June 11, 2014
Our weather still seems to be bouncing from cloudy with showers to sunny and warm. All that being said, we did have a beautiful weekend.
The cool and showery weather has lead to an increase in fungus diseases on plants. Over the past few days, several people have come into the store and told us about issues with their lawns. Some people have reported a reddish – pink coloration on their lawn. This is a fungus disease called red thread. This disease occurs most often when the grass stays wet for extended periods of time. The disease is also most prevalent on lawns that need an application of fertilizer. You can treat the lawn with a fungicide if the problem is widespread through the lawn. Sometimes an application of fertilizer will help the lawn to outgrow the problem. If you have a sprinkler system, it is advisable to have the sprinkler system come on less frequently and have it set to come on early in the morning and not while it is still dark outside. Grass that is wet during the late night hours can lead to red thread developing on your lawn.
Lawns are not the only things that will develop fungus diseases. Be sure to check your vegetable plants, your annual and perennial flowers and your rose bushes for signs of brown or black spots. You may also see a white powdery substance on the leaves. In some cases the leaves may look like they have rust on the leaves. All of these things are an indication of fungus disease on your plants. If you do not treat your plants for these diseases, the disease will damage the plants ability to make food. Ultimately, the plants may die. Take some time this week to check your plants for signs of disease and make sure to treat your plants with an appropriate fungicide. If you do not see any signs of fungus disease, there are some good organic preventative sprays that you can use to prevent diseases from starting on your plants.
Rainy weather also favors the growth of slugs in your yard. Slugs only feed at night. When they eat, they leave holes in the leaves. The holes have very smooth edges. Hosta is one of their favorite foods. There is an organic slug bait that is very effective at controlling slugs. Since slugs are not insects, insecticides are not effective at controlling these pests. The sooner you get these pests under control, the less damage you will have on your plants.
Many of you have asked about using beneficial insects to control the “bad “ bugs in your gardens. We received our shipment of ladybugs and praying mantid egg cases. These predators will kill many insects that harm your plants. Ladybugs love to eat aphids. Praying mantids will eat pretty much any insect that is smaller than they are! Both are a good alternative to using pesticides on your plants.
Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.