Category: Ken Morgan

Remove all remnants of Boxwood Twig Blight

Keep a lookout 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 yellow powder from discoloring flower blooms. When flowers fade, pinch below flower and move plant into full sun. Continue to keep soil lightly moist, but begin fertilizing with Jack’s Classic fertilizer 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 remove any branches rubbing across others and any growing into the center of the canopy. Always...

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This month is when the magic starts

March is the month of preparation. Take the time to prepare your garden for the growing season by checking soil pH and cleaning up winter debris. 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. • Check pH of the garden soil for annuals and perennials, which should be at 6.0 to 7.0. Also, applications of organic matter, such as Leafgro or composted manure, worked into the soil are most helpful. Week Two • Prepare larger houseplants too big to be repotted for the coming season of growth by top-dressing the soil, replace the missing soil with a 50-50 blend of Leafgro and potting soil. Be sure to also add the recommended dose of slow-release fertilizer around the edge of the pot. • Rhododendrons are evergreen shrubs that require proper feeding and pH. These plants require a pH of 4.0 to 5.5. Be sure to test at the dripline of the shrub, apply a sulfur amendment to lower pH. Rhododendrons are light feeders, so do not apply...

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Pruning, clean-up important in February

February is a month where the weather can vary widely. Even though it may still be cold, damp, snowy and sometimes miserable outdoors, occasionally Mother Nature will bless us with a day or two of sunshine, which inspires us to go outside and work in the yard. Pruning and clean-up are always important jobs for February. Remember protecting your landscape from hungry deer is critical this month. Be sure to apply a repellant to make your plants less desirable. Remember, regardless of what the groundhog says, spring is still more than six weeks away! Week One • Keep the water flowing or provide a heated birdbath for the birds during these wintery days. Placing a few small rocks around the rim of the birdbath will allow the birds to drink without freezing their feet. • Check bird feeders and refill them often during the winter, always remember to dispose of damp or spoiled seed. Week Two • When watering house plants be sure to rotate pots a half-turn every other week. This exposes foliage to improved light conditions and will eliminate bending of stalks and foliage to the light source. • Use a pH meter to test soil of your indoor houseplants. Most houseplants like a pH range of 6.0 to 6.5. Use lime to raise pH and Espoma Soil Acidifier to lower pH. Week Three • Monitor your...

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There’s always work to be done with plants

A new year has begun and though it’s not the heart of the gardening season, there’s work to be done to get the best out of your plants this year. Here are 10 suggestions for care of your plants inside and out. • 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 20-20-20 fertilizer, and a second round of flowers will come after March 15. • Mulch perennial beds or plants with 3 to 4 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. • Be sure all outdoor potted container plants are watered if needed and have a good layer of hardwood mulch to help protect the root system of the plants. • 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,...

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Save this Christmas cut-tree checklist

For many of us, it’s not Christmastime until the tree is in the house with decorations and ornaments. If you fall into that category, you’re probably itching to go out and select the perfect live tree for your space, if you haven’t already worked it into you post-Thanksgiving duties. • Now is a good time to buy your cut Christmas tree. Balsam, Fraser Fir, Noble Fir, and Douglas Fir trees are the best choices 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. • Remember to check the water in the stand of your cut tree daily. Allowing it to dry out just one time will cause the trunk to “heal over” which means that it will stop drinking. • 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 just cut greens fresh, but will protect evergreen plants...

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