~ June 25, 2008 ~
Summer has officially arrived and boy does it feel like it!
It is only 88 today but feels like 91 thanks to the humidity.
By the looks of the 10-day forecast high 80's looks to be the
trend. Not too bad. It's when those temperatures start rising
into the 90's that it starts to become unbearable to be out in
the garden. When the weather turns hot I do most of my gardening
in the early morning and early evening hours. It is almost
impossible to be out during the day when the temperatures are
in the mid to upper 90's. And if you do have to be out, make
sure you take the necessary precautions. Use a good sunscreen,
wear lightweight clothing, stay hydrated and keep something on
your head. Always better to be safe than to end up in the
emergency room with heat exhaustion.
Now is the time to re-think your watering schedule. We have only
used our irrigation system twice this season but with the onset of this
warmer weather we are certainly going to have to reset our system
for a more frequent watering pattern. No need to water if it is
raining... that sounds kind of funny but you would be surprised how many
automatic sprinkler systems were running during recent downpours.
Everything in the garden needs one inch of water per week, so if we are
not receiving any moisture from Mother Nature we will have to pick
up the slack. You may even have to water planted pots twice a day
depending on their location. Remember, there is a happy medium.
Planting drought tolerant plants will help ease your watering bill.
Overwatering is just as bad. There are many plants out there that
hate wet feet so be aware of which ones those are. It's a new season
with different needs and always so much to remember.
Hey Bud, Get Outta' Here...
One of the most common pests of petunias is the budworm
caterpillar. These small green worms appear in late June and July
and feed on the flower buds, making small holes in the
buds and the leaves. You won't often see the worm itself.
Instead, you'll see the droppings, which
resemble small, black seeds. Because of their size, removing them by hand
may not be practical. If you are so inclined, Dipel,
Thuricide, Talstar and Scimitar are reasonably effective
insecticides. Sevin and Diazinon aren't effective, because
budworms have become resistant to them. If left unchecked, the
presence of the caterpillars will cause your
petunias to stop blooming.
Plan for Halloween By Planting Pumpkins Now...
Want to grow a perfect pumpkin for your very own jack-o-lantern
this year? It may sound like a long way off but depending on the
variety you want to grow you need to get your pumpkins planted
now for carving on Halloween. Typically pumpkins mature in 90 -
120 days. Check your seed pack to determine your pumpkin's
specific days to maturity and work backwards from October 31st.
Remember that these things get big. Allow 8 to 10 feet between rows
and place seeds every 2 feet in the row. When fruit begins
to appear it's time to start protecting the pumpkin from rot.
Try placing a barrier under ripening pumpkins to lift them off
the soil. A material that doesn't trap water
Seen Any Spittlebugs?
The spittlebug derives its name from the white, frothy" spittle"
the nymphs produce. Adults are large, black leafhoppers about
1/3-inch long with two red stripes that go crosswise across the
back. The eyes and abdomen are bright red. Though the nymphs
resemble the adults, they are smaller and wingless. Color varies
from yellow to white to orange, but the eyes are always red.
Spittlebug nymphs suck plant juices like aphids, but they remove so much
water and carbohydrates that excess fluid is produced. They cover
themselves with this fluid and then produce the spittle by
bubbling air from the tip of the abdomen into the liquid. The
spittle mass helps protect the nymphs from drying and from
Spittlebugs normally do not achieve high enough populations to cause damage.
If they do, forcefully hosing the plants several times should
achieve the level of control needed.
Dealing With Deer...
Gardeners that live near open parks and other "nearly wild" areas
are often plagued by deer. Deer damage to plants is both costly
and frustrating. While tall fences remain the most effective way
to keep deer away they are not always practical. Some gardeners
have had success with plantings that don't attract deer (or even
repel them). The Missouri Department of Conservation produced a
list of these plants and you can
read it here...
Trees Shedding Bark...
Trees naturally shed bark as they grow. The amount of bark
shed varies significantly from one year to the next and is
usually not noticeable. But some trees, such as sycamore, London
Planetree and silver maple, shed bark in large patches or
strips. During a year with heavy shedding homeowners may become
concerned that the tree is sick or dying. Such usually is not
the case. Sycamore and London Planetree normally show a bright
green color on the branches when the bark first falls off but
soon return to normal. Maple reveals an orange color after
shedding but it, too, soon returns to normal. There is nothing
wrong with the tree as long as the shedding bark simply reveals
underlying bark rather than bare wood.
Timely Tomato Tips...
Tomatoes are growing vigorously now. However, the end of
spring and the onset of hot, dry weather can lead to several
problems in tomatoes. Tomatoes that experience early vigorous
growth often drop some blossoms during the transition to summer
weather. Don't worry. New blooms should develop rapidly to
replace the fallen ones.
Also, tomato plants may be subject to leaf curl where the leaves roll
up from the edges. This is a short-term condition that develops
as the tomato is trying to reduce it's leaf surface to allow the
roots to develop.
Beware Brown Patch...
Brown patch is showing up all over the
area. This turf disease is favored by
warm night temperatures and extended periods of leaf wetness. If
you go outside in the morning and the lawn is covered with dew
and the temperature is in the high 60s and above, it means that
conditions are right for brown patch. During severe
outbreaks, the fungus may invade the lower leaf sheaths and crown
and kill plants. But in most cases the turfgrass can recover from
brown patch. This recovery may take two to three weeks depending
Unfortunately there is no way to eliminate brown patch from
a lawn as it will persist indefinitely in the soil. In
almost all cases, the limiting factor for brown patch development
is the weather. Although you can’t eliminate the fungus, cultural
practices – especially irrigation – can help control it.
Don't water in the evening; instead,
water early in the morning. This will help decrease the number
of hours the leaf tissue remains wet and susceptible to
infection. The frequency of irrigation is not as important as
the time of day you do it.
Don't overfertilize, and certainly don't
fertilize when brown patch is active.
Make sure your seeding or overseeding rates
are not too high.
"Long about knee-deep in June,
Bout the time strawberries melts
On the vine."
~ James Whitcomb Riley