43 July 2, 2008

Well, the rain has kept up and as I thought, fungus diseases are showing up on all kinds of plants. Let’s make a list of things for you to check in your yard.


Many lawns have been hit with a fungus disease called red thread. Many of you will notice a pink haze over the lawn when you look at the lawn early in the morning. The pink haze is actually the strands of the fungus on your lawn. Red thread shows up with greater frequency on lawns that do not have enough fertilizer in the soil. It is actually a lack of nitrogen in the soil that makes it easier for the red thread to grow and spread. An application of lawn fertilizer will, in many cases is all that is needed to stop the growth of red thread. If the infestation is severe, you should treat the lawn with a fungicide. The fungicide will prevent the dieback of the lawn. The lawn usually will snap back from the die back caused by red thread, but the lawn will look yucky for a long period of time. If your lawn has red thread, make sure that the grass is dry before you cut the grass. Wet blades of grass make it easier for your lawn mower to spread the red thread to un-infected parts of your lawn.


Flower beds have been hard hit by fungus diseases too. Powdery mildew is running rampant in many gardens. Powdery mildew shows up as a white powder looking substance on the leaves of your plants. Leaf spot is showing up on impatiens and many other annual flowers. An application or two of a fungicide will stop and or prevent many of these fungus diseases on your annuals and perennials.


Vegetable gardens will also have their share of fungus diseases. Squash and cucumber plants are prone to powdery mildew. Leaf spot and blight is showing up on tomato and pepper plants. Again, an application of a fungicide should eliminate the problems before it has an adverse effect on your plants.


All of the rain will also mean that much of the fertilizer that is in the soil will be washed out of the soil. Any of the container grown plants that you have will probably need to be fertilized. This includes any of your hanging flowering baskets. Over the next week or so, be careful to not over water container grown plants. This is particularly true of any container that does not have drainage holes in the container. All of the rain will have formed a pool of water at the bottom of the pot. If you keep adding water, the roots of the plants will sit in wet soil and the roots will eventually rot away.


A final word for this week. The 4 Th of July is the usual time of the year for Japanese beetles to emerge from your lawn. They will be hungry and will head for your rose bushes and many other plants. Take the time now to set up your Japanese beetle traps and also keep an eye on your plants and spray with an appropriate insecticide to minimize damage to your plants.


Well, that’s all for this week. Have a Happy and Safe July 4th. I’ll talk to you again next week.

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