Gardening Daily Tips July 2

Saturday July 2, 2011

Deutzia (Deutzia x lemoinei)

Today’s Featured Plant
Deutzia (Deutzia x lemoinei)

Read the full profile of this plant at

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Q&A: Controlling beetles

Question: I planted about thirty basil plants last spring that just about got devoured by beetles. The beetles are nocturnal, brown, and just about defoliated my foot high beautiful basil plants. It’s a little smaller than a Japanese beetle, and lacks the blue-green head coloration. Is there anything I can do about this for next season?

Answer: The pest that is feeding on your basil is most likely the Asiatic garden beetle. This native of Japan and China was first found in the US New Jersey in the 1920s. It is now found commonly in the northeastern states as far west as Ohio and as far south as South Carolina. These reddish brown , hump-backed beetles are about 3/8-inch long. They hide in the soil during the day, coning out at night to feed on a wide variety of plants. They overwinter in the soil as grubs that feed on the roots of grasses and weeds in spring, then emerge as adult beetles to feed on the leaves and flowers of a wide variety of vegetables, flowers, herbs and fruit plants from late June through August. They are very attracted to light and often congregate on door and window screens in large numbers at night. To find out if these nocturnal insects are the ones damaging your plants, go out at night with a flashlight and check your plants. You can also shine your flashlight at the soil and, if the beetles are around, they will be attracted to the beam of light. To protect vegetables and herbs, cover your plants with floating row covers. Secure the row cover around the bed by burying the edges in the soil. This works as long as you aren’t planting in weedy soil where the larvae may have overwintered. To control the adults, spray with pyrethrins . Or try catching them with a light trap. Hang a light bulb about 6 inches above a container of soapy water on the ground. The beetles that are attracted to the light will stumble into the water and drown.

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Q&A: Racoons in Vegetable Garden

Question: How can I keep racoons out of my raised bed garden?

Answer: Raccoons are little devils in the garden. You can try some home remedies such as playing a radio all night in the garden, spraying repellents on the plants, sprinkling human hair and/or talcum powder in the garden, or laying down some chicken wire (presumably they don’t like to walk on it). All may work for awhile, a long time, or not at all. If these don’t work, the best bet is a secure fence.

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Q&A: Removing Ivy from Trees

Question: Is it harmful to a tree to have ivy climbiing it? Many of our neighbors have ivy growing up their trees, and it looks nice, but my mom thinks the ivy will kill our tree. Will it?

Answer: Ivy can cause all kinds of problems when it is allowed to climb up tree trunks. It can hold too much moisture against the bark, leading to rot. It can cause splitting of the outer bark of the tree due to the shear force of the growing vines. If it’s allow to climb up very far, it will become heavy enough to cause stress to the tree and it can act as a sail, catching wind and pulling a tree over. Add this to the potential of strangulation and girdling, and the facts indicate it is wise to remove ivy from the tree. At a minimum, cut enough ivy away to expose the flare of the trunk of the tree where it meets the ground. It would be even better to remove the ivy within several feet of the trunk. After removing the roots and cutting the vines at ground level, pull what you can from the tree. This might mean that you’ll have to cut the intertwining vines and pull them off in pieces. Anything you can’t reach to remove (including the disc-like pads), will eventually weather away. Don’t worry too much about removing the pads – they won’t produce new plants. And, unless a piece of an ivy vine has gotten a foothold in a crevice or other moisture holding spot on the tree, the vine should die off after being cut at ground level.

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Tip: Spruce Up Daylilies

Daylilies get ratty looking after the first bloom has faded. Remove dead flower stalks and loose, dry foliage at the base of the plant, and rake fallen debris from between clumps. Fertilize around the base of the plants lightly with a slow release product and water deeply.

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Tip: Grow Vegetables in Containers

Don’t have room for a full-sized vegetable garden? You can grow most edibles in containers for a summer-long harvest. Choose compact varieties for best results.

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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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