This is the Q&A for the Yard and Garden show for June 19, 2015. Yard and Garden Live is a call-in radio show I do on KUTT 99.5 FM from 10-11:30 am and it will run through July 31, 2015. It can also be found on kutt995.com for online listening. If you missed a show or just want to read through the questions, I have written them all in my blog and will continue to do so throughout the season.
Guest Host: Dick Campbell from Campbell’s Nursery in Lincoln, NE
1. A walk-in guest has ants in her house. How can they be controlled?
A: Liquid ant baits work best. One good choice is the Terro bait stations. Another helpful tip is to spray around the outside of the house on the outside of the wall where most ants are found. The little black ant and odorous house ant are common in homes right now.
2. A caller has Linden trees that are covered with moths right now. What can be done to reduce the populations for outdoor activities?
A: A contact insecticide spray will work for the moths, such as malathion. These products do not have a very long residual, so they need to be reapplied. However, be very careful with insecticides on linden trees and other flowering plants to not harm bees and other pollinator insects. Spray at dusk to avoid spraying the bees.
3. A gentleman has a snowball bush viburnum that just finished blooming for the spring, can it be pruned now?
A: Now that the blooms are fading from a spring bloom, it would be a great time to prune the shrub. It is best to remove the largest canes of the shrub all the way back to the ground, up to one-third of the plant in one growing season. Leave the rest of the canes as they are or remove a portion of their height, if necessary.
4. A gentleman has moths in large populations on his “bug zapper” every morning. Is he bringing the moths in? Should the “bug zapper” be moved from near his plants?
A: Moths are attracted to lights, but you aren’t bringing them in from far distances. You can move the “bug zapper” if it is near a regularly used door that causes problems with moths when going in and outside. They are not causing any harm to our plants.
5. When is the best time for grub control? And, is it past the time for crabgrass control?
A: Grub control is best done right now, during the third week of June. It is best to apply grub control when the adults are actively flying and mating. Crabgrass is still germinating, so crabgrass control can still be applied if none was applied earlier in the spring. If you do a split application of crabgrass control, now is a good time to do the second application for the spring.
6. A caller has a spruce tree that has been slowly dying for a couple of years, it has now lost 60-70% of its needles. If they remove the tree, will something else grow where that tree is removed?
A: Yes, the stump will cause no problems to a new plant. You may want to plant the new tree 5-10 feet away from the stump to avoid the root system, but otherwise no problems will occur. The needles on the ground may lower the pH of the soil, but in a clay soil, the amount is so low to cause no problems if not help the plant.
7. A caller is moving from one house to another. The house they are leaving has a great asparagus patch. Can that be transplanted to the new home?
A: It is best to move asparagus in the fall when it is going into dormancy. Asparagus will transplant well, but you will need to wait until the third season after transplanting before heavy harvesting can resume. A new plant would take the same amount of time and may be better suited for a moving condition to ensure it is planted at the correct time of the year.
8. A gentleman has a crabapple tree that he removed from a landscaping berm. Can he use Tordon on the stump to keep it from regrowing?
A: No! Tordon is not labeled for use in a landscape setting so it should never be used in a lawn or garden. This product can move out into the root system of other plants and it has a residual for up to 5 or 6 years where it can still cause problems to the neighboring plants. Be sure to always read and follow label instructions on all pesticides as the label is the law.
9. A caller has sweet corn that is tasseling but it is only 3 feet tall. What would cause this?
A: Some hybrids of corn are shorter. If that is not the case, it would be due to environmental stress. When a plant is stressed they may try to produce fruit sooner than they should for the size of the plant.
10. A gentleman has a 60-year-old spruce tree that is dying on the west side of the plant. What is causing this?
A: Look for white sap on the trunk which would be an indication of canker. This is likely due to environmental stress from the quick drop in temperatures last fall. Any branches that are dead can be pruned off and it should regrow new branches eventually.
11. A lady had a birch and 2 large maples planted last fall. This spring the birch is slow to leaf out and still has not leafed out on the top of the plant. What is causing this?
A: Birch trees face a lot of death in the first year after being transplanted. Scratch the bark of the branches to see if their is any green, live, growth or if it is brown and therefore dead. If it is brown, call the nursery to get a replacement tree planted.
12. Another caller also has 2 maples that were planted last fall and are dead on top. What is causing that? She also has hollyhock rust, is that too early to be seen?
A: They didn’t get enough root growth developed prior to the drop in temperatures last fall. If they have no green in the cambium layer, the caller should call her nursery for a replacement tree. As for the Hollyhock rust, that is due to the rainy weather we have seen this spring.
13. A caller has blue spruce trees that had flood water up and around their bottom branches for 2 days and are now turning brown. Will the trees come out of this?
A: Spruce trees don’t like too much moisture. However, don’t give up yet, give them time to come back and grow out of the problems from flood damage. It is too early to tell if these are long-term issues for the plants.