Ask the Expert

Wisconsin State Farmer
As the temperatures warm and daylight hours increase, migratory birds like the sandhill cranes have started appearing in Wisconsin again.

Q: I'm noticing brown spots on my lawn this spring. Should I be concerned?

A: At this time of year, lawns in our area should be dormant. Patchy brown spots could be caused by a number of different things. This could be a result of different types of grass in the seed blend, pet problems, mildew or mold or others. Wait until the lawn fully greens up later in the spring to see if the problem persists or if it disappears with the fresh, lush  growth.

Q: Can I plant my poinsettia outdoors?

A: As long as you remember to bring it in in the fall. If desired, poinsettias will grow in our area outdoors as an annual.

Q: Are the sandhill cranes back yet? I thought I heard them this morning.

A: The first sandhill cranes arrived about three weeks ago in parts of the state and have been spotted as far north as Shawano, Marinette and Marathon Counties. A big movement of cranes over the Chicago area and southern Wisconsin occurred earlier this week.

Q: Will the cold weather hurt my trees and shrubs?

A: That depends on the type of tree or shrub you are mentioning. Some lilacs and other trees and shrubs had pushed flower buds out before the recent cold snap. These may be damaged, depending upon the duration of the cold. The shrub itself is fine, but flower production may be decreased. Flower and fruiting trees and shrubs that pushed buds early with the warm spell we enjoyed are the most susceptible to freeze damage.