Archive for the ‘Questions of the Week’ Category
Tuesday, May 14th, 2013
“We have peach leaf curl on the peach tree. What do we spray it with at this stage?” -Nothing you can do now – thin the fruit and do all you can to keep the tree as healthy as possible. In the fall, when 90% or more of the leaves have fallen, spray with Mancozeb, Fungonil, or Copper. Do it again as buds start to swell in early spring.
“Last year we got those holes in the rose leaves and it made them look awful. Any ideas how to prevent this?” – I’m assuming the damages are from rose slugs (green caterpillar- like critter on the bottom sides of the leaves and eats holes into the leaves), which can be treated with applications of imidacloprid (soil drench) as well as foliar sprays of insecticidal soaps, hort oils, etc on the undersides of the leaves, as well as the search, find and squash method of control. They can have multiple generations, so stick with it.
“Looking everywhere for the world’s hottest pepper plants. Any suggestions where to find them?” -Uh, let me think. Uh, oh yeah, right here at Natorp’s Nursery Outlet! We have all 4 plus the newest to the group, Carolina Reaper! All of these range in Scoville units from 1 to 2 million units, and baby, that’s HOT!
“Is there something to kill the grass growing in my juniper beds? It comes up in my other groundcovers, too.” -Yes! Fertilome’s ‘Over the Top’, or Bonide’s ‘Grass Beater’. These weedy grass controls can be sprayed over the top of desirable plants without harming them, and kills the weedy grasses. Read the label (as always) for restrictions.
“I noticed that snapdragons are not available as much any more. Suggest anything similar?” You can’t beat Angelonia for that sunny hot spot, and the flowers are similar to the snaps. All summer bloomer, tough and durable.
“I saw the signs saying “Frost Free Date May 15”. What does that mean?” -It means that based on the averages in our area, our chances of having a frost after May 15 is 50% or less, and gets less and less each day forward. So we use that date as a planting point for many annuals, but still keeping an eye on the weather, as it has frosted after May 15th!
“Unfortunately, my shade Impatiens were hit by the Downey mildew last summer. What are my options for replacing them?” -Well, we all know that nothing flowers in solid shade like shade Impatiens. And for those who didn’t get it last year, I say keep planting. For those who did, don’t plan them. Look at Coleus, Torenia, Caladiums, Wax begonias, Whopper begonias, Non stop begonias, New Guinea and Sunpatiens (best in filtered shade), Perilla, Nicotiana, Lobelia, Hypoestes, and don’t forget shade loving perennials.
“Is there a systemic insecticide that helps against leaf eating caterpillars?” Yes, Bayer now has a new systemic that covers your usual list of insects and well as having a second insecticide to help against leaf eaters, too. If just using a systemic (especially for Emerald Ash Borer), look at OPTROL (21% imidacloprid).
“My azaleas have gotten very leggy and not attractive. What can I do to get them fuller looking?” -Prune them! And the best time is right after they finish flowering. Cut them back, give them a good feeding of HollyTone, and watch them re-grow. Azaleas respond to this quite nicely.
“Hey Buggy Joe (Joe Boggs / OSU Extension), what ‘cha reporting this week in the world of bugs and diseases?” – First, which has nothing to do with bugs, is to let folks know April thru May is coyotes have their pups (in underground dens) and can be very protective, so if walking your dog in the woods, do be aware – if encountered, back away slowly and leave the area (easier said than done!), Yellow-bellied sapsucker damages showing on landscape trees and some larger shrubs, corrugated birch leaves are the results of the witchhazel gall aphid, holes in rose leaves typically are the works of the roseslug sawfly (caterpillar-like feeding on the undersides of the leaves), four-lined plant bugs now causing small round black sunken spots on perennials and some woody shrub leaves, Eastern tent caterpillars in full swing right now, pine needle and euonymus scale crawler are active (good time to spray), and Elm flea beetles have begun feeding on Elm leaves, and a reminder that both tall fescue and bluegrass will try to produce seed heads this time of the year, which can cause the blades to lighten in color, so keep mowing on a regular basis to mow them off.
Tuesday, May 7th, 2013
“My butterfly bushes are growing from the bottom like you said. Should I prune off all the branches that look dead?” -Yes, get rid off all dead wood and let the new stuff come up and be your new plant.
“I have some well established rhubarb plants that have already started to seed. Why, and what should I do?” -Cut those seed stalks out as soon as they appear (unless you’re growing rhubarb for ornamental reasons only). Rhubarb goes to seed at varying times due to many different reasons – genetics, variety, temperatures (extreme heat or cold or both), age (older plants, 6-8 years plus – dividing and rejuvenating the clump will help), stress, drought, infertile soils, and even long days! Try to feed your rhubarb with an all purpose garden food just as it begins to pop up in the spring, or by applying good rotted cow manure around the clump after it starts growing, supplemented with a little super phosphate.
“Ron, we covered our ‘tenders’ with black plastic pots, and this morning when I uncovered them, I found garter snakes also enjoying the warmth! But, that’s okay, even though I was startled. I just wish they had some signaling device so I wouldn’t be so surprised!” -I’m with ya! I hate being startled by snakes. Good guys for the garden, but bad guys for my heart!
“I’m having a terrible time with deer in my yard this spring. What do you suggest?” -Liquid Fence, DeerScram, and nylon netting to lie over plants. Good luck!
“I purchased ‘Sucker Stopper’ but not sure how to use it. Can you help?” -Certainly! It’s ready to use, and you have 2 options. Either cut off the existing suckers and then spray the cut areas, or spray the suckers and watch them die back. I cut them off and then spray the cuts. This stuff is a growth inhibitor that lasts all season long! Sure saves you time cutting back suckers all summer long!
“I have ants all over my peonies. Someone told me they help the peonies to bloom. Some say they’re hurting my plants. What do I do?” -Nothing. The ants are there mostly due to the sweet nectar like substance secreted by the peony around those bloom buds. The ants don’t help the flowering process, but don’t harm the peonies either, so just let them be ants and enjoy the sweet spring flavors of peony buds, that only an ant can enjoy.
“HELP! Neighborhood cats have invaded my mulch beds and now they stink. What can I do?” -Fluff up the mulch, turn it over, and the smells will eventually disappear. To keep cats out of the mulch, try throwing sliced citrus peels in the area (they hate the smells of citrus). You can also lay nylon netting over the areas as a temporary barrier for the cats to keep them from digging. And my favorite is to shoot them with a stream of water from one of those high powered water guns. Cats hate that, they remember it, it doesn’t hurt them, and you get a really big kick out of it!
