Category: Ken Morgan

Start your defense against stink bugs

Set up stink bug traps in your yard. These traps will lure stink bugs with an attractant that is odor-free to humans, before they enter your home or damage your vegetable or fruit gardens. A light can be purchased separately to be added to the trap for indoor use. Remember to mow your lawn high (three to four inches tall) to prevent stress and shade the roots. WEEK ONE 1. If you are considering a fall vegetable garden, now is the time to purchase cold crop vegetable seeds. Broccoli, spinach, turnips, kale, greens and cauliflower are prime crops that will harvest before frost and thrive during the cooler fall nights. 2. Prune marigold flowers at the first sign of discoloring. A major disease (called botrytis) will take out marigolds quickly if you do not keep them pruned this time of the year. Pruning them will also promote a more lush and blooming plant. WEEK TWO 1. Prune back to the ground all raspberry and blackberry canes which have just fruited. Pruning the spent canes encourages continued spur development on canes which have grown this summer meaning a better fruit yield. Also, prune out any pencil thin and dead canes to encourage more light into the plant for more vigor. Apply Espoma’s Hollytone at recommended label instructions to provide nutrients. 2. It is time to move your potted amaryllis indoors...

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Quick summer tips are in season

Remember, lawns and established plantings need at least one inch of rain every week. If it does not rain, then one slow watering is best. Watering in the morning (5 a.m. to 10 a.m.) is best to prevent fungus and scorching. If you live in an area with sandy soils, such as parts of Caroline and Dorchester counties, you will need to do this twice weekly. Remember, don’t forget to check your container plantings — not only for water — but also to see if you need to add more potting soil or Leafgro. Sometimes when planters are allowed to dry out too much, the soil will shrink away from the sides of the containers. Here is a checklist to keep in mind for July: Week 1 • Japanese Beetles are now present and mating. Place Beetle Traps at the corners of the property, away from desirable plants (roses, grapevines, flowering plums and cherries). We suggest using Bonide’s Yard and Garden Eight, Beetle Killer or liquid Sevin. These are contact killers and will last between ten and fourteen days; • Pinch back chrysanthemums one last time to enjoy bushier plants and more flowers in the fall. New flower buds will start forming in late July or early August; • This is a good time to cosmetically prune arborvitae, mugo pines and yews; and • If your flowering annuals are...

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Is your lawn ready for dethatching?

Grass clippings left on the lawn are returned to an elemental state by microorganisms in the soil and recycled as nutrients. A quarter-inch layer of clippings is good; more is not. Clippings build when overdoses of pesticides kill the soil microorganisms, and when soluble high-nitrogen fertilizers and excess watering push grass growth. Your lawn could need dethatching if it feels spongy to walk on. To test your lawn, cut a wedge-shaped plug of turf that includes dirt with the roots. If the spongy layer between the grass and the soil measures more than a half-inch, dethatch. The best time to dethatch a cool-season grass is in early fall. A convex rake with short knife-like blades in place of tines can be used to dethatch a small lawn. For a big dethatching job, a gas-powered vertical mower and power rake attachment is needed. If the thatch is thick, make two passes at right angles to each other. To avoid thatch buildup do the following: • Remove less than one inch of grass blade when you mow. Use a mulching mower to double-cut the clippings, which makes it easier for the microorganisms in the soil to break them down. • Avoid excessive dosing with pesticides that kill the soil microorganisms. • Avoid soluble high-nitrogen fertilizers and excessive watering. • Aerate every two or three years. Aeration helps avoid a big thatch...

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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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