February 24, 2020

LADY GARDENER: Garden pests have arrived with the heat

Along with summer heat, garden pests arrive on the scene. In the last month, readers have been reporting damage from squirrels and rabbits as well as deer. Other pests that affect all gardeners are weeds and insects.

It’s frustrating to see weeds and poison ivy growing in the garden. After hours of work, they seem to reappear overnight. Carefully caged vegetables invite numerous animals to dinner.

Poison ivy has been especially tiresome this summer. Growing among pachysandra, it’s difficult to see until it towers over the surrounding foliage. I found one large cluster in a grouping of astilbe.

I won’t touch the poison ivy even with gloves. Occasionally my husband will come to the rescue but he’s usually busy with other garden chores. Our 13-year-old grandson earns spending money by helping but he, like me, is allergic to the plant.

One remedy I have used in the past is to mix a gallon of poison ivy herbicide, according to label directions, and paint it on the leaves with a paintbrush. This keeps the chemical in check and protects surround plants.

I also have a few techniques to control insects. A few insects on a stem can be removed by hand or by simply snipping the branch. Keep chemical use to a minimum. Spray only the targeted area and do not spray surrounding healthy plants and shrubs.

We are fortunate to have a significant frog population that keeps our garden almost free of insects. They hop underfoot and scurry to avoid the lawn mower. Outside the backdoor, I’ve placed a shallow bowl of water that attracts the frogs; however, we have to open the screen door slowly as not to harm the one that sleeps on the step.

Nut Sedge reappears every summer. This is the third summer I have treated the lawn with a chemical product specifically for nut sedge. As with any chemical, read the printed material especially the Do Not Spray list that includes vegetables, ornamentals, and garden flowers. If you feel you must spray, use it only on the lawn, not in the flower beds. When in doubt, call a professional service.

When applying any chemical, wear long pants, sleeves, gloves, and mask. If any chemical spills on your clothing, wash the item separately.

The Master Garden Display Garden, on the former State Hospital grounds, is absolutely beautiful. Visit any day. The garden is free and open to the public. Each garden has an identification box containing information sheets.

Take your camera, pen and notepaper to jot down the name of any perennial, annual, or shrub on your must-have list. In the gazebo garden, look for the limelight hydrangea covered in lime-yellow flowers. Nearby deep red hibiscus plants are truly magnificent. The all-American Selections garden features reliable plants available in area garden centers.

The new summer bulb garden, in its infancy, will be a highlight next year; however, it’s a good example how bulbs should be spaced for future growth.

My new email address has not been working, and I apologize to readers who have not receive a reply. I will answer your questions as soon as possible.

Garden dos the next two weeks:

n Check for fungi especially mildew.

n Thin thick clumps of flowers by pinching a few back to allow air circulation.

n Check out plant sales at local garden centers.

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LADY GARDENER: Garden pests have arrived with the heat

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