“I have a low growing small leafed weed in my landscape beds that’s taking over. It seemed to start growing in the winter. Any idea what it is and how I get rid of it?” -It sounds like chickweed, which is a winter annual. It’s very shallow rooted, so pull it out with a rake, and throw it away, BEFORE it flowers and goes to seed (that’s how it comes back every year).
“Can I plant herbs outside now?” -Absolutely! I wouldn’t hesitate to plant them, especially in containers. The only one I may wait on is basil, as it is very cold and damp intolerant.
“I had an ornamental grass last year that was beautiful deep Purple, almost burgundy. It did not come back this year. Why, and do you still sell them?” -“Deep Purple”, one of my favorite bands! Sounds like a Dwarf Purple Fountain Grass, and unfortunately, it’s not hardy here and only planted as an annual. Great in containers, great in the landscape, but it is an annual. And yes, we sell a lot of it! Nice plant.
“Is using a soaker hose good, and how will I know if I watered 1 inch?” -They’re a great way to water, as the soil drips right into the soil with little to no evaporation. Next time you use it, turn it on, and let it soak. Take a hand trowel and dig down to see how far down the soil has been soaked. Keep it going until the soil is soaked about 5-6 inches deep. That’s about 1 inch of rainfall. Time how long that took, and that’s a great guesstimate for how long to keep the soaker hose running!
“What’s the name of the product you keep mentioning that helps cut down on watering container plants?” -Soil Moist, and be sure to follow the instructions. More is not always better! (I also like adding coir to the mix.)
“Hey Buggy Joe (Joe Boggs / OSU Extension), what ‘cha seeing this week?” – Leafminer damages on Ohio buckeye leaves, carpenter bees buzzing about with the male scaring the bajeebers out of you (has no stinger so can’t sting you / female does the hole drilling – great pollinators!), six spotted tiger beetles out and about (often mistaken for Emerald Ash Borers, May/June beetles have begun buzz-bombing porch lights, outbreaks of grasshoppers along the Little Miami bike trail ( near Morgan’s Canoe), Viburnum leaf beetles now hatching, Buckeye petiole borer causing droopy leaves on Buckeyes, pine needle and euonymus scale close to hatching, Spruce spider mites have hatched, and gypsy moths have begun to hatch across the state.
Wednesday, May 1st, 2013
“I hear you talking about something to help cut down on the watering of my containers, but not sure what it is? Help!” -It’s called “Soil Moist” and truly is a life saver for container gardeners. The small polymers (mixed into the potting soil) absorb water and swell up to 20 times or more their original size. When the soil dries out, they release water back into the soil which helps cut down on your watering. I like to mix it into the bottom 4/5 of the potting soil, and then add the rest of the potting soil without it. That keeps it lower into the soil and gets plants to root deeper. Please read the label before using. Note: You can add this to existing planters by taking a pencil, poking it down into the soil, and creating several cores. Then sprinkle in a few Soil Moist crystals, and fill back in.
“We want to try the upside down tomato. What type of tomato do you suggest we use?” -Actually you can grow any of them, as I have seen many different types used. But I think the best success has been with the smaller tomatoes such as Sweet 100 (any of the cherry tomatoes), Fourth of July, grape tomatoes, yellow pear, etc.
“Is it too late to grow potatoes in containers? We also wanted to try the straw bales for our tomatoes, but think it may be too late.” -Nope on both! Get those straw bales in place and start soaking the bajeebers out of them, while getting that nitrogen inside to get them started cooking inside (see our tip sheet on bale gardening – www.natorp.com). Takes 2-3 weeks if you stick with it. And still plenty of time to plant potatoes in containers, but get your seed potatoes soon as they will disappear from the shelves soon!
“My azaleas have gotten really leggy over the years. Can they be pruned, and if so, when is the best time?” -Yes they can be pruned, and pruning just after flowering has finished is perfect! Feel free to cut them back as needed – many folks will take out the top area (just below the flowering) every 2-3 years to help keep them fuller. But they can be cut back even further if needed. Takes a few weeks, and then next thing you know, they’re popping out new growth. This would also a great time to feed azaleas and rhododendrons using Espoma’s Hollytone.
“Do you know if the Nursery Outlet will be selling the world’s hottest pepper you kept talking about last year?” -Yes, and they’re ready now! We have Bjut Jolokia, Naga Viper, Butch T, and Moruga! And a new rival – Carolina Reaper.
“Is it really necessary to pinch the blooms off new strawberry plants for the first year?”
-Not if you’re growing ever-bearing (or day neutral) strawberries, which are perfect for growing in containers! They will produce the first year / all season long. But my good friend, Mr. Gary Gao (OSU Extension) does recommend removing flowers from June bearing plants for the first year. It gives them time to grow roots, crowns and develop themselves for next year’s strawberry crop.
“Is it too late to core aerate? My husband says it is.” -Don’t tell you husband that I said this, but NO, it’s not too late to core aerate! Do it now, and do it again in the fall if you want! I don’t want to start anything, but maybe he just doesn’t want to do it!
“I have some summer and late summer blooming perennials that seem to just flop over when they bloom. Anything I can do to help them or prevent them from flopping?” -You can use grow supports or peony rings now to help support them later, or many can be cut back 1/3 or more in early June. This delays flowering by a week or so, but keeps the plants shorter, stockier, sometimes more flowering, and less floppy.
“What is the best advice you have to get rid of thistle in my beds?” -Be persistent. Spraying with Roundup will eventually kill them, but do remember they have an extensive root system. So every time you spray, you will kill the plant you see and some of the roots. If it pops back up, kill it again with some more of the roots. Persistence, and eventually you should get it under control. Nuke ‘em, nuke ‘em, nuke ‘em, and nuke ‘em. It may take all season.
“What are the orange jelly-like balls on those wild cedars?” -Those ‘cedars’ are actually the host plant for cedar-apple rust, and that’s part of the rust life cycle living on the juniper (or cedars). The other part of their life is spent on your apples, crabapples, hawthorns, etc.
“Why am I seeing ants on my peony buds? I don’t see any aphids.” -The existing ants that naturally live in the garden are enjoying the sweet nectar like stuff the buds secrete. That’s all. No aphids, no help in pollinating, doesn’t help them bloom, just a bunch of ants enjoying the sweets of the garden!
