Much Needed Rain...
I was glad to hear the rain against the skylight early this
morning. We sure needed it. Funny how just a couple of weeks ago
we received close to six inches and
now it is dry again. Between the exceptionally warm
temperatures, the wind and humidity I feel as if it is already
July. It is supposed to be warm
(or should I say hot)
for the Memorial day weekend. Temperatures are supposed
to be up in the 90's. I guess you couldn't ask for nicer weather
if you were going to the lake or pool. Not us.
Our house will be on the market soon
so work, pack, work some more, you get the
idea. At least we have an extended weekend to get some
much needed work done.
forget to mulch once you have
everything planted and in the ground. Mulch is key. It keeps
weeds down, retains moisture, keeps
the soil at a more
constant temperature and it looks nice. Our friends at
Missouri Organic offer all types and they deliver to your
front door. Buying in bulk is certainly cheaper than
buying it by the bag so visit their web site, choose your
product, give them a call and it is as easy as that. Don't
forget to tell them that you are a Savvygardener subscriber and
that you heard about them through the newsletter.
We've noticed that a lot of maple and birch
trees in our area are losing their leaves. Concerned for
their health we contacted Ward Upham at K-State Extension.
Apparently the problem is regional and is affecting sycamore,
maple, pin oak and birch trees. According to Upham this
phenomenon is environmental - due to shock. "It's probably
related to the very cool weather we had earlier this month,
followed by the extreme heat we experienced the third week in
May. "Winter's drought didn't help much, either - especially in
those areas that have again become dry."
Fortunately, healthy trees should recover, he
said. "If they've lost enough leaves, the affected trees will
simply throw out a new set," Upham said. "So, you just need to
make sure they get enough moisture to stay out of drought
stress. That will help speed their recovery."
Well, the unofficial start of summer is
this weekend (Memorial Day).
As the real thing sneaks up on Kansas
City gardeners we must prepare our gardens for the heat and
drought-like conditions that seem inevitable. Mulching your
garden is one of the best things you can do to help retain soil
moisture and keep weeds at bay.
supplies us with lots of great mulch for our gardens.
Here are some common mulching materials and a few thoughts on
Mulches are very common and effective. They are available
as chips, chunks, nuggets or shredded. In addition to being
generally attractive bark mulches resist compaction quite well.
Chips are also common, effective and economical. They can
deplete the soil of nitrogen however so additional fertilizing
may be required.
Needles are especially good around acid loving plants like
azaleas and blueberries.
is inexpensive and is often used in large vegetable gardens.
Make sure it is free of crop and weed seeds or you're just
making more work for yourself.
Clippings should only be used after they have dried out
thoroughly. If the source lawn has weeds your mulched garden
will likely get them too. Not too
can be attractive and effective but they don't provide any of
the decomposition benefits of organic mulches. Rock mulch in
direct sun can get quite hot causing problems for some tender
Plastic and Fabric aren't much to look at but they do keep
the weeds down.
general rule mulching with anything is better than not
mulching at all. It's that effective.
in-depth look at this important topic don't miss
About Mulch in our Features section.
Pests Attacking Annuals...
So, your newly planted annuals don't look so good. Chances
are they are the victims of any number of pests. Here are some
of the most common problems and some quick solutions:
leaves on your marigolds turn to "lace", earwigs or slugs
are probably nibbling on them at night. Spray with Sevin for
earwigs (best in late dusk after bees have stopped feeding).
To control slugs apply a product like Sluggo around the
will eat off newly planted plants at the soil line. Add
aluminum foil collars to the stems to protect the plants
from the worms.
or spider mites are a problem, spray with insecticidal soap.
On Your Mark, Get Set,
No this isn't
a race but if you start pinching back aster, garden phlox and
mums now you're sure to win later! Pinching back the blooms will
encourage bushier plants with more flowers. After some of your
summer perennials have tired out and are no longer blooming these
plants will start to peak and will add that much needed color to
your garden. Soooo, no need to dust off the running shoes for
this race just limber up those thumbs and start pinching!
Tell Me Why...
One of the most common questions we get asked is simply, "Why
won't my plant bloom?" Why indeed. There are often several
factors involved but most can be explained by one of the
of Plant - Being too young or immature is a very common
reason that many trees do not flower. Plants need to reach a
certain level of maturity before they begin to flower each year
- Lack of adequate light is another very common reason that
many types of plants do not flower. Plants may grow but not
flower in the shade.
or Frost Injury - Cold weather may kill flower buds
or partially opened flowers. Plants that are not fully hardy
in our area are the most susceptible to this type of cold
Drought - Flowers or flower buds dry and drop off when
there is temporary lack of moisture in the plants.
Improper Pruning - Some plants bloom only on last year’s
wood. Pruning plants at the wrong time of the year can remove
the flower buds for next year’s blossoms. Many spring
flowering plants, such as azaleas begin setting next year’s
flower buds in the late spring. Pruning these plants in the
summer or fall may prevent flowering next year. Cutting back a
plant severely, such as with climbing roses, can remove all the
Nutrient Imbalance - Too much nitrogen can cause plants to
produce primarily leaves and stems. The plant will be large
and usually very green and healthy but will have few or no
There are lots of good reasons to grow herbs. First on my
list is for cooking. Nothing compares to the taste of fresh
herbs added to your favorite dish. I used to buy pesto in a
jar. I thought it was good until I started making my own from
garden-fresh basil. There's no going back folks.
is your goal make sure you do not fertilize your herbs too much.
The essential oils that provide flavor are more concentrated when
herbs are grown in moderately rich soil with just enough
fertilizer to keep them green. Too much fertilizer encourages
the plant to grow large but at the sacrifice of less flavor. To
get greater quantities without sacrificing quality simply grow
many more, albeit smaller, plants.
Take A Powder...
A white powdery film on your lawn is likely an outbreak of
powdery mildew. This fungal disease is favored by cool spring or
fall weather, and is common in shaded areas. Kentucky bluegrass
in shady areas is especially susceptible. High nitrogen levels
also favor disease development. Fortunately, while it is not
very attractive, powdery mildew rarely causes significant damage
"Grass is the
forgiveness of nature - her constant benediction.
Forests decay, harvests perish, flowers vanish, but grass is
John J. Ingalls