Gardening Daily Tips 117

Plum, Purpleleaf (Prunus x cistena)

Plant type: Shrub

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3b to 7a

Height: 72″ to 96″

Spread: 72″ to 120″

Exposure: full sun

Bloom Color: Pink, White

Bloom Time: Early spring, Late spring, Mid spring

Leaf Color: Purple

Growth Rate: average

Moisture: moist

Soil Condition: Acidic, Clay, Loamy, Neutral, Sandy, Slightly alkaline, Well drained

Form: Rounded

Landscape Uses:

Specimen

Special Features:

Attractive foliage, Not North American native, All or parts of this plant are poisonous, Fragrant flowers, Blooms are very showy

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Q&A:

Question: My bean seedlings came up quickly, but without any leaves. What’s wrong?

Answer: This is a condition called bald heading. Sometimes it happens when insects in the soil damage the seeds, but it can also occur when seeds are planted too deep, especially in heavy soil. The young leaves are ripped off as the seedling pushes its way through the heavy soil. To prevent this problem, make sure your seedbed is well prepared, with rocks and large clods of soil removed. Plant seeds on the shallow side (1 inch deep), especially if your soil is heavy. If you do get leafless seedlings emerging, pull them up and replant, since these damaged seedlings won’t produce.

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Q&A: Tiny Holes in Onions

Question: For the last few years, a tiny white worm has made tiny holes in my onion bulbs, causing the onion to rot. What is this insect and how do I control it?

Answer: It’s most likely the onion maggot, the larva of a small, black fly. The adult fly overwinters on crop debris and emerges in spring to lay white eggs on young onion plants near the soil line. The white larvae burrow into the base of the onion. Onion maggots like soils high in organic matter and cool, damp conditions. Avoid applying manure, compost, or even mulch in spring. Wait until the weather gets above 60F to topdress with compost and apply mulches. If using manure, apply it in the fall and till it in right away. Fall tilling also buries the overwintering pupae. During the growing season, remove and destroy infected onions immediately because the maggot can spread to nearby plants. Applying diatomaceous earth around the onion transplants can be effective, although you must reapply it after rain. Row covers placed tightly over an onion bed can prevent flies from getting to the plants, but in a badly infested area, onion flies can emerge, mate and lay eggs, all under the cover, so check periodically.

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Q&A: Transplants Not Growing

Question: How long do you leave the lights on in a greenhouse after it gets dark out? The seedlings I transplanted 4 weeks ago haven’t grown a bit, but otherwise they look OK.

Answer: Seedlings need several things to grow well. They need adequate light, adequate temperatures, adequate root run, and adequate nutrients. In a greenhouse, it is unusual to need supplemental light. (Even when grown exclusively under lights, most seedlings do fine with only 14 to 16 hours a day.) I am not sure why your plants are not growing, but here are some possibilities. First, if you transplanted very small seedlings into large containers, they may be busy rooting rather than growing tops. Another possibility is that the potting mix was unsuitable for some reason, or if they were rootbound before transplanting they may not have rooted into the new soil. Next, if the greenhouse is very cold, they may be waiting for warmer temperatures before they kick into high gear. Finally, it is possible that the transplanting and change in growing conditions shocked them sufficiently to stunt them.

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Tip: Cut Back Semi-Woody Perennials Carefully

Some of the plants we grow in our flower gardens are semi-woody perennials, also called subshrubs. These include plants such as perennial candytuft (Iberis), thyme, germander, lavender and perovskia. Prune them to remove the winter-killed stems, but never cut them back to the ground. Wait until you see the buds breaking before you trim them so you can see what made it through the cold.

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Tip: Celebrate Arbor Day by Planting Trees

Plan to celebrate Arbor Day by planting trees! Research what trees are best suited for your climate, and also for your particular landscape needs. In particular, make sure the trees’ mature size fits the site.

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