Your Garden Questions

“I have some black spots on my perennials like black eyed Susan. They make the leaves curl up. What can I do for it?” -Probably Septoria Leaf Spot, which we have seen more of the past few years, or those spots could be the results of the four-lined plant bug, which we are seeing a lot right now. Look for beetle like (very quick moving –also can fly) insects on the leaves and stems, and they actually have 4 lines on their back. They feed on the undersides of the leaves of many perennials, causing brown to black spots on the tops of the leaves. Usually a quick in quick out bug, and hard to spray for as they move quickly. If the leaf spot, it’s usually more cosmetic than anything. Fungicidal sprays will help keep it in check. Clean up all leaves and stems at the end of the season and pitch. Keep good airflow around the plants and try to reduce overhead watering. Google both (or bring us leaf samples) to help determine which it is. Good thing – neither are generally life threatening to ‘Susan’.

“My tomatoes were just planted last weekend and now have white tips on the leaves. Frost?” -That could be, but generally turns brown. White can be caused by cold weather, cold soils, wet soils, nutrient deficiencies, or most of the time, winds and sunburn, which is probably the answer here. Acclimating them to being planted outside over several days can help prevent that from happening.

“There are tiny green worms or larvae feasting on the leaves and flowers of my roses. What are they and what do I do?” -Probably rose slugs / bristly rose slugs – hand smash, systemic insecticides applied around the base of the roses, and contact sprays of insecticidal soap or horticultural oil. There are multiple generations so repeated sprayings may be needed. Good thing is, they rarely affect the health of the rose. Looks bad, but they keep right on flowering.

“I see in my Reach Magazine (Natorp Ad) that is says you’re closing for the season on June 30th. You just opened in April, so why are you closing when the summer is just starting?” -Glad you asked! Our new Nursery Outlet is open 13 weeks in the spring and 6 weeks in the fall and these just happen to be the key times for planting! In between, we close the gates to grow plants and get ready for the next planting season. During those times, we’re still here for you – we can answer your questions, help you with whatever you need, and if you need a plant or product, just call or email us and we’ll schedule a time to meet you here and get things taken care of! Same guarantees on the plants and products. So the gates may be closed, but we’re still here for you, year-round.

“When can I divide my daylilies?” -Tough cookies those daylilies! They can be divided in the spring, in the fall, or after they’re finished flowering. By the way, if you want to keep those re-bloomers re-blooming this summer, be sure to deadhead spent flowers and eventually the entire flower stalk, and feed after each flush of flowers.

“Is it true that when my late blooming Spirea finish flowering, I can prune them and they’ll flower again?” -Yes, surprisingly enough. Simply take the hedge shears (one time that hedge shears can be used!) and shear off just below the spent flowers. Re-shapes the Spirea, and the new growth typically flowers again.

“When is it time to apply the grub preventer to our lawn?” -If needed, apply the preventer anytime in June or July. I prefer June.

“Is there ever a time that I should bag my grass clippings?” – I’m a firm believer in putting those clippings right back where they came from. But, there could be a few times where bagging could be suggested – severe diseased lawn where bagging helps get the diseased clippings away from the turf, to prevent clumping because the grass is too high, or if you needed the clippings to add a little ‘green’ to the compost pile, or wanted to use it for mulching (make sure it’s herbicide free if you’re doing that!).

“We have an overgrown Weigela that has just finished flowering. When do I prune it and how much?” -Right now is the time (after flowering), and if it needs rejuvenation, feel free to cut it back hard. Get rid of really old stems right at the ground.

“Can I go ahead and cut off the foliage from my daffodils now? Most are turning yellow.” -Yes, you’ve waited long enough. Have at them!

“When can I divide my peonies?” -Late summer is best, and be sure to replant at the same depth they were planted originally. One of the biggest problems is peonies not flowering due to being planted too deep.

“I’m confused; do I need to deadhead my Knockout roses, or just leave them alone?” -Knockout roses are self cleaning, which means you do not have to deadhead the spent flowers. If you want to, you can simply pinch off the spent flower itself, and may speed up the re-blooming, but it’s not necessary. But if you want to, go ahead. But it’s not needed. But you can if you want. But it’s not required. But you can, if you want to. 

“Hey Buggy Joe (Joe Boggs / OSU Extension), what ‘cha reporting on this week in the world of bugs and diseases?” -This week we’re seeing Japanese knotweed coming on strong and taking over large areas in just a few years, Poison Hemlock and Wild Parsnips now flowering and easily seen (very toxic), honeybees have started to swarm (call your local extension office if a swarm visits your yard and sticks around – bee keepers need them for new hives – do not spray them or hurt them!), bagworms have definitely started to hatch so monitor your evergreens and catch them early before they eat all the needles, loads of leaf galls now showing up on Elms, Maples, Oaks – pretty much any tree can get them – and again, mostly aesthetic and rarely to never sprayed for, Stink horn fungus now rearing its smelly head in many lawns and landscapes, four-lined plant bugs reeking havoc on many perennials (black spots on the leaves), Azalea Lacebug now appearing on the new azalea leaves, now reporting the Golden Backed Snipe Flies zipping about (yes, you really can go ‘snipe’ hunting), rust showing up (over 8000 species of rust worldwide) on many different types of leafy plants including roses (not usually seen here), Emerald Ash borer adults are now emerging and taking flight, and a reminder to learn about the EAB and the Asian Longhorn Beetle, so that you know what to look for in helping to detect them in your area.


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Ron Wilson

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