This Week's Gardening Tips from the Savvygardener Missouri Organic Mulch, Compost, Bulk Soil
In This Issue
~ Hey Bud, Get Outta' Here ~ Dealing With Deer ~ Beware Brown Patch
~ Time To Plant Halloween Pumpkins ~ Trees Shedding Bark ~ This Week's Photos
~ Seen Any Spittlebugs? ~ Timely Tomato Tips ~ Inspiration
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Shrub Pruning Calendar
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~ Summer-Flowering Bulb Care
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~ Cold Frames & Hot Beds
~ When to Divide Perennials
~ Dividing Spring Blooming Perennials
~ Forcing Bulbs Indoors
~ Overseeding A Lawn
~ Pruning Trees
~ Pruning Shrubs
~ Planting Trees
~ Deer Resistant Plants
~ Trees that Survived the Storm
~ Stump Removal Options for the Homeowner
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This Week's Photos

~ June 25, 2008 ~

Summer Adjustments...
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.

~ Shelly   

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 is best.

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 predators.

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 on weather.

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



Tectonic Landscaping

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