Gardening Daily Tips August 6

Saturday August 6, 2011

Iris, Siberian (Iris sibirica)

Today’s Featured Plant
Iris, Siberian (Iris sibirica)

Read the full profile of this plant at

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Q&A: Dwarf Alberta Spruce Trees

Question: I have four Dwarf Alberta Spruce trees running along my driveway. In areas of all four trees, the needles have begun to turn brown and are falling off. The trees receive water daily from an inground sprinkler system. What do you think is happening to the trees? Thanks for your reply.

Answer: I think you are probably overwatering too much. Overwatering causes root damage and that then shows as foliage symptoms. Overwatering can cause foliage loss especially from the bottom up, so that might well be the cause. The soil should be moist like a wrung out sponge, not sopping wet or saturated. To know if you need to water, use your finger to dig into the soil under the mulch and see. If it is still damp, you do not need to water yet. There is no set schedule for watering. In the spring you may not need to water very often since it is rainy and the ground is naturally wet. In late summer when it is hot and dry you might need to water more often, maybe as often as every four or five days. It is best to avoid daily watering in any case. When you water, water thoroughly and slowly so it can sink in and encourage deep roots. After you water, wait a few hours and then dig down to see how far the water went (or didn’t go).

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Q&A: Planting Potatoes

Question: I planted certified ‘Yukon Gold’ and ‘Caribe’ potatoes on 9/23/00 in zone 9. They were set in trenches aout 3 inches deep. How many days until they break ground? The conditions here are favorable.

Answer: Potatoes can take 2-3 weeks to sprout, depending upon soil temperature. Heavy clay soils can retard their growth (and also produce unattractive tubers). If you planted in a loose sandy loam, you can expect to see shoots most any time, now. Hope you have a terrific crop. p.s. If you’re really curious, dig up one of the potatoes to see what kind of progress it’s making.

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Q&A: Growing Gladioli

Question: My gladioli bulbs sprouted and produced flowers, but now the flowers are passing and I don’t know what to do. Should cut back the flower stalks? Will the plant bloom again?

Answer: Glads are spectacular when planted en mass. Each bulb or corm produces only one flower stalk, but each stalk produces several flowers which open in progression. Once the blooms are spent, the entire flower stalk should be cut down; it will not produce new flowers. Leave the foliage alone and it will wither and die down at the end of the season. After the foliage dies, you can dig your corms and store them. Gladiolus corms will produce flowers about 100 days after planting. You can prolong the blooming period by planting corms at 1-2 week intervals over a period of 4-6 weeks.

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Tip: Paint Garden Tool Handles

Paint the handles of small garden tools such as weeders, trowels, pruners and cultivators with bright red or orange paint, or wrap with colored electrical tape. Then they’ll be easier to find when you inadvertently set them down in the garden and forget where you left them.

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Tip: Prevent Cucumber Bitterness

Keep the soil around cucumber plants consistently moist to prevent cukes from developing a bitter taste. Remove any overripe cucumbers to encourage continuous productions.

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New Quizzes Every Sunday!

Test your knowledge with quizzes on everything from video games to Garfield with interactive Sunday quizzes in the ArcaMax Trivia ezine. New quizzes are being added, so be sure to try them all and see how well you do against your fellow readers!

The ArcaMax Trivia ezine has more fun facts throughout the week, delivered directly to you by e-mail with a free subscription.

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— From the ArcaMax editors

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