May 14, 2014
The nice weather got almost everyone in the planting mode. It’s nice to finally be able to get outside.
If you gave or received a flowering hanging basket this past weekend, keep in mind that those plants look so nice now, but if you don’t keep them fertilized, they won’t look good for long. You should be fertilizing those hanging baskets every 10 to 14 days with a fertilizer that will promote the formation of new flower buds. A blossom booster fertilizer will promote new buds and help to keep new leaf growth coming along.
As the leaves emerge on the trees, the winter moth caterpillar will begin to ravage the leaves of your trees. These caterpillars will feed for maybe 6 weeks and in that time, they can do major damage to your trees. Right now, the caterpillars will be really small, but their appetite will cause a lot of holes on your trees. You can spray the trees with a biological insecticide called BT. This insecticide attacks only caterpillars. An application of BT now and again in about 10 to 14 days will result in a huge decrease in the number of caterpillars attacking your trees.
Now that the forsythia bushes are beginning to lose their flowers, you should plan on cutting them back soon. All of your spring flowering shrubs can be pruned back after they are done flowering. If you wait until late summer or fall to prune them back, you will be pruning out the flower buds that will give you your flowers in 2015. Once the spring flowering shrubs are done flowering, you should also give them an application of fertilizer. This will help to promote new growth and help to get lots of flower buds forming for next year’s flowers.
Many perennials are shooting up quickly. Now is the time to get those plant supports in place. Peonies, in particular, are growing fast and soon they will be setting those huge flower buds. It is almost a ritual of early summer that once those flowers open, a rain comes along and the flowers flop to the ground. If you get the plant supports in place and the rains do come along during the flowering time, you won’t be missing that spectacular show that peonies put on each year.
Speaking of perennials, as the hostas begin to grow, you can count on slugs and snails doing damage to the hosta leaves. If you apply slug bait now, you can get the early generations of slugs knocked back. The longer you wait to control the slugs, the more generations there will be and the more damage there will be from all those hungry mouths.
Vegetable plants are beginning to appear in the garden centers. Keep in mind that tomato, pepper, cucumber, squash, eggplant and basil can be damaged by a frost. If you have jumped the gun on planting and the temperatures are going to drop below freezing, you must protect these plants by covering the plants. If you don’t protect them from the frost, you will be re-planting them.
Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.