40June 1, 2017

The month of May has come and gone. The weather hasn’t been exactly what I would consider to be spring-like. On the other hand, we will soon be talking about how hot it has gotten. If you garden, you have to get used to the ups and downs of the weather.

A rainy and cool spring usually brings problems to our plants. The maple trees have developed black, circular spots on the leaves. This is probably tar spot. It usually happens when the leaves emerge during extended cool and rainy weather. There isn’t really anything you can do once it has started on the leaves. In severe cases, the leaves may drop off of the trees. I have seen years where the infected maple trees will drop most of their leaves. As long as this happens for only one year, the trees will survive.

Many plants are showing the early stages of fungus diseases. This will appear as brown or black spots on the leaves. The spots can be small or they can be large blotches. If there is a light infestation, you probably do not have to do anything. However, if the spots are continuing to spread, it is best to spray your plants with a fungicide.

Many people have come into the store to discuss how some of their late-blooming perennials are slow to grow this year. This may be a sign that the plants need to be fertilized. The plant that we have commonly seen this on is the hardy hibiscus. Under the best of circumstances, this plant is slow to put out new leaves. This year, they all appear to be sulking. If you keep up with a regular schedule of fertilizing these plants, they will often begin to put out a lot of new leaves.

You will want to keep an eye on your lawn for any sign of a pink haze that appears on the grass in the early morning hours. This may be the first indication of a lawn disease called red thread. This usually happens when we have cool and wet weather for an extended period of time. In many cases, a lawn that has not been fertilized will show the symptoms. In some cases, an application of fertilizer will go a long way in stopping this disease. On the other hand, you may need to apply a lawn fungicide to control this disease. In severe cases, this disease can cause the grass to die.

The two most common questions this past week are: “Is it too early to plant tomato plants? The weather has been so cold.” and “Is it too late to plant tomato plants? The weather has been so cold.” In answer to both questions; you can plant your tomato plants. They may sit in the ground and sulk on the cool days, but the soil temperatures are warm enough for the plants to grow.

With extended times of rainy weather, the fertilizer that your plants need to grow may be washing away in the rain. Your window boxes and other planters filled with flowers need to be fertilized on a regular schedule. Your vegetable plants need to be fertilized too. Remember that proper fertilization is important for plant growth. Proper fertilization also helps your plants to fight off diseases. Do your plants a favor and give them an application of fertilizer at planting time and fertilize them again on at least a monthly basis.

Well, that’s all for this week. There is still time to plant and we have plenty of plants in stock at our store.

I’ll talk to you again next week.

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