May Lawn and Garden Tips
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Control weeds prior to planting vegetables and flowers. Glyphosate is a common post-emergent weed killer that has no soil activity which allows you to plant very soon after spraying. It is also possible to use certain pre-emergent herbicides in the garden as well. Treflan, which contains the active ingredient Trifluralin is labeled for both ornamental and some vegetables. In ornamental plantings you can utilize Snapshot or Surflan as well as others to prevent weeds. Grass killers such as Poast which contain the active ingredient Sethoxydim can be sprayed directly on most broadleaf crops and only kill the grass and not your crop. One can also keep ahead of weeds during the growing season by simply hoeing frequently in the top inch of soil to prevent new seeds from germinating. As an alternative, corn gluten can be used as an organic way to prevent weeds from sprouting and covering the garden with a good mulch once the soil has warmed up will reduce weeds as well organically.
Frost-sensitive bedding plants can be safely planted in May. Make sure to tease out the roots of the plants to prevent circling roots.
Clumps of Cannas should be divided every three or four years to encourage flowering. Set root sections 5-6” deep, 15” apart.
Watch plants carefully for evidence of aphids and spray as needed. (Insecticidal soap, horticultural oil, or chemicals are available). These aphids are responsible for the black sooty mold often seen on Crape myrtles later in the season. If powdery mildew occurs, apply sulfur based fungicides or Immunox fungicide which provides good control. Also be on the look out for “sawdust straws” sticking out of the tree. This is evidence of ambrosia beetle damage. The prognosis of places once infected is poor.
Poison Ivy can be eliminated with multiple sprays of Glyphosate or a product containing 2-4d which is a broad leaf weed killer. Do not apply herbicides on a windy day to prevent injury to desirable plants. Goats are a good natural way to eliminate this troublesome weed.
It’s time to hang up hummingbird feeders. Any feeder can attract hummingbirds, so the most important design feature to look for is ease of disassembly and cleaning. Hummingbirds get the energy they need to maintain their astonishing metabolism primarily from flower nectar and the sugar water they find at feeders. For protein and other nutrients, they also eat soft-bodied insects and spiders. The sugar water we use to fill hummingbird feeders is only a supplement to the birds’ natural diet. It’s not necessary but a commercial “nectar” mix that includes additional vitamins, protein, or other substances can be helpful. Do not put honey, Jell-O, brown sugar, fruit, or red food coloring in your feeder!
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BlackBerry Orange Rust
If you see an orange substance on the backs of your blackberry leaves it is Orange Rust. This can kill leaves and cause a reduced crop. It will persist from year to year so if you have an infection it is best to destroy the infected plants. It’s also important to remove all wild blackberries that may be harboring the fungus. There are no effective chemical controls at this time. There are other rust pathogens that can attack blackberry plants that normally show up in stem cracks, but these are not terminal and can be controlled with fungicide sprays such as Immunox general purpose fungicide or copper fungicide as an organic alternative.
Do NOT cut back spring bulb foliage until it turns yellow and brown. This foliage makes the food for the bulb to bloom next year.
You can prune your rhododendron/azaleas after they finish flowering. Be sure to spray under the leaves of your azaleas with soapy water or horticultural oils to kill lace bugs which will turn the leaves a grey color. You can also utilize a systemic insecticide such as imidacloprid which will eliminate the need to spray the backs of the leaves. Remember if you spray after the blooms fall off you will not be hurting the bees!
Aphids vary in color from green, black, brown, red, pink, etc. They are soft-bodied insects and they suck sap from their needle-like mouthparts from buds, leaves, twigs and developing fruit. Leaves may be stunted and distorted and fruit may become misshapen. They can be found along stems or on the underside of a leaf.
One of the Aphid’s natural predators is the lady bug. Nonchemical removal of these pests includes washing them off the plant with a steady stream of water or spraying soapy water on the leaves. Repeat again in 3-4 days to catch any survivors. Chemical removal includes spraying Pyrethrins or Malathion.
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