Sunday, August 2, 2009

Its Time To Inspect Your Azalea

By Keith Markensen

Examine azaleas and rhododendrons for signs of stem borer; sawdust at the base of the stems is a sure indication. Look along the stem for the holes which the borers have made and run a wire into them or squirt some malathion or Orthene into them. If the plants are not thrifty or fail to flower dress them with a mulch of well-rotted manure to which some superphosphate has been added. Do not dig this in, however, for the surface roots will be injured in the process.

Coldframes should be shaded during May to prevent burning the plants under the glass and to reduce the need for watering. This shade can be provided by sprinkling limewash on with a brush or by spraying it on. If you want the shading material to last, mix some salt with it. I have found that by turning over the coldframe sash and sprinkling the lime on the underside of the glass, the material lasts all summer and is easily removed when required.

Ventilate well all plants that are being conditioned for a shift to the garden. Give adequate protection to tender plants such as begonias, gloxinias, ferns, seedlings and cuttings.

The rapidity of spring growth demands that readily available plant food be present in the soil in quantity. This is particularly true for plants that mature and flower early. For bearded iris, peonies and Oriental poppies use a liquid fertilizer or apply a dry fertilizer such as 5-10-5 at the rate of 2 pounds per 100 square feet. But be sure to soak the soil after applying the dry fertilizer. The fast maturing vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, peas and radishes are better-flavored when grown quickly; they, also, will benefit from an application of plant food. And for fertilizing roses make sure to ask some gardeners for tips about rose fertilizer.

Feed the strawberries with a liquid fertilizer. Grapes and tree fruits of bearing age will benefit from an application of high-nitrogen fertilizer. The one generally used for this purpose is 10-10-10 applied at the rate of 1-1/2 pounds per vine for grapes or 3/8 pound per tree, depending on the size.

About the Author:

No comments: