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.
• 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 prune unbranched limbs back to an outward facing bud.
Also, remember crape myrtles are slow to wake-up in the spring. If you feel that your plant has died, wait until late next month before deciding whether to replace it.
• Scale may turn up on your hollies and some other ornamental plants.
I suggest using Bonide’s Systemic Insecticide; make three spray applications, five to seven days apart.
• In late April, lift and divide the roots of last year’s garden mums.
Discard the old centers and plant the young roots in new places.
You will get a better show than if you left them in the same place for years on end.
• Now is the perfect time to plant strawberry plants.
We stock varieties that are well suited to our area.
Be sure to plant in full sun, and apply composted manure when planting.
• Prune azaleas as they finish blooming to a shape that offers a layering look, rather than just shearing off the branch tips.
We also suggest using Bonide’s Rose and Flower or VPG’s Azalea and Flower with systemic.
Both products promote strong roots and beautiful blooms, while protecting the plant against insect damage for up to eight weeks.
• Do not be tempted to cut back the foliage of your daffodils.
The bulb uses the leaves to transform energy from the sun to help develop next year’s blossoms. Leave until foliage has turned completely yellow.
Apply Bulb-tone as per label instructions now, to promote bigger and more flowers for next season.
• When mulching we suggest using a product called Amaze for prevention of both broadleaf and grassy weeds in the flowerbeds.
It is also a great time to apply any needed fertilizers such as Espoma’s Holly-tone or Plant-tone to provide extended feeding of the plants.
Be sure to apply all products before mulching to insure that they will stay in place.
(Editor’s Note: Ken Morgan is owner of Robin’s Nest Floral and Garden Center in Easton, Md.)