Gardening Daily Tips August 4

Thursday August 4, 2011

Beautybush (Kolkwitzia amabilis)

Today’s Featured Plant
Beautybush (Kolkwitzia amabilis)

Read the full profile of this plant at

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Q&A: Roses

Question: We have a rose garden and I add bone meal to the roses so they will grow big and healthy. Stray dogs keep digging up my roses. I searched the web and found a site that told me to sprinkle chili powder around my roses to keep animals away. Now it has rained and the chili powder has sunk into the ground. Will my roses be bothered the powder? Hopefully they don’t smell like chili!

Answer: Thankfully, the chili powder won’t affect your roses in any way at all. Dogs, cats and other critters are attracted by the odor of the bonemeal. So when you apply it, try digging it into the soil so it won’t be so obvious to neighboring dogs. Or, temporarily put a screening barrier over the soil. I’ve anchored old windowscreen over freshly applied bonemeal but you may be able to use chicken wire if that’s more readily available. I use garden stakes to anchor the screening material down. Dogs try to dig but when they are not successful they usually go elsewhere. You might give this method a try. Good luck with your roses.

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Q&A: Pruning Lightning-Damaged Maple

Question: I have a 20 year-old red maple tree that was struck by lightning last fall. It took off half of a rather substantial limb of the tree, but it still appears to be alive and well. Should I apply a compound to the wound or cut the limb of the tree?

Answer: If the wood is splintered, the best approach would be to remove the limb. A raggedy wound won’t completely heal and a falling limb at some later date might do substantial damage to property or injure someone. If only a portion of the limb is damaged, you may be able to cut away the damaged part so the tree can close and heal the wound. You may want to enlist the services of a licensed arborist to evaluate the tree. They can also do the actual work, which can be hazardous if you are untrained or poorly-equipped. Whether you remove the entire limb or just the damaged part, don’t use a wound dressing. University studies show that wound dressings do not aid in healing, and in some cases can actually interfere with the healing process. Trees have the ability to compartmentalize damaged tissue and then callous over the wound. Hope your tree doesn’t suffer any long-term effects from the lightning strike!

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Q&A: Dried Flowers Used in Crafting

Question: I want to plant my own flowers to dry for use in crafting. Can you name approximately 5-10 commonly used crafting flowers?

Answer: Here are a few to start you off: Yarrow (Achillea fillipendula), Cockscomb (Celosia cristata), Chinese Lantern (Physalis alkekengi), Globe Amaranth (Gomphrena globosa), Starflower (Scabiosa stellata), Heather (Calluna vulgaris), Love-lies-bleeding (Amaranthus caudatus), Strawflower (Helichrysum bracteatum), Honesty (Lunaria annua), and Immortelle (Xeranthemum annuum).

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Tip: Watch Out for Azalea Lace Bugs

Keep an eye out for azalea lace bugs, as the second generation of these critters usually appear in late July to September. Both adults and nymphs suck sap from the undersides of the leaves, causing stippling or blanching on the upper leaf surface. Yellowing and leaf drop may signal severe infestation. When treatment is called for, make three applications of insecticidal soap at three- to four-day intervals, always spraying the undersides of the leaves for complete coverage.

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Tip: Harvest Sweeter Melons

Water melons deeply once a week as the vines grow; then, hold off irrigating melons for two weeks before they ripen so their sugars will concentrate.

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