“What is it about catnip that makes cats go crazy?” -There is a substance called ‘nepetalactone’ which seems to have a hallucinogenic effect on cats. From what I’ve read, it’s similar to something in a female cats urine, and may explain why unneutered males may react more than neutered and females (although both of ours go nuts-oh!). Looks like lions, pumas and leopards like it too, but not every cat “gets off” on it. Kittens usually don’t react to it until they’re older, and there is a percentage of cats that never react to it. Giving your cat a buzz from this stuff is harmless, and non-addictive, so you’re not creating a drug addict cat.
“Something is eating holes in my spinach! What is it, and can I still eat it (not the bug, the spinach)?” -Slugs, maybe? You need to monitor the plants and find the culprits before we can recommend controls. Never spray for bugs you can’t see. In the meantime, wash the holey spinach and enjoy. If it is slugs, go to our website and find the slug control tip sheet.
“When should I prune my ‘Ms. Kim’ lilac?” -I’m liking this lilac more and more! If needed, and I say again, if needed, prune within 3-4 weeks after flowering is finished. Minimal pruning and you should have usual flowering next year. Heavy pruning and you may see a year’s delay on usual flowering.
“Hey Buggy Joe Boggs (OSU Extension), what are you reporting this week?” – Get rid of those winter annuals (henbit, chickweed, purple nettle, hairy bittercress) before they flower and seed, spring turkey season is underway in Ohio, hummingbirds are in the area so get those feeders out, feed the birds and many are moving back into our area, boxwood leafminer midge flies are appearing (apply systemic insecticides), sawfly leafminers out on elm, birch, alder, and hawthorn, elm flea weevil chewing on elm leaves, cedar rust gall masses now showing on junipers (still time to spray for protection against the rust), still time for pre emergent herbicides in the lawn and landscape, and for those thinking about planting shade impatiens, learn more about Downey Mildew on shade Imps before you plant. If you had it last year, do not plant shade impatiens this year.
Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013
“My hydrangeas are leafing out quickly at the bottom and slower along the stems. Should I cut them back? By the way, one is an Endless Summer and the other Let’s Dance Starlight.” -Those are both macrophylla hydrangeas and fortunately both flower on old and new growth. And, they will typically leaf out quicker at the base (more protected) and slower at the ends of the branches. I usually clip off a couple inches of the ends of the branches, cutting just above a bud, and then leave them be for 2-3 weeks. If they don’t seem to come out more, cut them back further to the lower growth. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. But either way you’re in luck as both flower on old and new growth! Again, as a general rule, don’t be too anxious to cut plants back right now that are slow to come out into leaf. Give them a few more weeks and then see where they are. You have plenty of time for cutting them back if needed.
“Which type of tall fescue do you recommend for our area?” – There are several good blends and single selections of tall fescue on the market today, and I highly recommend them for our lawns. Personally, I have been using the Titan seed lines for years, namely the TLC blend or straight Titan Rx. These high quality tall fescues are also rhizomers which gives them an added advantage to other tall fescues. I like a blend – TLC is my favorite.
“I hear May 15th is our frost free date. Is that when I should wait to plant annuals?” -Frost free dates mean that your chances of having a frost from that point forward is 50% or less. So you still need to watch the weather. Many gardeners take a chance and start planting some cold hardier annuals by mid to late April, and can luck out and have no frosts. But you never know, so watch the weather. I typically will wait unless planting in containers where I can move them in and out. But, I will get my annuals early so I have what I want, and am ready to plant when the weather looks good. (ps…Way back when, Memorial Weekend used to be the weekend for planting flowers and many of the tender annuals! Today’s gardeners don’t like to wait and will start planting mid to late April – taking a chance, and lucking out in many cases.)
“I heard you talking about growing pomegranates. Those aren’t hardy here are they?” -NO! But the unique thing is you can grow them in containers and move them inside over the winter. Like berries in containers? Look at the everbearing mulberry ‘Isaai’ which is a dwarf, and the LSU Purple fig which is smaller and extremely sweet. These are great for growing in larger containers.
“We want to try and treat our Ash tree ourselves for that borer problem. Which is the best product to use and when?” -For smaller ash trees, homeowners can treat the trees themselves with imidacloprid found in several of the Tree and Shrub Insect Controls from Bonide, Fertilome and Bayer. But also look at the one from Optrol. Is a much higher % of imidacloprid and actually becomes cheaper to use, and you get more into the tree. For larger ash trees, I would suggest having the professionals inject them with ‘Treeage’. Natorp’s does offer this service, and now is the time.
“I’d love to get my kids growing a few things this year – maybe something that they can eat. Suggestions?” -Container gardening is a great way to get kids involved with gardening. Give them their own container and let them plant their own garden. Herbs are really easy to grow. But look at everbearing strawberries. You can grow them in hanging baskets or regular pots, and they will flower and fruit all summer so the kids see and have something to eat all summer long. Potatoes in a pot, patio tomatoes, cucumbers, all the greens – so many things that kids would enjoy can be grown in containers. Ps…Roberta Paolo just planted Raspberry Shortcake in the kids education garden because its dwarf and thornless – perfect for the kids!
“Hey Buggy Joe (Joe Boggs / OSU Extension), what are you seeing this week?” – Carpenter bees are out and about (remember the females are great pollinators), skunks are digging in lawns, not for grubs, but for earthworms, voles becoming very active in the landscapes and winter damages now becoming evident, European pine sawflies have started to hatch, too early to check for cool season mites, hairy bittercress is really doing a nice job becoming the new most hated weed in the lawn and landscape, invaisive plants such as honeysuckle and multiflora rose now in pretty much full leaf (dig them out or cut them down), firewood beetles flaring up, ticks are now active, timing is right for Emerald Ash Borer treatments, Eastern tent caterpillars have hatched in S.Ohio, and a reminder to mow the lawn when it needs to be mowed, which right now may mean 2 times a week!
Tuesday, April 16th, 2013
“First, the daffodil bulbs that I planted in mid-November are blooming! Second, I found some other bulbs that are blooming (hyacinths and a couple of tulips that are on their way up) where I no longer want them to bloom. Can I move them NOW while the whole plant is up and blooming? I’m afraid if I wait till fall, I won’t remember where the bulbs are (which is what happened last fall).” – Nope, let them finish flowering, stay green for 6 weeks plus or turn yellow (whichever comes first), then dig them up, cut off the foliage and replant just like you would in the fall. Thanks for the update on the late planted bulbs. Always seeing how late in the season they can be planted and still flower in the spring!
“Okay to cut back my Knock Out roses now?” -Have at it! They can be cleaned up and left to grow larger, cut back a little, or cut back hard and keep them more compact (12-15 inches tall after cut back). If you’ve had problems with rose slugs in the past (holes in leaves), now is a good time to apply the systemic insecticide for protection. If you want to feed roses, do it about ½ strength now, and go to full strength once we get into May.
