Historical Summer Weather brutilize Horticulturists and Gardeners

On June 6th the Summer of 2010 began to show her true colors.  Now, 70 days later, most plants, lawns and people who work outside are showing the effects of the hottest summer in more than thirty years. From a horticulturists perspective, I have seen symptoms of plant stress of which have been long forgotten. Pest infestations have been very atypical. I will venture out into my home landscape today to evaluate plant roots. The tops of most plants are either burnt or off-color. If the roots look good,  then we can revive almost all plants in the next 30-45 days. I would suggest early morning watering totalling one inch of moisture per week. A light fertilization with a quick release, low nitrogen fertilizer should help. Watch out for Fall Army Worms on Bermuda grass and occasionally Zoysia.  Off color, generally thinning of the turf is a good indicator. Two tablespoons of dishwater detergent in a gallon of water as a drench will quickly bring the worms into view. Treat with a general Turf insecticide which is labeled for Fall Army Worms at the recommended rate. Turf weeds have been epic this year. Unfortunately, with the daytime temperatures over 90 degrees, chemical control has not been available. Frequent mowings to thicken up turf should help crowd out some weeds. When daytime high temperature do not exceed 90 degrees, chemical weed control can resume. Thankfully, the extreme heat has not allowed the Whitefly and Lacebug populations to become a problem. As the weather cools, the species may make a comeback in a hurry. I will control with Horticultural Oil. This should help control not only the whiteflies and lacebugs, but also the Scale insect populations which are EVERYWHERE. Containerized plants have really taken a beating. With the soil above ground, the temperature of the soil surrounding the plant roots is very high. Root damage is high. Root stimulation by repotting and proper watering should help. Days are getting shorter. Fall and Spring plants are setting flower buds. Be carefull when trimming to not cut to hard. You will be cutting off these flower buds. Take you soil tests in September. If you require lime, Apply in November. It takes between three and six months to adjust the soil ph. I,m sorry for the lapse in blog intervals. Most days , after be assaulted all day by the heat, I was not up to blogging. Keep you questions coming in on our website. Yours in planthood, SMS.

Welcome to the jungle!

Trim, prune. My maintenance crews dream of it. Plants are hardening off from the Spring flush of growth. If you can wait even two more weeks, that will be a great time to prune. If you have overgrown plants, don’t hesitate to renovate these by selective hard pruning. If you do not have the tools, the knowhow or the debris disposal capabilities, then call us. With the rain and humidity in , we have fertilized the warm season turf. We used 10-0-26 this year per our soil tests. Depending on the weather, we will do again in about 60-75 days. Azalea Lacebug, Camellia Scale, and Spider mites are flaring up now. I am using a combination of Orthene and Horticultural oil at the Summer rate and achieving good control. As we approach the Summer solstice, weed pressure will be at its greatest. Use the correct product and watch your drift to non target species. Enjoy your Memorial Holiday, yours in plantdom, SMS.

May showers bring June flowers?

Today we trenched in an irrigation system. The soil is as dry as beach sand. The weather extremes are significant. Global warming, the end of our species? Continue to water your trees and shrubs deeply once or twice per week. Warm season turf (Bermuda, Zoysia, Centipede) have already gone back dormant in unirrigated areas. If you don’t mind the look, and you don’t want a large water bill, leave the water off the lawns. They should recover quickly when and if it starts to rain again. Fescue is another matter. Without lots of water almost daily, Fescue is done, toast, don’t light a match! All people should do a rain dance at least daily until further notice.

Beautiful weather, but dry.

Another spectacular day in NC. Please rain!

spring pruning, is it time?

With all the Winter rain from the El Nino weather system, plants are exploding with new growth.  If you want to maximize your pruning effort, wait until the Spring flush has ‘hardened off’. This term means the soft, tender growth matures into a hard leaf. This will typically be the end of May of early June. If  your landscape starts to look shaggy, resist the earge to prune right now. Remember , the flowers which have already been pollinated and are now fruit are visible on the plant. If you want late summer and fall fruit, do not prune off all these small green fruits. In addition, if your plants are flushing out well and appear vigorous, do not fertilize. This is not good for the plant or the environment. Have a pleasant afternoon.

Irrigation tips for springtime

After an El Nino Winter weather pattern of above average rainfall, we are settling into a dry spring. The National weather service is calling for a hot summer. No comment from the weather service on predicted rainfall. Vegetation seems not to be suffering as of yet. Turf is showing stress. Cool weather species are going off color in the afternoon due to wind and low humidity. Perhaps a ten minutes pulse of irrigation at 1:00pm and again at 3:00pm will help. The warm weather turf species I’m not concerned about. When it becomes humid or starts to rain , they will green up. Try to avoid the urge to do a lot of watering now. Things are dry ,but not critical. Maximum water to landscape should be 1″. Do not fertilize until weather stabilizes.

Azalea Lacebugs are hatching!

Be ready. I’ve already seen adults on Southern Indicas.  Ultra fine horticultural oil will be my first choice this year.