Gardening Daily Tips, June 25

Saturday June 25, 2011

Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens)

Today’s Featured Plant
Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens)

Read the full profile of this plant at

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Q&A: Black Spot

Question: What can I use on my tea rose bushes to get rid of Black spot? I have 8 tea rose bushes and only 2 have it.

Answer: Black spot is one of the most common diseases of roses. Fungicides will help control it, but you’ll need to practice good garden sanitation (prune and remove the most obviously infected canes), and try to keep water off the leaves. Fungicides need to be applied every 7-14 days during the growing season. Some choices include the neem oil based Rose Defense, Funginex, Daconil, Captan, Bravo. I’m afraid black spot is just one of the challenges you’ll face when growing roses, but the reward is worth the effort. I don’t think there’s anything quite as lovely as a garden filled with roses!

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Q&A: Blossom End Rot

Question: My tomatoes last season grew nice and big, but just before they were ready to harvest they started rotting from the bottom. What caused this, and how do I prevent it from happening this year?

Answer: It sounds as though your tomatoes had blossom end rot, a physiological condition caused by a lack of calcium at the blossom end of the fruit (the end opposite the stem). Even if your soil has adequate calcium, blossom end rot can occur if there are extreme fluctuations in soil moisture. The symptoms–blackening of flesh–take some time to develop, so the damage you see is actually the result of conditions some time back. Remedies include having a soil test to make sure calcium levels are adequate, adding organic matter to a sandy soil to increase its moisture holding capacity, and keeping plants evenly moist, especially during the development of the first fruits. A thick layer of mulch helps maintain soil moisture. Affected tomatoes are still edible. Just cut away the blackened portion.

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Q&A: Dead Spots on Lawn

Question: My fescue lawn has numerous dead spots throughout. What might be causing this problem, and how can I remedy the situation?

Answer: The first thing to rule out is if the problem is being caused by neighborhood dogs who visit your lawn. Dog urine can cause brown spots. Some tall fescues are susceptible to brown patch. Conditions favoring the disease include hot, humid weather; overly wet, overfertilized lawns; and a thick layer of thatch. You can reduce the chance of future outbreaks by watering deeply and infrequently, and allowing grass to dry between waterings. Also, you might want to aerate the lawn to help break down the thatch. Be sure you are not overfeeding with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer. You may also want to test your soil to check levels of calcium, phosphorus, and potassium, since improper levels of these nutrients can encourage the disease.

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Tip: Garden Safely

Nearly 40,000 gardeners visit the emergency room each year. To avoid injury and other dangers, be cautious with chemicals and natural products that carry potential risks; use a ground-fault-interrupter plug or adaptor with electrical tools; wear clothes that accommodate the weather as well as protective gear such as gloves; stretch before strenuous activity; be mindful of repetitive motions that strain muscles and joints; stay hydrated; and take frequent breaks. Be sure to keep your tetanus vaccination up to date too.

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Tip: Foil Tomato-Eating Critters

If birds and squirrels are getting to your ripe tomatoes before you get a chance to harvest them, pick the fruit as soon as it begins to change color and let it finish ripening indoors.

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