“Is it too late to apply a pre emergent herbicide to my lawn?” -Nope. But I would get on it as soon as possible. If you have some weeds starting to show up here and there, spot treat them with Bonide’s Weed Beater Ultra.
“Can I still plant cool season crops now?” -Sure can! And we have a great selection of pak choy, collards, mustard greens, kale, cabbage, chard, lettuce, spinach, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower and more. Do remember these can also be grown easily in containers as well.
“What was the berry you talked about that was so good for you; compared it to a blueberry for nutritional, antioxidants, etc?” -Goji Berry! Medium sized viney shrub, with small spurs on the stems. Can be grown as a shrub or grow it flat on a trellis for easier care and picking. Very hardy, and are eaten fresh or dried. We have them!
“I saw your facebook post about moving your fig outside. Did you grow it indoors?” -No. It’s a Black Mission fig which is not hardy here, so I grow it in a 25 gallon pot. It goes dormant over the winter, and gets stored away in a cold dark part of our loading dock to help protect it over the winter. Then I bring it out every spring and it produces like crazy. You can do the same with any fig (although Chicago Hardy is listed Zone 6) – great looking plant in a pot!
“This may sound crazy but my boxwood is crackling. I don’t see anything. Am I hearing things?” -Nope. That’s the results of boxwood leafminers, and with heavy populations, you can actually hear a crackling sound. Treat with a systemic in the fall for best control. Spring apps will not be as effective, but can help. No, you’re not crazy.
“My euonymus groundcover bed looks un-kept and growing at different heights. Can I trim it?” -You can! Do it now! Use a string trimmer or even a mower set as high as it will go (4 inches or more). Trim it off so it’s even. This can help it to thicken up a bit as well. Feel free to feed it this spring with a general garden food. Pachysandra can be trimmed as well.
“When can I move my houseplants back outside?” -When the weather becomes more consistent staying in the upper 60’, 70 and higher day and night. And be sure to acclimate them to being back outside – shady protected spot for several days, then semi sun, then sun. Otherwise they will scorch from the sun and turn white! See it happen all the time.
“Hey Buggy Joe Boggs (OSU Extension) – What are you seeing this week?” -Lesser celandine (low waxy leaves / yellow flowers) now in bloom and spreading thru the turf (controls include physical removal of underground tubers or spraying Roundup and killing everything), treatments for Emerald Ash Borer have begun (www.emeraldashborer.info), white pine weevil adults have become active (topical insecticide apps applied soon – systemic treatments best done in fall), keep your eyes open for hatching of eastern tent caterpillars, watch for honeybees, ground nesting bees, as well as bumble bee queens out and about with temps in the 40-50 degree ranges (learn more at www.xerces.org/bumblebees), dandelions now flowering (leave alone and let the bees enjoy the early source of food) (best time to treat for dandelion control is later in puff ball stages or in the fall), migratory birds are moving back into the area, and there are new OSU Extension publications on fruit and berry production including #940 and can be found and ordered at http://estore.osu-extension.org . (Catch the Buggy Joe Boggs Report every Saturday morning at 8:42am on ‘In the Garden with Ron Wilson’, 55KRC (550AM).)
Remember: Bee Friendly, Nurture the Worms, Grow Your Own Food, Get the Kids Involved, Grow Something in a Pot, and Plant a Tree in 2013!
Tuesday, April 9th, 2013
I have had powdery mildew on my peonies for the past two years. How can I prevent it this year?”
Powdery mildew appearances is determined by the weather, but if you’d like to prevent it this year, either start a fungicidal spraying every 14 days after the foliage appears, or as soon as you notice the smallest spec of p.m. Once it covers the foliage, you can’t get rid of it, so it’s a preventative spraying. Most will wait until they first see a little and then start spraying.
“I was pruning my Japanese Yews and a dust like substance started going everywhere. Then I noticed small brown nodes all along the stems. What is that and how can I treat it? Don’t want to lose my plants!”
Those nodes are the male flowers and the dust is the pollen. And now, you’ve been pollinated!
“If I need to spot treat a few weeds in my lawn, including wild onions, which weed killer do you recommend? I will be feeding the lawn late April.” - First, thank you for what you’re doing. Feed the lawn when it needs to be fed, spot treat the weeds when they need to be treated. I like Bonide’s Weed Beater Ultra. Covers a lot of different types of weeds in the lawn, including those wild onions, works at cooler temperatures for earlier or fall spot treating, and you can reseed 2-3 weeks after using it!
“I have a bazillion black and red striped bugs crawling on the south side of my house! Help!! What do we do?”
Chances are those are Boxelder Bugs and they have become one of the newer home invasion bugs – seeing more and more of them every year. Not much you can do – hose them off, spray with soaps, but as the weather warms they will move out to feed on Boxelder seeds (suck the juices from them), as well as ash, alder, apple, buckeye, honeysuckle, lilac, linden, oak, spirea, strawberry, plums and more. (Don’t cause any harm to the trees but can reduce fruit quality)
“We are interested in growing some berries in containers on our deck and wondered if you had any suggestions?”
BOY DO I HAVE SUGGESTIONS! My theory is if it grows in the ground, chances are you can grow it in a pot as well. And that applies to fruits and berries. With the increase in container gardening interest as well as seeing smaller gardens, plant breeders are developing more and more ‘edibles’ that naturally stay smaller and easy to grow in pots or take up less room in the garden. Just as an example, ‘TopHat’ and ‘Peach Sorbet’ blueberries are dwarf, self-fruiting, and generally stay under 3-4 feet tall. Very hardy and easy to grow in containers. ‘Raspberry Shortcake’ is a new dwarf thorn less red raspberry, again perfect for containers. Also look at figs in containers, both Zone 6 hardy selections like ‘Chicago Hardy’, and Zone 8 varieties (not hardy here) like ‘LSU Fig’ which can be overwintered in an unheated shed and grown outdoors in the summer. Pomegranates, citrus, dwarf fruit trees – these are all possibilities for container gardening!
“I heard you mention spraying fruit trees at bud break and how important that was. What is bud break?”
Great question! Bud break is when the buds on the stems begin to enlarge and open up. If you’ve been dealing with various diseases on your fruits, many of the fungicidal sprays need to begin at bud break and carry thru fruit set, and in many cases, beyond. But those first 6-8 weeks or so is very important for controlling many of the diseases on fruits. Mancozeb, Captan, Fungonil, Sulfur, Copper, Infuse are a few of the fungicides available. Make sure the disease you’re trying to control is on the label. For fruit tree growers, look at Bonide’s Complete Fruit Tree Spray. It has insecticide and fungicide and a chart when to spray!
