Gardening Daily Tips June 26

Sunday June 26, 2011


Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum)

Today’s Featured Plant
Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum)

Read the full profile of this plant at ArcaMax.com.

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Q&A: Lantana

Question: How do I prune a lantana?

Answer: Lantana will take any amount of pruning. If yours is the creeping or sprawling kind you can prune it back to within two feet of the main or center stem of the plant. If yours is the upright shrub type, you can prune it down to about 3′ tall and 2′ wide. Either will come back strong this summer.

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Q&A: Small, Crumbly Raspberries

Question: The raspberries on one end of our patch are small and crumbly, although the foliage appeared to be normal. The other end of the patch receives the same light, soil, and water, and these berries are large and juicy like normal. Should I destroy the canes with small berries? What could it be, and is it contagious?

Answer: It sounds like your patch is suffering from the aptly named crumbly berry virus, or perhaps another similar virus. Raspberries are especially prone to viral diseases, which is why it is very important to purchase certified virus-free stock when planting a new patch. Crumbly berry disease is caused by the tomato ringspot virus and spread by the dagger nematode. Plants may appear normal but will produce small fruit that falls apart when picked. This is a result of the failure of some of the drupelets in the berry to develop. This virus has a wide host range including many weeds, such as dandelion. Unlike some viruses, the organism can live for years in dead plant material, so when you remove the infected canes, get as much of the roots, crown, and canes as you can and burn or bury them. The virus is spread by aphids, so if you noticed these pests on your healthy canes last year, be aware that they may have infected more of your patch. As a safeguard, you can order new, disease-free stock this year and plant it at least 200 yards from your current patch, so you won’t have a break in harvest if your current patch is affected this year.

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Q&A: Japanese Beetles on Roses

Question: How do I control the Japanese beetles that are eating all my roses?

Answer: Japanese beetles are a difficult pest to control. Your best bet is a two-prong approach: one to deal with the larvae, one to deal with the adults. Japanese beetle larvae are the white, C-shaped grubs you find in the soil. They are best controlled by spraying beneficial nematodes on the lawn and garden area. The microscopic, worm-like nematodes harm only the grubs in the soil and not plants, animals or humans. Spray them in spring when the temerpatures are above 55F and you should see a difference this summer. For adult beetles, try handpicking combined with a neem oil spray. Avoid using Japanese beetle traps. In some cases, it appears that they actually draw beetles to them from the surrounding area — and you don’t need to be attracting extra beetles!

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Tip: Make More Shrubs with Cuttings

By late June, the new growth on shrubs should be perfect for taking cuttings. Propagate roses, spirea, hydrangea, azaleas, and any number of other woody plants by selecting semi-mature wood and taking a cutting about 3 inches long. Remove all but a few leaves, dip the cut end of the stem into a rooting hormone powder, and stick several cuttings in a large pot filled with growing medium. Place the container in a shady location and cover loosely with plastic to keep moist. When rooted, transplant cuttings to individual pots and gradually adapt plants to normal growing conditions.

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Tip: Water in the Morning

Water plants in the morning, including lawns, so foliage has a chance to dry before nightfall. This will help prevent leaf diseases, most of which need moisture to spread.

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80 Comic Strips Now Available by Email!

ArcaMax has added dozens of new comic strips to its Comics page, including Archie, Hi and Lois, and 77 others. Subscribe to as many as you like via email, and start your day with a laugh!

Visit the Comics page and subscribe or read online right away.

— From the ArcaMax editors

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Today’s Reader Submitted Photos

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