Hot and Droopy...
Boy is it hot! I was going to mow the lawn today but now that
it is late afternoon it is going to have to wait until morning.
Sam Parker, the family dog and I just returned from a walk
around the block and the heat and humidity make a mean
combination. Not to mention the stiff (hot)
breeze. The wind will dry things out quickly so keep an eye on
your pots and newly planted flowers. As I sit here looking out
the window I can see that the Black-eyed Susan and the Shasta
daisy's look as if they could use a drink. Droopy looking plants
don't always mean they need water.
Both of these plants are drooping because they are in full, late
afternoon sun. They will continue to look that way until the
sun sets and it starts to cool off. If
they don't bounce back that is a sign they need a drink.
Both of those plants are heat tolerant and drought tolerant so
keep them in mind if you need something to plant that will
tolerate these harsh summer temperatures we are experiencing
a few e-mails regarding leaving my garden. It is hard. Kevin and
I have worked 11 years to create what we have. But you know
what? I am excited to start on a new slate. Our present garden
was my first real garden. I have learned so much. I have moved
plants several times to find exactly the right spot for them to
flourish. We have purchased shrubs and trees trying to get the
look we want. It has all come together and we feel as if we have
succeeded. I leave it with a sense of pleasure. Who would not
want to pick up where I have left off? Even a beginning
On Your Cukes...
The striped cucumber beetle is a serious threat to cucurbits,
such as squash, cucumber, melon and pumpkin. The larvae will
cause severe damage to roots and beetles can do a real number on
an emerging plant by feeding on the lower surface of its leaves.
These menaces also spread bacterial wilt, cucumber mosaic, and
squash mosaic virus.
there are several insecticides that control the cucumber
beetle, only a few chemicals can be used on cucurbit plants
because of their sensitivity to chemical injury.
Hand-picking is an organic approach and should be done in the
early morning when most feeding occurs. These beetles are easy
to kill but reinforcements arriving on the plants make this a
very time consuming job.
Insecticides labeled for vegetables containing pyrethrum,
rotenone, methoxychlor, or carbaryl (Sevin) should control the
beetles. As always, follow directions and warnings carefully
when using chemicals.
One of the reasons we love daylilies is their fuss-free
nature. Generally they don't need to be divided as often as many
other perennials. However if you want to increase the number of
your favorite cultivars you may want to divide them once in a
while. Savvygardeners should be able to get four new plants from
a healthy, 4-year old daylily. Divide them immediately after
flowering, and replant them right away.
Monitor Those Melons...
Recent and upcoming warmer temperatures
are sure to give watermelons a growth
boost. Keep an eye on them! As
vines from different plants begin to intermingle, and the canopy
becomes thicker, the chances of developing anthracnose increase.
It's a good idea to scout watermelon patches once or twice a week
for this disease. Look for multiple small brown to black spots
on leaves. These spots are typically associated with leaf
veins. As the spots coalesce and dry out, the leaf may appear
tattered. It's a good idea to implement a preventive fungicide
spray schedule, especially during rainy periods. Chlorothalonil,
mancozeb and azoxystrobin (Quadris) are labeled for anthracnose
control. Azoxystrobin should be rotated with one of the other
fungicides to help prevent potential resistance problems.
Give 'Em Room To Breathe...
because your plant is wilting don't assume it's due to lack of
water. Plants can wilt from lack of oxygen too! Soil can
become over-compacted and cause root systems to suffocate. The
problem is often made worse by assuming the plant is thirsty and
adding water unnecessarily.
soil for better air and water circulation is easy. Simply add
peat moss or other loose organic material in and around the root
area of your plants. Everyone will breathe easier!
New Trees From Cuttings...
Now is a good
time to start new trees and shrubs from existing ones. Many
ornamental trees and shrubs can be reproduced by taking cuttings
from new growth that occurred this spring. Though these
softwood cuttings root relatively easily, they are
susceptible to wilting and need close attention to watering and
It is best if cuttings
are taken after a rain or several hours after the plant has
been well watered.
Stems should be mature
enough that they snap rather than bend when placed under
Cuttings should be
about 6 inches long with cuts made at an angle just below a
node, the area where a leaf joins the stem. The angle provides
a larger cut surface and more area for the cutting to callus
Strip off the lower
leaves and place the cutting in a moist rooting media after it
has been dipped in rooting powder. Several rooting mediums are
suitable including sand with peat moss, sand with vermiculite,
perlite with peat moss, and perlite with vermiculite. A
suitable medium should provide good moisture-holding capacity
and be open enough to provide good aeration to the roots.
should be kept at a high level by enclosing the container or
containers in a plastic bag. Use wooden dowels or a similar
object to keep the plastic off the top of the cuttings.
Place the rooting
container in bright, indirect light and check often for
plants can be rooted directly in water, roots formed in water do
not adapt well to soil. When roots are about 1 inch long,
cuttings can be removed from the propagation chamber and potted.
If large clumps of ornamental grasses such
as maiden grass have hollow centers, this is a sign they need
dividing for best growth. Large clumps can have massive roots
and be quite heavy, so we find it easier to just divide pieces
off the sides rather than to lift the whole clump. A
square-tipped spade works best for this. You may even need to
get such divisions started with a hatchet!
the appearance of your lawn after mowing is not what you expect
there are a few things worth evaluating.
Check your mowing height.
You should mow as high as possible for the specific
grass type (2½ to 3 inches is a healthy height for most
Consider your mowing frequency.
A higher mowed turf will need to be
mowed less frequently and scalp less often than a closely mowed
Probably most importantly, check
the sharpness of your mower blade.
Dull or damaged mower blades do not cut cleanly and
leave ragged leaf tips. These ragged
wounds are very stressful to the turf plant, and provide an
excellent opportunity for some disease pathogens to penetrate
and infect the plant.
knee-deep in June,
'Bout the time strawberries melts
On the vine."
James Whitcomb Riley