“I have chickweed, henbit and another weed growing in my landscape beds and thin areas of the lawn. What should I spray them with to get rid of them?”
Use a rake and rake them out before they flower and set seed. Those started growing last fall, so not letting them seed is the first step. Using a pre emergent herbicide in the landscape beds next fall will help control some of the seeds from growing. And get the lawn thicker. Thicker lawn and those winter annual weeds can’t grow there. By the way, the 3rd weed you mentioned – I’m guessing it’s Hairy Bittercress. Google and see!
“I didn’t get to dormant seed my lawn. Can I still seed this spring?” -Absolutely! But the goal is to seed as soon as you can – so when the weather is right, it gets up, growing and rooted in before the weather gets hot. So get on it this week if you can.
“Is it too late to apply a pre emergent to the lawn?” Absolutely not! Now is the time, so have at it. Remember, if you dormant seeded or plan on spring seeding, use the Step One for Newly Seeded Lawns.
“I want to get started with my new vegetable garden. What can I plant now?”
Fruits, berries, asparagus, horseradish, potatoes, peas, onions, and of course all the cool season crops such as Pak Choy, Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, Cabbage, Collards, Kale, Mustard greens, Swiss chard, Spinach, and Lettuce. And do remember – most all of these can be grown in containers as well, so just about anyone can enjoy planting crops of early season plants! Give them a try!
“Hey Buggy Joe Boggs (OSU Extension)! What’s happening this week?”
Poison hemlock has started to emerge (looks like a ferny groundcover) so get on it with a weed killer, April is Invasive Species Awareness Month so visit www.hungrypests.com to learn more, boxelder bugs everywhere on homes as they emerge from the winter sleep, spray peach trees for peach leaf curl before the buds swell, get ready to treat ash trees for Emerald Ash Borer, and inspect evergreens for bagworms hanging on the branches and pick them off. http://bygl.osu.edu
Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013
“I want to seed some bare areas in the lawn, but someone said I can’t put down a crabgrass preventer after seeding. Is that right?” Yes and no. Most pre emergent herbicides will stop grass seed from growing as well as the weed seeds. BUT, both Scotts and Greenview makes their Step One for Newly Seeded Lawns, which has a starter fertilizer and a special pre emergent which stops weed seeds from growing, allows grass seed to grow, and has a starter fertilizer for feeding the new grass seedlings and the lawn. Lasts about 45 days.
“My spring bulbs are showing lots of foliage now. Should I mulch them over to help protect against any cold snaps?” Nope, let them be. Adding mulch would make things worse. They should be fine. BUT, do feed your spring bulbs as they begin to grow. It’s the best time to feed bulbs.
“When is the best time to cut back my Japanese yews and Boxwood?”
Do your pruning before they leaf out in the spring, and don’t be too anxious to do it while it’s really cold. After they put out the first flush of new growth, and that ‘hardens off’, then feel free to come back with a light second pruning by hand to even-up and longer branches as needed.
“Can you tell me your golden rule of pruning flowering plants again? I always get that confused.”
Sure! As a general rule of thumb, for the interest of the flower, prune spring flowering trees and shrubs after they finish flowering (yes, there are exceptions to the rule, including fruit trees, etc). If the plants flower in the summer (after June 1), go ahead and prune in the spring. If you are not concerned about the flowers on spring flowering plants, they can be pruned early spring before they leaf out.
“I’ve been told to not put compost or citrus in my compost pile because it would repel the earthworms. Have you heard this before?” There are plenty of mixed opinions about this, and I can see the concern, especially in smaller compost piles. But for larger compost piles, and if the onions / citrus are cut up to break down quicker, I think you’ll be just fine – and so will the worms. (Same goes for smaller piles if used in moderation.) And if you feel it repels your worms, simply don’t throw onions and citrus in the pile. [By the way - Let me know if you feel adding those have or have not repelled worms in your compost piles!]
“I noticed these swollen black lumps on the branches of my cherry tree. What is it and what can I do for the tree?”
This is called Black Knot – an airborne disease that only affects plants in the Prunus genus – namely cherries and plums, fruiting and ornamental. The infected area eventually girdles the branch and it dies. If you notice one or two of these knots on the branches, prune them out about 6-12 inches below the knot and burn or destroy those pieces. Fungicidal sprays are usually not that effective in helping control it (spring multiple sprays). And if your tree is covered with it, I’d suggest you cut it down.
“I keep having chickweed growing in my beds in the spring. How do I get rid of it?” Chickweed is a winter annual – actually started growing last fall. In early spring they continue to grow, flower, set and drop seeds, and die. So physical removal before they flower and seed is the first step. Then applying a pre emergent herbicide to stop the seeds from growing in September, will help stop remaining seeds from coming up. By the way, chickweed is highly nutritious – more nutritious than most greens, so you know what I say – if you can’t beat ‘em, eat ‘em! (By the way, you’ll see henbit, chickweed, purple deadnettle and hairy bittercress all coming up now – winter annuals – physical removal works great.)
“I’m seeing a blue green fungus growing on the bark of my trees. What is it and how do I get rid of it?” It’s called Lichens, and is an unusual combination of algae and fungus growing together on top of the tree bark. Very natural and not a health threat to the tree – just leave it be.
“My Endless Summer hydrangeas are now leafing out, but I see some dead branches and tips. How do I prune them?” Fortunately, the Endless Summer series of hydrangeas flower on old and new growth, but we want to save as much of the old growth as we can. So remove old flower heads, dead branches or dead and weakened branch tips, clipping them off just above a bud. Feel free to feed them with a general garden food or Holly Tone, and let them grow and flower.
“I just bought a house and it has holly shrubs. How do I know if I’ll get berries on them?”
Remember, most hollies have male and female plants, and it’s the females that produce the berries. But you need a male to pollinate with the female. The only way to know which is which is to look at the flowers. The male flowers have 4 yellow stamens sticking up. The female holly flowers actually have the immature berry at the base of the flower and very visible. If the female flower gets pollinated by the male, the berry begins to grow. If not, they simply fall off. And yes, it’s up to the bees to take care of that for you!
