39June 3, 2015

It appears that we finally have received the rain that we have so desperately needed. I think that I hear all the plants applauding the arrival of the rain.

The rain is a welcome addition to our gardens. It does come with a problem attached to all the rain. When you get an extended period of rain and very cool temperatures accompany it, it is the perfect conditions for the rapid growth of fungus diseases. As soon as the rain stops, it would be advisable to apply a preventative spray of a fungicide to your plants. In your vegetable garden, susceptible plants would include squash, cucumber and tomatoes. In your flowerbeds, susceptible plants would include phlox, zinnias, annual vinca, bee balm etc. If you don’t get to apply a fungicide, you run a very high chance of disease attacking your plants.

All of the rain may have washed the fertilizer out of the soil in your gardens. This is particularly true in any of your container plantings. As soon as the rain stops, mix up some fertilizer and feed those plants. A lack of fertilizer in the soil can also be a contributing factor in your plants falling prey to plant diseases.

It would appear that the attack of the winter moth caterpillars is on the way out. Many people have asked if all the leaf damage means that they should cut the trees down. The answer is no. If you give some fertilizer to any of the plants that have been attacked by this caterpillar, the odds are good that the trees, shrubs and other plants will put out some new leaves. The new leaves can help your plants to make food that will help your plants to survive.

An extended period of rain will also mean the arrival of slugs in your gardens. Slugs feed at night. During periods of extended rain, you may even see them feeding during the day. Slugs will cut smooth edged holes in the leaves of your plants. Most insects will cut holes with ragged edges. If you see those smooth edged holes in your hosta and other plants, it is time to apply slug bait to your gardens. The slugs eat the bait and they will die soon after ingesting the slug bait.

Many of you had damage to your plants after the record winter snowfall. Many of you repaired the damage with screws or bolts. Now that the plants have leafed out and now that we have had a lot of rain and wind, it is time to check to make sure that the added stress of the wet leaves bouncing around in the wind didn’t caused those repairs to fail. If the repairs let go, you may have no choice but to cut off the damaged limbs. You might try to repair the plant again, but I honestly don’t think that any new repairs will have any better chance of working.

Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.

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