The Rockhill Homes and Gardens Club is gearing up this spring to plant more trees on the median and the east side of Rockhill Road. A donation last fall allowed us to plant the first 21 trees on the median. The Kauffman Center has donated money for 11 more, however, we still need funds for another 25 to 30 trees. Suburban Nursery has given us a discount to purchase trees for $110/tree.
If you can donate, please send Barry Nickell, our RHA treasurer (4500 Rockhill Terrace), a check made out to Midtown Kansas City Stewards Limited. We will donate our muscles!
Springtime is always exciting, especially here in our Rockhill Neighborhood, as our flowers and trees start to bloom and add so much color and variety to our landscapes.
Here are a few tips to help rejuvenate your lawn from the dormant winter months. Fortunately, we did not have a harsh winter and at the same time had regular precipitation, mainly in the form of rain. This has helped our lawns start to green up a little earlier than the previous year. We have also been fortunate with only 2 snow events of minor accumulation, so the parks and rec salt trucks did not overdo the spreading of salt onto our easements killing grass next to our curbs as occurred last year.
As mentioned in our autumn issue, early fall is the best time of year to reseed your lawn but April and May also work well if you missed the opportunity to do so this past September. To repeat a few tips, if just a few areas need attention, then a spiked yard rake will help break up the soil prior to spreading new seed. Fescue and blue grass blends work well in our climate and their proportions are adjusted for shade or sunny areas. You can find several good blends at stores such as Soil Service, Home Depot, Ace Hardware or Sutherlands, but it is best to avoid buying the cheapest seed you can find as these will often have seeds from weeds and other unwanted grasses inadvertently mixed in. If we have regular April showers, then daily watering may not be needed for the seeds to germinate. But if during the first 7-10 days after seeding, there is not any help from nature, then daily watering will be needed to keep the soil moist so that the seeds germinate quickly.
Applying crabgrass control fertilizers such as Scotts Halts and Grassy Weed Preventer or Scotts Turf Builder Triple Action will help ensure that those ugly weeds will not take over your lawn during the summer months. Crabgrass control fertilizers also help prevent germination of most other weeds (except dandelions and clover). A word of caution - in those areas that you have recently planted grass seed, avoid applying these types of fertilizers, as they will also prevent the grass seed from germinating.
Dandelions and clover are best killed with a spray on weed killer such as Ferti-Lome Weed Free Zone. Using a sticker spreader such as Leaf Lock will ensure that the weed killer stays on the weeds. Several applications may be necessary but will not kill your good grass. Wherever new grass seed has been planted use a starter fertilizer with a Nitrogen Phosphorus-Potassium (NPK) ratio of 24-25-4 to promote quick growth.
If you are not a DIY type of person, then hiring a company like TruGreen can take care of all of your lawn needs but will end up being more expensive. There is always a trade-off with time spent and money spent when caring for your lawn.
Spring is also an ideal time for planting new shrubs and trees. When planting, in addition to an initial application of fertilizer, if you have clay-like soil use Earth Right Super Stuff (available from most nurseries as well as from Ace Hardware or Amazon) to help break up the clay that is found in so many of our yards. Many nurseries also offer an extended warranty if you use MYKE mycorrhizae when planting trees and shrubs. Finally, if you have azaleas, rhododendrons, evergreens or holly bushes, apply Holly Tone (found at most nurseries) to help acidify your soil and enhance the blooms and health of the plants.
A tough annual and a look alike to snapdragons, these bloom all summer long into fall. They are drought tolerant and stand up to summer heat and humidity. They are annuals in Zone 6. Planted in full sun (6 hours or more), they grow 4-10” tall and 12-20” wide. These are great in borders, or plant them in masses where they make a striking display. They also do well in pots and window boxes. They are noninvasive, non-aggressive and do not need deadheading. They require good drainage, non-clay soil and light fertilizer during the summer season. Angelonia have clusters of tiny, orchid like flowers that bloom in white, pink, mauve, violet and purple. They emit a fruity scent as a bonus.
VINCA, ALSO KNOWN AS PERIWINKLE
An annual that is heat loving with 8 hours of sun a day, well-drained soil, grows well in garden beds, containers and hanging baskets. Low maintenance in terms of pests, diseases and fertilizing. Most cultivars grow upright and can reach up to 24”-tall, but some cultivars have more of a trailing habit that makes them great for hanging baskets. No need to deadhead, just fertilize at time of planting and water early in the day to make sure the soil dries before sunset. Common colors: White, pink, red, and lavender.
DRAGON WING BEGONIA (RED OR PINK)
An annual in zone 6, easy to grow and maintain, this is a trouble-free Begonia. They need bright light, but not scorching sun. Continuous bloom from Spring to Fall. They grow 2 feet tall and can be planted in the ground, in masses for a big statement, in pots and window boxes. This is drought tolerant and does not need deadheading. Feel free to cut the stems with blooms for flowers in the house, as they last.
There is also an Angel Wing Begonia; the difference is that it has dark leaves with white spots.
ONE FINAL NOTE: Do not overlook planting herbs amongst your flowers. With the cost of herbs at the grocery today, you have a win/win with a great look that also allows you to reap rewards in the kitchen. Dill, Rosemary, Basil, are a few annuals, but Sage, Lavender, Tarragon and Thyme are perennials that will return next year.
Our first activity was to address the west side of our neighborhood where most of the trees on the median of Rockhill Road had died. On October 31, 2022, we planted 21 trees on the median between 45th Street and Cleaver II. An arborist from Parks and Rec provided guidance and approval for the trees that were selected. We agreed to ensure trees are watered and mulched until they are established.
A nonprofit corporation has been setup to assist in funding the club. It is the Midtown Kansas City Stewards Limited. The goal of that nonprofit is to seek funding to support the club’s efforts for future tree planting and maintenance of the Pocket Park and Narrows. Another 30 or 35 trees are still needed on the median south of Cleaver II and on the east side of Rockhill Road and to visually widen the space at the Narrows. We hope to accomplish these additional plantings in 2023.
Kansas City service that is available to pickup your yard waste on an annual contact basis or deliver compost, if you need some. Kansas City Composting.
532 Pierce Street, Kansas City, Missouri 64110, United States
1) RHA annual dues reminder - See Home page.
2) Rockhill Coffee Club to kick off Feb. 17th - See Residents Page.
3) RHA President's reaction to the City Bike Path meeting of Jan. 4th and explanation of the Board's position - See Home or RHA President's Letter Pages.
4) Welcome to Frank and Jolyn Sebree - Residents Page.
5) Winter 2024 Rockhill Times - see Rockhill Times Page.
6) New Security Service for Rockhill: A new service has been contracted to patrol the neighborhood - see Residents Page.