Have gardening questions? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday, February 19th, 2013
“On warmer days, we have actually seen honeybees flying around! What do they feed on this time of the year? It’s winter!” – On days above 45-50 degrees, honeybees will actually leave the hive to, believe it or not, go to the bathroom! They don’t go the entire time they’re in the hive, so when a warmer day comes along, out they go to do their thing. And if by chance something is in bloom, they will collect from it. You may even see them buzzing around bird feeders it the feed has corn or cracked corn in it (which they will feed on). You can feed them by putting out your hummingbird feeders filled with sugar water. They’ll love you for that early quick sip of energy!
“When do you open for the spring? Really looking forward to making changes in my yard this year! Also, do you have people to help “design” or tell you what plants work best where and look good together? One more – the grass off of our deck is complete mud from being trampled by dogs. Can someone help with a solution for that?” -Lot’s of great questions! We open April 3 (www.natorpnurseryoutlet.com), Wednesdays thru Sundays, and yes, we will have a landscape designer on hand to do “Quick Sketch” landscape designs and ideas based on pictures and dimensions you bring for one area of your landscape. Our expert horticulturalists will also help show you which plants look good and work together, and we’ll have a custom container designer on hand to help with your container plantings! As for the dogs and the lawn, one suggestion would be to create a more solid pathway in the grass to get them out into the yard. That can be achieved by placing flagstone or stepping stones from the edge of the deck into the lawn (in the concentrated area stepping off the deck into the lawn), low enough to mow over (even with soil level), and separated apart for grass to grow on between (a ’step’ or so apart), yet creating solid stepping surfaces to lead the dogs and other foot traffic into the lawn area. Whew! That was a lot of questions! But that’s what we’re here for!
“I heard you talking about using coffee grounds and banana peels in the garden. Does it matter which plants I put them around?” -Adding used coffee grounds to the soil is an excellent way to wake up the soil and your plants in your garden! Used coffee grounds are and excellent source of organic matter. Used coffee grounds also help improve soil texture, moisture retention, and are a great low source of nitrogen, potassium, calcium and magnesium. Over time, coffee grounds can help lower the pH of the soil. And we’re finding that used coffee grounds sprinkled around slug loving plants actually help to repel those nasty leaf eating slugs. Add your used coffee grounds directly to the soil, on top of or into the mulch, in potting soil; you can even sprinkle them randomly in the lawn. And not only will the soil and plants love you for it, so will the earthworms! Earthworms love used coffee grounds! Now even if you don’t drink coffee, you can take advantage of the FREE used coffee grounds available at the local coffee shops, in your office, or wherever fresh coffee is being brewed. As for the bananas, they are a super fruit: one of the best sources of instant and sustained energy, help over come or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, help regulate high blood pressure, naturally energize the brain, a great colon cleanser, help take the edge off periods of depression, help curb heartburn, morning sickness and sometimes good for hangovers, and believe it or not, have been a help for some smokers to kick their smoking habit. So, we should all be eating a banana or two a day, right? And when you’re finished eating your banana, don’t throw out the peel – the banana benefits keep going as banana peels are good for your soil and for your plants! Adding banana peels back to the soil adds organic matter, and adds nutrients such as potash and phosphorus. Simply cut up your peels in thin slices and toss them in the garden, or in the landscape mulch, or if you want, actually chop them into the soil. Have houseplants? Take the peels and slide them down between the soil and the side of the pot – adds organic matter to the potting soil, and gives your houseplants a light boost of banana peel nutrients. As they break down, banana peels don’t smell, and don’t attract bugs, so they’re safe to use with your plants indoors.
“I have noticed that several of my bushes have honeysuckle growing up through them. How is the best way to get rid of them without killing the bush? Also, I have a lot of pear tree shoots growing around the base of my tree. I have been trimming them back for several years and they are just getting worse. What do you suggest for dealing with this problem?” -Honeysuckle: I can suggest cutting it off at ground level, then painting Roundup on the fresh cut stump. That should keep it from re-growing and the Roundup won’t harm your existing plants. Watch to make sure the stumps don’t re-grow; if they do, a quick spot shot of Roundup on the sprouts should stop it. The pear is almost the same way – they grow from seeds and sucker from the roots. For the seeds, nothing you can do besides collect as many as you can in the fall, then physically go after the ones that sprout by digging or, again, Roundup will stop small ones. In the lawn, a weed killer used to spot treat the seedlings usually works. If they’re growing from the roots, cut them off at the root and then treat the area with Sucker Stopper. Unfortunately, I know several folks who have gotten tired of the baby pears and taken out the tree – after which you’ll still be dealing with suckers from the roots and seeds, until they both are no longer viable. Then the mushrooms show up for a while!
“I need to dormant seed a few bare areas in the lawn. Now or wait for spring?” – If your lawn thinned out last summer, or has bare areas, and you weren’t able to take care of it last fall, well now is your second best time to get it done! Late summer and early fall is the best time for lawn renovation and sowing grass seed, but sometimes it just doesn’t get taken care of. So we then look at dormant seeding for the second best time, and mid to late February makes an excellent time to dormant seed. The freezing and thawing of the soil opens it up and allows the seeds to fall into the soil like a natural seed bed. Our goal is to get the new seed in place, so that when the temperatures are right for grass seed germination, it will get up and growing early, before we get into the heat of the summer.
Remember; grass seed needs soil contact for the seeds to germinate. Doesn’t touch the soil – won’t grow. So make sure you rake out any dead grass and debris to allow the seed to reach the soil. Also be sure to use grass seed that is the same type of grass already growing in the lawn, or something compatible. And, if you or your lawn care company normally puts down a pre emergent herbicide in the spring to stop weed seeds from growing, those will also stop your grass seed from growing. So be sure to tell your lawn care company that you have dormant seeded. There is a pre emergent herbicide specially formulated for newly seeded lawns that will stop weed seeds for 45 days to allow your grass seed to germinate and grow, as well as a starter fertilizer to help get those seeds off to a good start. Both Scotts and Greenview’s Step One have special formulas for newly seeded lawns, which include a starter fertilizer – feeds the new seedlings and the existing lawn. Make sure you apply this pre emergent just before the weed seeds start to germinate, to make sure the grass seed has time to germinate before the pre emergent runs out (45 days).
“I always get confused on when to prune our flowering shrubs. How do I know when is the best time? I’m tired of getting into trouble with the Mrs.” –Well, we’ve got you covered. Whenever you’re not sure, just call one of our horticulturalists, or email us like you did. Tell us what the shrub is and we’ll tell you the best time to prune. In the meantime, here’s a good ‘general’ rule of thumb to follow (and yes there are some exceptions to this!): If it flowers in the spring (before early June), prune it after it flowers (flowers on previous years growth). If it flowers in the summer or late summer (after early June), then prune it in the spring (flowers are on the new growth). And if it flowers in both seasons, usually prune it after the first flowering in the spring (as needed). Again, this is a general rule to follow, so if not sure, just ask us.
