July 11, 2012
It’s nice to see some cooler and less humid weather. I don’t know about you, but I am more likely to stay indoors during the hot and very humid weather. But even during the hot and humid weather, you need to check on your gardens to look for signs of plant diseases, marauding insects and just to check on the overall health of your plants. It is so much easier to correct problems on your plants if you catch the problem early on. Waiting until you see a lot of brown leaves or waiting until the insects have eaten most of the leaves makes it difficult for your plants to fully recover from the damage.
Many cities and towns have instituted some form of outdoor watering restrictions. In many cases it is watering only during the early morning hours and then again in early evening hours. Watering in the morning is beneficial to your plants. Plants will take up a lot of water in the morning. It allows them to have the water they will need to survive the heat of the day. Watering in the evening may be necessary if it has been an extremely hot day. There is one problem that is associated with watering during the evening. If the plants go into the cooler nighttime hours with wet leaves, the plants are very likely to develop fungus diseases. Given a choice, you should always water in the morning.
Watering your plants with a hand held hose nozzle is time consuming and in many cases, you are not going to get as much water on the plants as the plants will need to get through the day. Sprinklers can lose as much as 30 to 50 % of the water applied to evaporation. The best way to water gardens is to use soaker hoses. Soaker hoses emit tiny droplets of water through the surface of the hose. The water drips onto the soil and thoroughly soaks the soil. A soaker hose will emit enough water to soak an area 3 feet wide. Soaker hoses are laid out in the garden near the plants that you wish to water. The hoses can be held in place using garden staples. The staples are U shaped pieces of wire that go over the hose and are then pushed into the ground. The benefit of soaker hoses is that you only need a small amount of water volume to fill the hose. Ultimately, you run the hose for an hour or two but you wind up giving the garden all the water that it needs while saving you money on the cost of water. In times of water restrictions, soaker hose make a lot of sense when it comes to watering your gardens.
The Japanese beetles appear to have hatched out in record numbers. They are feeding on all kinds of plants and they are doing major damage. Many of our customers have told us that they have not seen this many Japanese beetles in a long time. You should have your Japanese beetle traps set up now and you should be treating your plants with an appropriate insecticide to control as many of the adults as possible. What it boils down to is the fewer beetles there are to mate, the fewer beetles there will be in the future. Try to get ahead of this garden pest. The eggs they lay will hatch out as grubs in the fall. These grubs will feed on your lawns’ roots. You can apply grub control in the fall and you can also apply a biological control called Milky Spore from now until the late fall. Attacking the Japanese beetle at all stages of its life is the best way to minimize future damage to your gardens and your lawn.
Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.