Q: What happened to these succulents (see photo)?
A: That is abnormal growth called "fasciation." The growing tip flattens out instead of staying as a point, and the growth develops flatter, maybe ribbon like, twisting or contorted. The word has the Latin root meaning of "band" or "stripe." It is known to occur across a wide number of plant families, including cactus. In addition to stems, it can occur in flower heads, fruit and roots. The causes are a number, from environment, to genetics, to virus, and hormones. Depending upon the plant and situation, they may be considered of interest as a collectible.
Q: When are the area farmers markets opening and where are they?
A: The Capital City Farmers Market (capitalcityfarmersmarket.org).
The Lincoln University farmers market is opening 8:30-11:30 a.m. April 21 at 1219 Chestnut St. (lincolnufarmersmarket.com/2018).
The Cole County Farmers Market opens 4-6 p.m. April 20. In past years, their Tuesday hours have been the same and from 2-4 p.m. Saturday. Last year they were at the southwest parking lot of the Capital Mall, 300 Country Club Drive.
Q: How does one control wild onion in the lawn?
A: Control of wild onion is considered "fair" with typical lawn herbicides. Look for products with 2, 4-D as the active ingredient as an "ester." Other products that aid the control are dicamba. Speedzone is one brand name and wild onion is listed as a weed it controls. Best control is attained with use early in the season.
Q: I had mulch develop a thick crusty layer full of white stuff. What happened and is it OK to use?
A: This is common when mulch is applied too thick; it is the mycelium of a fungus and it repels water. Try to break it up and spread it out at about 2 inches depth. New mulch should be applied at 2-3 inches; at 4-6 inches this problem can occur.
Q: I was thinking of using this Milorganite fertilizer on my lawn. It is a good price but says to use four times and Extension's recommendations are for only two fertilizer applications. Is it safer than synthetic fertilizer for pets? I know it is from sewage, is there heavy metals or other bad stuff in it?
A: Milorganite is a well-known product for some time, produced from the organic matter in wastewater by the Milwaukee Sewage District. Because it is a natural product, it wouldn't stimulate the grass too much like synthetic fertilizer, so using more frequently should be fine. I'd try an application in March, late April, mid to late August and mid to late October. Synthetic fertilizers aren't harmful to pets, but when they are combined with herbicides, and especially insecticides, take precautions. The label should provide the needed information when pesticides are included.
Fido might like the smell of Milorganite and want to roll around. To reduce the longevity of its "barn-like" odor, apply prior to a rain or irrigate; the moisture will settle the odor. The product has been heat treated to kill any pathogens and is tested, such that it is approved for vegetable gardens. While I'm not positive I'd use it on my vegetable garden, for a lawn it should be just fine.