“Do you know if the hummingbirds will be tracked this year? The site still has the ’12 map on it.” -Yes! But the tracking doesn’t start until the end of February. Great website to follow the hummingbirds as they migrate north. (www.hummingbirds.net)
“Why did my concord grapes not all ripen at the same time? We lost quite a few due to uneven ripening.” -Some grape selections are more prone to uneven ripening than others, and concord is one of them. Many factors can influence this – extremely warm summers, extended periods of cooler temps, lack of fertilization, competition from weeds and other vegetation, improper pruning, bugs, weed killers – these are some of the factors that can play a role.
“I heard you talking about planting sisters in the garden. What was that?” -It’s called the Three Sisters, and is a form of the original companion planting. Native Americans would plant a clump of corn. Then as the corn was growing, planted pole beans at the base with squash outside the beans. The corn was support for the beans, the beans fix nitrogen in the soil for the corn and squash, and the squash provided a root protection for the corn and beans. And when eaten together, they form a complete protein. Thus, the ‘Three Sisters’.
Tuesday, January 15th, 2013
“We got all that snow and I didn’t have my roses winter mulched yet. What should I do?” -Winter can be tough on plants with the winds and cold temperatures. But when it snows, although the snow itself is cold, snow is an excellent insulator to protect plants from extreme cold and excessive winds. The amount of protection depends on the depth of the snow. Generally, the temperature below the snow increases about 2 degrees or more for each inch of snow. In addition, the soil gives off heat making the soil surface warmer than the air temperatures. Put those together, with the snow being a blanket, and when the air temperatures drop close to zero, a thick layer of snow could keep the soil surface temperature around 28-29 degrees. In addition to insulating, snow has another plus…it’s made of water! Melting snow provides much needed soil moisture to plants, which helps to prevent winter desiccation injury – especially for those evergreen needles and leaves. And after this very dry summer, we can definitely use more moisture in the ground, as well as many lakes and ponds. So, once the snow melts down (it rarely stays long in our area), then get back out and finish up your winter mulching, protection, etc. Get a day about 45 degrees, you can spray that WiltStop that didn’t get sprayed before the weather got cold!
“Should I be feeding my houseplants during the winter?” -In general, most foliage plants slow down or stop growing during the winter months, and do not require any feedings. So you can get by a couple months without feeding your plants. But as the days start to get longer when spring arrives, then get back into your regular houseplant feeding routines.
“Is now a good time to apply systemic insecticides around the root systems of the outdoor plants to make sure the plants are protected when spring arrives?” -NO, do not apply systemic insecticides to outdoor plants now. The ground may be frozen and plants are dormant. Wait until mid to late March, April, even into May, as the soils warm and plants become active again before applying the systemic insecticides to the soil.
“Do I apply deer repellents to our landscape now, or just wait until the spring?” -Apply repellents now, which not only help provide winter plant protection from the deer, but to start training the deer to keep moving on to the neighbor’s yard! I really like the job DeerScram does, especially over the winter and thru the snow. It’s all natural, and not only works on deer, but works on repelling rabbits as well. DeerScram, Repels All, Liquid Fence, and Milorganite are good. Also, make sure the mulch is not around the base of trees and shrubs. This makes for the perfect location for voles to hide out and chew the bark of the trees and shrubs over the winter. Tree trunk protectors help prevent vole, rabbit and deer damages and can still be placed around the trunks.
“I didn’t get a chance to winterize my Knock Out roses. What should I do?” -Nothing. That’s one of the many benefits of growing the low maintenance Knock Out roses. They’re winter hardy for our area, don’t need added protection, so just let them be. We’ll look at cutting them back and cleaning them up in late March / early April.
“I didn’t get a chance to over seed my lawn this fall, but understand dormant seeding in the winter works. Is there a better time to do this?” -Technically, dormant seeding can take place anytime during the winter. The object is to take advantage of the freezing and thawing of the soil. Frozen ground cracks open…thawed ground closes up. This process helps work the grass seed into the soil so it’s ready to grow this spring. But I think the best time for winter dormant seeding is mid to late February. Lot’s of freezing and thawing going on at that time. Make sure the ground is clear of snow and ice before seeding.
“I found some spring flowering bulbs in the garage that I forgot to plant this fall! What can I do before my wife finds out?” -Well, first of all, don’t panic. They’re only bulbs. And guess what? You’ve got a couple options that can save your hide. Spring flowering bulbs need a period of cold temperatures for them to flower next spring. So being in the cold garage is a good thing! You’re already ahead. Now, when nobody’s looking, go plant ‘em! Get out the spade or bulb auger and plant them in the ground. Use the same planting procedure as you would have in the fall. And if you can’t plant them in the ground, plant them in pots! Simply take 6 or 8 inch pots, place a couple inches of potting soil in the bottom, nestle a few bulbs in the bottom of each pot, then fill the pot with more soil and a little bulb food. Water your pots thoroughly, and keep them in the cold unheated garage or shed. This spring, when the bulbs begin to grow, simply bring the pots inside, or put them on the patio or porch and enjoy your wonderful potted bouquet of spring flowering bulbs. And guess what? Now, you’re a gardening hero. When your potted bulbs are finished blooming, you can remove the bulbs from the pots and plant them outside, wherever it was your wife wanted them planted in the first place! It’s what you had planned to do all along, right?
”I used Soil Moist in my potting soil this year to help reduce my watering, and it worked! The package says lasts several seasons. How do I know whether to add more Soil Moist this spring to my old potting soil?” -Great question! Soil moist is a small polymer that absorbs water, then releases it back into the soil when the soil becomes dry, cutting down on your watering. So, take a sampling of your old potting soil and really soak it with water. Then root around and see what you find in left over Soil Moist. If you see some here and there, add about ½ the normal rate. If you see quite a bit, maybe only add ¼ the normal rate. You won’t over do it at these reduced rates. And I have found you’ll always be refreshing it a little bit each season.
“I want to make sure my Macrophylla hydrangea flowers are blue this year. What should I be doing to make that happen?” -In the simplest of terms: the more acidic the soil and aluminum available, the bluer the flowers the hydrangea will produce. The more neutral, or alkaline the soil and less available aluminum, the hydrangea will produce pink flowers.
