s Tree & Shrub Season Long Prevention is a product that contains Merit and is available at Jim Melka Garden Center. As new treatment options and methods become available we will keep our customers informed.

What can I do to stop the Japanese beetle from eating the leaves on my Linden tree?

The Japanese beetle begins eating the leaves of trees in southern Illinois during June and start munching in our area around the 4th of July. One of the best solutions is to spray the leaves of your trees with liquid Sevin around the end of June before the beetles begin eating. Check your roses, birch trees and serviceberry also. The beetles do not seem to discriminate. This spring consider using the Bayer Tree & Shrub Season Long product around the base of all your trees. This will provide a barrier to stop many different insects from their destructive ways.

Signup for our Loyalty Program, Email List & Text Club today!