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Green lawn and bursts of burgundy, yellow and orange hardy chrysanthemums accent the entrance to Krystal and Jed Diedrichsen’s home in Yankton. Once established, these colorful chrysanthemums return several years.

“It’s been about five years since I’ve planted them,” Krystal said. Diedrichsen, RN, BSN, MSN, is Assistant Professor of Nursing at Mt. Marty College. “This year we had two large trees removed from the front yard that put a lot of shade in that area. The mums came back bigger than ever.” The perennials now receive full sun in the south-facing yard.

Diedrichsens’ yard was among those selected for the 2019 Lawn and Garden Tour sponsored by Missouri Valley Master Gardeners in late June. The site featured fundamental changes they are making to keep the yard attractive. At that time, the foliage in containers near the front door held the focal point and the growing mounds of mums were muted. Now, the greenery textures compliment the colorful mums that accent the entrance area.

Krystal looks for plants that are easy to grow and have low maintenance. She prefers attractive plants that are perennials “so I don’t have to replace them every year.” Landscape rock covers the bed of mums that edge their front entrance. She weeds around the mums as they emerge in spring. They receive consistent moisture from lawn irrigation. Krystal doesn’t fertilize them or other perennials that she maintains, because they receive adequate nutrients from the soil. Some do use organic mulch around perennials for its soil benefits over time.

“In late fall after the bloom, I cut off the plant stems near the base,” she said. Since the mums have grown a lot this year, she weighs the options to possibly divide them this fall or next spring.

With less time until mum dormancy now, next spring might be a better choice, according to Mike and Jay Gurney of Yankton Nurseries. They have found that transplant success with mums is less predictable than with some plants. Next spring would give the transplanted roots more time to establish. They suggest that if a chrysanthemum is dug for transplanting, to take care to include all its roots and clinging soil when moving it to a new spot. Another option would be to adjust the row spacing in the flowerbed by removing a plant if necessary, and possibly adding new mum plants next spring. In the meantime, Krystal and Jed have colorful accents for their yard.

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