Questions for Spring

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Spring is arriving all at once. The daffodils and lenten roses are up and blooming at my office. This always seems to bring a sense of urgency. A bunch of questions have come into the Caldwell Extension Center about gardening, lawns, and landscaping. I have selected a few of the most common questions. I hope you find these helpful.

Question: Should I apply Merit .5 once or twice a year for grub control? What months should I apply?

Answer: We suggest treating for grubs when you have greater than 12 grubs per square foot. It is very seldom I see levels this high in home lawns. Merit (Imidacloprid is the active ingredient and is sold under other brand names) is effective when applied in the spring, but typically an August or September grub treatment is more effective.

Some grub treatments have been applied when moles are a problem. The idea is to kill insects that moles feed on. Now we can attack mole problems directly. Mole and gopher baits are now legal and approved for use in North Carolina.

We have a white grub factsheet that goes into more details about their control and biology. It is available on line at

Question: What is the white bush blooming on the Library/Agricultural Center grounds?

Edgeworthia chrysantha, also known as the paperbush plant, is one of the more interesting winter bloomers on the property. This shrub actually begins blooming in December and continues through the winter. The white blooms produce a pleasant fragrance.

Edgeworthia Picture

Edgeworthia is winter blooming shrub with a pleasant smell. There are two of these on the Caldwell County Public Library / Agricultural Center grounds.

Like daphnes, you can smell edgeworthia long before you can see it. The fragrance is a bit like gardenia with a slightly spicier element.

Edgeworthia thrives in partial shade. It likes a good soil that has been amended with compost.

This shrub grows in zones 7 to 9, and in protected areas of Zone 6. It does not get too big, reaching no more than about 7 feet high and wide.

Edgeworthia may be a bit hard to find at garden centers. Some of the varieties available are ‘Gold Rush’, ‘John Bryant’, and ‘Red Dragon’ which has orange-red flowers.

Question: What can I use to kill this weed in my yard? RoundUp does not seem to work.

Answer: This weed is a winter annual called Hairy Bittercress.

Hairy Bittercress

Winter annual weeds like hairy bittercress can be killed with herbicides or pulled by hand.

RoundUp or other non-selective herbicide products with the active ingredient glyphosate will do a good job controlling this weed. I’m not sure why you did not get good control, but I would make sure you are using the correct rate and following the labeled directions. Glyphosate applications made in cold weather can take twice as long to control weeds as the same application made in warm weather. I would also be sure you are including a surfactant if the label calls for it. Another option is hand weeding. These annual weeds have a shallow root system and are easy to pull by hand.

For answers to your agricultural questions, call the Caldwell County Extension Center at 828-757-1290 or visit us online anytime at

Written By

Photo of Seth NagySeth NagyCounty Extension Director (828) 757-1290 seth_nagy@ncsu.eduCaldwell County, North Carolina
Updated on Mar 7, 2016
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