Thursday, July 23, 2009

Mums - Diving And Plant Propagation

By Thomas Fryd

By now in the East you should know whether your chrysanthemums are dead or alive. Some springs you cannot help but wonder if there is such a thing as a hardy chrysanthemum. Those developed in northern areas such as Minnesota are not necessarily any hardier but are merely earlier blooming and thereby escape the early Northern freezes.

On the other hand it may be a good thing for them to die because new plants growing on a single stem are usually better plants, provided they are pinched after each three or four inches of new growth to make them bushy. You will also have much better foliage clear to the ground than when you allow them to grow as a compact clump of many stems.

If you have never tried it, dig up all of your mums and divide them, resetting only vigorous new shoots, one to a place and about 15 to 18 inches apart. Do not depend on a hard woody little stem if soft, succulent shoots from the roots are available. Some people prefer to take cuttings 2 or 3 inches long and root them in sand. If the cuttings are made from the tips of the stems that are succulent, they should root in ten days and be ready to plant in the garden where they are to grow. But pinch off that tip bud after each few inches of growth to make it branch as much as possible. You can keep this up until early to mid-July.

Spraying far Scale

Now is the time when you should start spraying with Malathion or other approved pesticides for scale insects on your lilacs, euonymus, Pfitzer juniper, and possibly cotoneasters, firethorn, and others. Mix up the materials at the strength recommended on the label and do a thorough job of spraying all the twigs and branches as well as the leaves. Just to play it safe... repeat again in two weeks time.

From now on you will have to watch your step when buying roses, shrubs like the orange jasmine shrub, and other plants from places that are not nurseries, but are merely handling plants as a side line. Since they probably know far less as to whether or not the plant is dead or alive than you do, it is up to you to protect yourself when you buy one of those jasmine shrub.

If the wood on the branches and twigs is all dried out or shriveled, better leave the plant in the store. Actually from now on you are better off buying potted roses, shrubs, and evergreens or those that are balled and burlapped. By potted we mean those that are grown in pots of varying sizes. These potted plants have much in their favor for they can be transplanted from their pots at anytime. They are all ready to put in your car: they are clean so that they are actually more convenient than the old fashioned balled and burlapped plants.

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