Monday, June 29, 2015

A Few Things To Do Before Summer Vacation

Indian Hawthorn (AKA Raphs) finished blooming and can be pruned as needed. Watch out for the leaf spot disease that attacks these plants. If your plant’s foliage is thinning and it has spots on its leaves, there is a good chance your plant is under attack.  Honor Guard does a good job of keeping this fungus in check; however, this disease will always be out there so regular spraying is a must. Also, when spraying fungicides, it is important to switch chemical classes to avoid resistance. If they do not need pruning, hold off, because pruning encourages new growth and the disease likes new leaves.  

If you are taking a vacation this summer and have St. Augustine grass, be sure to put out an insecticide to protect your lawn from ‘the nasty rascal, the chinch bug’. Chinch bugs can do serious damage in a very short period of time. They love and multiple greatly in hot, dry weather, so this year has been a very bountiful year for them. Bug Blaster, ECO VIA (National Organics Program compliant), or Aloft (a newer product with some long term control – 3 months) should help you manage this lawn terrorist.

As the temperature and humidity rises, St. Augustine grass will also get a leaf spot disease called gray leaf spot. Even though I usually try to avoid scientific names, I have to use this one because there are different leaf spot diseases that are controlled with different products. Look for the name Pyricularia grisea on the label to get control of this leaf spot. Several years ago, I picked up a customer from another store (and he still shops with us) because the other store was selling him a product that was labeled for the leaf spot (Helminthosporium spp) and after repeated applications the customer was not getting any control. The product was not labeled for the gray leaf spot (Pyricularia grisea) that the customer was trying to control in his clients St. Augustine grass. Some products that are labeled for this disease include Prophesy, Cleary’s 3336, and Disarm.

Azaleas are getting ready to set their flower buds for next year, so it is very important to do any pruning on these plants right away. Even if you pruned them hard right after they bloomed, you can still do any touch up pruning to manage any growth that might have occurred since the last pruning. An application of KeyPlex or Mighty Plant should help them set more blooms for next year. Watch out for lace bugs sucking on your plants.

Any of the repeat blooming azaleas (Encore, Red Slipper) should be pruned right after they flower. If you prune fairly hard, you will likely lose some of the next flush of blooms; however, they should get back in sync fairly quickly, providing you multiple blooms.

A general rule of thumb is to be sure all your spring blooming plants have been pruned. Gardenias (unless they repeat in August), Camellias, Spirea, Forsythia, flowering quince …

If you haven’t fertilized your lawn, shrubs and trees, a midsummer feeding is a good idea. With the heavy rains and all the growing they have been doing, some food would be a great idea. I’m seeing a lot of yellow grass in my travels. A soil test is always the best guide for fertilization.

Snakes, Japanese Beetles, baby mole crickets killing, ants, aphids, chiggers, fleas, roaches and rats are all hot topics at Possum’s.

Always read, understand and follow product label. The product label is a Federal Law.