Category: Ken Morgan

Beware of boxwood twig blight

Be on the alert for Boxwood Twig Blight. The fungus Cylindrocladium pseudonaviculatum first presents itself as leaf spot followed by rapid browning and leaf drop starting on the lower branches and moving upward in the canopy. The fungus can remain in fallen leaves, so be sure to rake up fallen twigs and throw away (do not compost). Research is still being conducted to find a solution to get rid of this fungus. Ridding the plant of diseased branches and raking up all dropped leaves is the best prevention. WEEK ONE • Place Easter Lilies in medium indirect light and keep soil lightly moist. Pinch off stamens (yellow pods) in each lily to prevent its yellow powder from discoloring flower blooms. When flowers fade, pinch below the flower and move plant into full sun. Continue to keep soil lightly moist, but begin fertilizing every other week at half-rate. In early June, plant in well-drained soil in the garden (morning sun, afternoon shade). The plant will flower in mid-June in future years. • Prune and shape up crape myrtles you wish to grow as trees before they bloom. Remove any dried flower clusters or seed pods. To encourage a canopy to form, remove the branches a third of the way up the trunk. Always remember to remove any branches rubbing across others and any growing into the center of the canopy....

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March to it, prepare yourself

March is the month of preparation, so take the time to prepare your garden for the growing season by checking soil pH and cleaning up winter debris is a perfect way start. March is the best time for pruning trees and shrubs, especially for fruit and shade trees. If you have fruiting or flowering trees, bring in a few pruned branches and place in water with flower preservative, and watch spring to begin to bloom inside as well. Week One • Deadhead fall pansies to encourage reblooming as the weather warms up. Apply Espoma’s Flower-tone at the suggested rate to encourage larger blooms. • Mist your houseplants every day or two with water at room temperature. Be sure to groom them often, removing all dead or yellowing leaves. Remember, pruning and deadheading encourages new growth. Cut back any foliage plants that are not producing new growth and repot them in new soil. Week Two • Wild onion and wild garlic are emerging, use Weed Beater Ultra to spot spray. Unlike many other weed killers, this product works in cooler temperatures. Another method would be to use Kleen-Up by Bonide and equal amounts of water in a coffee can plus one third of a teaspoon of liquid Woolite or Joy. Then paint this mixture on the plants with a sponge brush. • Rhododendrons are evergreen shrubs that require proper feeding...

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Hands off that Christmas cactus!

When the flowers on Christmas cactus fade, pinch off the blooms and begin a five-week dormant cycle. Do not touch the plant for five full weeks — meaning no water and no fertilizer. In the second week of February, begin bi-weekly feedings of Jack’s Classic 20-20-20, and expect a second round of flowers to come after March 15. Some other items to add to your January gardening to-do agenda include: • Mulch perennial beds or plants with three to four inches of mulch to keep plants frozen in place and to prevent them from being heaved out of the soil. Dusty Miller must also be mulched if it is to re-grow in the spring. • Spray all snow shovels and discharge chute and impellers of snow blowers with silicone spray. This will allow the snow to slide off and not become impacted. • Use calcium chloride or granular urea (46-0-0) instead of salt crystals when attempting to melt snow or ice. Both these products will work faster and more efficiently than salt, without harming your lawn or plants. • Try not to walk on frozen grass over the winter as you will destroy the living cells in the blades of grass wherever you step. Two or more inches of snow and you can walk on the grass, three or more inches and sledding is OK. • Always remove heavy...

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Garden chores don’t stop for cold

By Ken Morgan Try to keep your holiday cactus in the coolest possible room. This will help delay the opening of the buds until Christmas. Always feed your plant with Super Bloom when watering while the plant is flowering. • Keep leaves raked-up on your lawn and landscape areas. Allowing them to remain creates an environment for over-wintering insects and diseases. Whenever possible, compost the leaves for use next spring. • Buy your Cut Christmas tree now. Balsam, Fraser Fir, Noble Fir, and Douglas Fir trees are the best choice because they absorb water more freely, making them the safest indoor cut tree. • Before you purchase a cut tree, try to break off a small branch with your fingers. If it snaps, off consider it dead. If it does not snap off, cut off a small piece and see if it is green or white, which means the tree is still alive and a good Christmas tree. • Consider spraying your cut or balled tree, fresh evergreen wreaths and greens with Wilt-Pruf. This will help it to retain moisture in the needles throughout the holidays and prevent premature needle drop. It can also be used outdoors to keep not only cut greens fresh, but will protect evergreen plants as well. Winter winds tend to dehydrate evergreen leaves on hollies, camellias, azaleas, rhododendron, mahonia and other broadleaf evergreens. One application...

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