Test the pH of your soil with a pH test kit available at your local garden store. For blue flowers, drop the pH below 6 and into the low 5 range, as well as adding aluminum. Adding Aluminum sulfate in a diluted form, applied early spring and again in the fall around the hydrangea does both. As usual, read the label for proper application. Also, do not use a fertilizer high in phosphorus when feeding your macrophylla hydrangeas, which will negate blue colors in the hydrangea flowers. And keep sprinkling used coffee grounds around those hydrangeas. Adds organic matter and over time helps to lower the pH levels in the soil, naturally, helping to produce blue flowers.
“I found some paperwhite bulbs left over from the holiday season. They have some green foliage showing on top – are they still okay to plant?” -Absolutely! They’ll go on hold in that position until you get them planted or set in gravel and water, and then stand back and watch them grow and flower. If you buy extras to plant over the winter, store them in a cool darker area until you’re ready to plant.
“With the warmer weather before the holidays, I’m seeing weeds growing in the beds already! Can I treat those with vegetation killers now?” -Many weeds will grow during warmer winter temperatures, especially wild onions, and those winter annuals like chickweed, henbit, and hairy bittercress. Winter annuals actually started growing from seed during the fall. Unfortunately, vegetation killers won’t work in these cooler temperatures, so it’s all hand pulling or raking, or digging out in the case of wild onions, which I would suggest you do now, so these weeds are not an issue in the spring. Fall applications of pre emergent herbicides can help reduce the number of winter annuals growing from seed. By the way, with the warmer temps around the end of the year, we also were seeing a lot of the spring flowering bulbs such as hyacinths, tulips and daffodils poking their heads up out of the ground. Don’t worry – they should be just fine. Do not add extra mulch or try to protect them – happens all the time and 99.9% of the time, come this spring, they’ll come up as usual and flower just fine.
“What’s that seed catalog website you were talking about?” Cyndi’s Garden Catalogs and the link is www.gardenlist.com. About every mailorder source you could imagine. Now, when you find something you like, check with us or your local garden store to see if it will be available this spring. Support those local independent garden stores!
Wednesday, December 12th, 2012
“There are several tree preservatives as well as home recipes to add to the water in our Christmas tree stand. What do you recommend?” -If you’ve used commercial tree preservatives or home recipes and they’ve worked for you, stick with them. But research has shown that the consistent ingredient for all these additives – plain old tap water. And plain old tap water works great! Make sure the tree stand doesn’t go dry – the cut on the bottom of that tree can actually seal over in 2-3 hours. So always have water in the stand’s reservoir. And for me – I use just plain old ‘hot’ tap water.
“We like to buy the tree shaped Rosemary plants for the holidays, but have a hard time growing them indoors over the winter. Have any suggestions?” – Rosemary – well, she can be a tough one to grow indoors. And from past experiences, here are the keys I found in being successful: -Rosemary needs a really bright to sunny location indoors. Chances are she was grown in a greenhouse with full sun, so she’ll want that at your home. If not, she’ll begin to shed needles and in many cases never recover. -Rosemary loves cooler temps indoors -50-70 degrees works great. -Rosemary wants her soil to get close to dry before watering. Close to dry, but not totally dry, so soak it well when you water, then let it get close to dry before watering again. -And Rosemary loves good air circulation (but not near heat vents). She can be susceptible to powdery mildew indoors, so keep her where the air moves around the plant. Sometimes a small desk fan can help.
“Instead of a Christmas tree, we bought a Norfolk Island Pine to decorate. Can we plant it outside after the holidays or wait for spring?” -There are several evergreen plants that make good indoor trees for Christmas, especially the Norfolk Island pine. But unfortunately the Norfolk Island pine is a tropical plant and not hardy here. So they cannot be planted outdoors. But they are fairly easy to grow indoors – bright light, nothing direct – cooler temperatures – and even watering, so water well, let it get close to dry (not totally dry), and water again. And that Norfolk pine will be with you for many Christmases to come, as an indoor pine. By the way, one last tip about watering indoor plants: Always use warm water, not cold water.
“Bought a ‘Silver English Holly’ for Christmas decorations and plan to plant it after the holidays. Any suggestions where to plant it?” -They can get some size so allow the room, but please read the label and check the hardiness listed. Most of those are Zone 7 (6) and further south, and not very hardy here. You may be better growing it in a container; outside in the summer / indoors for the winter.
“We just finished re-landscaping an area and now doing the final mulching. Should I apply a pre emergent herbicide now as I mulch the area?” -I wouldn’t. The only weed seeds that may germinate between now and spring would be winter annuals. I’d wait until spring and then apply the pre emergent (when soil and air temps become 55 degrees ‘plus’ consistently).
“I used Dracaena and Cordyline spikes in my annual planters outdoors. Can I do anything to keep those over the winter – I hate to pitch them out?” -Yes! Both make great indoor plants! Pull the annuals out and keep your spikes in a bright lit area indoors and grow over the winter as a foliage plant. (Usually easy ones for indoors.) Then next spring, take it back outdoors and replant the annuals around it for your summer planter. Or, make a combination planter for indoors, using other foliage plants. Looks nice over the winter – then move the new foliage planter outdoors for the summer and enjoy on the patio or deck – bring back indoors for the winter.
“Did I hear you say use warm water for watering indoors plants?” -You did! Research shows cold water can actually reduce root and plant growth on indoor plants causing plant decline, where watering with luke-warm to warm water works perfect, and actually stimulates root growth and results in a healthier plant – assuming you don’t over water your plants!
“My amaryllis has finished flowering; now what?” -Once the flower is finished, cut the flower stalk off just above the foliage, which will now start to grow like crazy. Then, grow your amaryllis indoors like a houseplant over the winter. Next summer you can move it outdoors if you’d like. Feed it regularly with a water soluble fertilizer. Then, late August, stop watering the plant, remove the yellowed foliage, store the bulb pot and all in a cool dark area indoors for 6-8 weeks, then bring it out and start the process all over again for holiday and winter flowers.
“What’s the deal? Moles have all of a sudden started digging up my yard! There are mole hills everywhere. When do they hibernate?” -They don’t – they’re active year-round. And this time of the year those male moles are digging new subsurface highways to cover the females in their territory. Check our web site for the mole control tip sheet. Or, if you don’t want to deal with them, just give The Mole Man (Tom Schmidt) a call. It’s like calling in Clint Eastwood to clean out the bad guys who took over the town! Unless you’re lucky enough to have his daughter come out – certainly the best looking mole trapper you’ll ever find! (Thank goodness she doesn’t look like Tom.)