April 25, 2007
Gardening With Friends...
A couple of friends and I have decided to team up this spring
to help each other with planting. We are working together to
make our gardens an extension of our home. A place that is
comfortable for relaxing and entertaining. I love this idea.
These women are fun to be around and they are not afraid to work
hard and get their hands dirty. They are true Savvygardeners!
They are a lot like me in the sense that they are not afraid to
make a mistake. We have all planted something in one place or
another and then decided that it doesn't really belong there. So...
we pick it up and move it, hoping that it will thrive in its new
place. There is always so much to learn, whether it is moving a
plant from one place to another or listening to a suggestion
from a friend. So if you are interested in a little help as well
as giving some, try hooking up with a friend or neighbor who
likes to garden as much as you do. It is always fun to garden in
The rain we
received yesterday was great for the gardens. It wasn't much but
some is better than none. There is a slight chance for more
Check out this week's video if you have planting on your
schedule. A good reminder about digging in wet soil. This
weekend looks like it is going to get warm. Let the planting
Are Your Roses
Many hybrid tea roses were damaged by the
freezes we experienced earlier this month. The extent of damage,
if any at all, will vary based on where your roses are growing
and what protection they were provided during the freeze
periods. Take a look at the canes to inspect for damage:
If the ends of canes are mushy cut them
back to more normal growth.
Brown canes should be scraped to
determine whether the cambium is alive. If not, simply cut
back the canes to live growth.
- Green canes are probably healthy and
can be left alone.
Most hybrid teas are propagated by budding. If all the growth
above the bud union is dead, the plant should be dug up and
discarded. Plants grown on their own roots can be allowed to
sprout from the base.
Hydrangeas are wonderful. Especially when
they bloom. You're not alone if you are sometimes (or often)
frustrated by otherwise beautiful and healthy-looking hydrangeas
that just won't bloom. There are
reasons for this of course. Here are the likely ones:
Some bloom on old wood, some on new season's growth.
For example, the popular 'Annabelle'
varieties bloom on new growth and are consequently best
cut back hard in the early spring. By
contrast, the Bigleaf hydrangea will grow
in Kansas City but will not
usually flower because the flowers develop on old (last
season's growth) wood. Since flower
buds lack the cold hardiness of the foliage buds, they are
often killed by our cold winters.
While they will do all right in partial shade or full
sunlight, too much shade could keep them from flowering
Fertilizing with high nitrogen fertilizers
will limit blooms. Try using a fertilizer with less nitrogen
"N" and more Phosphorous "P".
It's that time of year
where outside is the only place to be.
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Showers For Flowers...
April took a long time to live up to
it's traditional billing and has finally
graced us with much needed showers. Hopefully we will
continue to get the inch of rain per week that our gardens need.
Unfortunately most years bring us long periods of dry, hot
weather requiring diligent watering to keep our flowers looking
If staying on
top of watering isn't your idea of a good time you can always
choose your flowers accordingly. A drought-tolerant flower
garden should include the following:
For a more
complete list of drought-tolerant flowers that grow well in the
Kansas City area
- Act Now!
Pine wilt is a
disease of Austrian, Scots and occasionally white pines caused
by the pinewood nematode. Symptoms usually appear from
August through December. In general, the trees wilt and die
rapidly within a short period of time. The needles turn
yellow/brown and remain attached to the tree. The early stages
of the disease are subtle and may vary. The pinewood nematode is
transmitted from pine to pine by a bark beetle, the pine sawyer
(Monochamus carolinensis). In May or
June, adult pine sawyers emerge from pine trees and fly to new
trees and feed under the bark of young pine shoots. If the
beetle is carrying the pinewood nematode, the tree may become
infested with nematodes.
If you have a tree with confirmed pine wilt, or merely a Scotch
or Austrian pine that died suddenly and seems likely to have
pine wilt, cut it down by May 1 at the latest. Chip or
burn the pieces (before May 1), and make sure to cut it all the
way to the ground leaving no stump. If you don't, pine sawyer
beetles will emerge and carry the disease-causing nematode to
It's Raining Worms!
If you've been outside and noticed small
worms falling from the sky you're not alone. All over the metro,
worms are falling from oak trees. These worms are actually the
larvae of a gall midge. The larvae came from eggs that adult
midges laid on the flower clusters of pin oak in early spring.
Newly hatched larvae feed on the flower clusters and then move to
the leaves as they unfurl. Eventually, the larvae drop to the
ground in order to pupate. Adults emerge early the next spring to
start the cycle all over again. The midges apparently cause no
The silken webs of Eastern tent
caterpillar usually start appearing in April. These leaf
munchers feed on many fruit trees, including apple, crabapples
and cherries and some shade trees. The caterpillars feed at
night on leaves in close proximity to the tent, and return to
the tent during the day. Caterpillars grow to 2 inches, with a
white stripe and blue markings down the back. A closely related
insect, the forest tent caterpillar, feeds on many deciduous
trees, including ash, popular and willow. They have prominent
blue strips with white spots on its back.
Most gardeners can successfully control
the caterpillars by simply knocking them out of the tree with a
broom or spray of water from a hose. Once they hit the
ground the caterpillars usually can't get back into the tree and
will likely become a convenient meal to any birds in the area.
More Growin', More Mowin'...
us have fallen into the habit of mowing the lawn every week.
This time of year however the grass is growing so fast that you
probably need to mow it a bit more often. Remember that you
don't want to cut off more than 1/3 of the height of the grass in
any single mowing. In our yard that means mowing twice per
week. It won't last long and the extra investment in time will
yield a healthier more durable lawn when the summer heat sets in.
dandelions all weekend, and late Monday afternoon there they
are, pert as all get out, in full and gorgeous bloom, pretty as
can be, thriving as only dandelions can in the face of