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In The Backyard

Horticulture columns and tips done on a timely basis
leaf scorch

Effect of dry weather and heat on perennials and leaf scorch

Posted by John Fulton -

Perennials are also suffering during this extended dry period. There is evidence of scorch on recently transplanted trees, shrubs, and other perennials. This is the fancy name for the condition I mentioned in lawn grasses where the plant just can't take up enough water to supply the leaves. In trees and shrubs, it causes them to suddenly have brown leaves. It is a good idea to water perennials...

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rust in lawns

Early Dry Weather Effects on Grass and Potential for Lawn Rust

Posted by John Fulton -

I refer to it as "buckhorn days." With the early period of combined heat and lower rainfall (unless you were under one of the passing rain clouds which dumped moisture), we are seeing conditions typical of late July or August. The main things actively growing in many lawns at this time are called weeds. One of the traditional weeds during dry periods is plantain. There are two common types of p...

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fire blight on apple

Fire blight on Apples and Pears

Posted by John Fulton -

Apple and pear trees continue to have their problems. There is a large amount of tip dieback in some varieties, and this is probably fire blight. Tip dieback has become very evident the past couple of weeks, and even where the spray programs were followed in home orchards. This would actually be the second bout for the year. Look for a shepherd's crook at the tip of the affected areas as a clue...

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Earwig

Earwigs - insects which look like they have pinchers

Posted by John Fulton -

One insect of note with the wet weather earlier this year is the earwig. Earwigs tend to be in high organic areas, as they feed primarily on dead insects and plant material. However, they can, and do, eat live plant material such as marigolds, zinnias, strawberries, and others. They may be a prime suspect if you notice damage, but never see any insects during the day. Control can be obtained wi...

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Potato leafhopper

Potato Leafhopper

Posted by John Fulton -

The inconspicuous potato leafhopper has been a problem for the past week as well. This is the small wedge-shaped, light green insect that seems to just fog around security and patio lights. They are also small enough to come in through screens after dark. They are not only a nuisance, but they can cause damage to a wide variety of plants. Potatoes are the first plant that comes to mind...

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Blossom end rot

Blossom End Rot of Tomatoes

Posted by John Fulton -

Blossom end rot is a non-infectious disease (caused by the weather and growing conditions) which is very common during extended dry periods. It also seems to be worse on tomatoes grown in containers. The alternating weather patterns we have experienced have set us up for problems. It begins as light tan water-soaked lesion on the blossom end of the fruit. The lesions enlarge and turn bl...

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Pruning Evergreens

Posted by John Fulton -

This is the time of year, the last half of June, to prune evergreens. This includes both needle-type and broadleaf evergreens. If you're wondering what a broadleaf evergreen is, that includes holly, rhododendron, and azalea. The logic behind pruning your evergreens at this time is to allow sufficient time for regrowth to become hardened off before winter, and to keep new growth from becoming to...

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Planting Pumpkins for fall jack-o-lanterns

Posted by John Fulton -

Many pumpkins are already on their way, with seeds being sown a month ago. While this practice is great for producing pumpkins for pumpkin pie and blossoms, it really doesn't work very well for producing the Halloween jack-o-lantern pumpkins. The Halloween pumpkins are best planted around Father's Day. This timing helps prevent the pumpkins from rotting before we get to the end of October....

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Japanese beetle

Japanese Beetles Emerge

Posted by John Fulton -

It's hard to believe, but with the current (and projected) degree days, the earliest emerging Japanese beetles will be with us in about a week. Literature cites numbers between 950 and 1050 degree days, based on a 50 degree benchmark, for emergence. Current projections are for the Springfield area to top 950 by June 9. Of course, they don't all emerge at once, but the control of early beetles w...

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Mature bagworms

Get Ready For Bagworms

Posted by John Fulton -

Bagworms are an insect that conjures up images for many people. There are bagworms, and there are other larvae that live in a bag for at least part of their life cycle. We have bagworms, Eastern Tent Caterpillar, and Fall Webworms. For the true "bagworm," the insect that constructs a small bag like an ice cream cone from the leaf material of the tree or shrub it is on, the year-in and year-out...

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hosta diseases

Leaf Spots on Hosta

Posted by John Fulton -

The Plant Clinic is reporting seeing several hosta samples with leaf spots caused by various fungi. Anthracnose is one of the main culprits. It is related to, but different, than the anthracnose which affects sycamore and other trees. It is favored by the type of weather we have been experiencing. Irregular dead spots form, and these can tatter out with rains and wind to look like somet...

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