Yard and Garden: July 10, 2015

Yard and Garden Green LogoThis is the Q&A for the Yard and Garden show for July 3, 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: Jim Kalisch, Diagnostician and Extension Associate for UNL on East Campus

1. A caller has an unwanted tree growing into her shrubs. Can she use a little bit of Tordon on the stump? Or what can she use for a stump treatment?

A: Tordon is not labeled for use in a landscape setting. Tordon and many of the other products used on parking lots have varying degrees of solubility and will move with water to non-target areas and can cause damage. These products can move off of the parking lot to nearby greenspace and through the rootzones of trees to nearby plants causing damage and possibly death to your desired plant species. That is why these products are only to be used in the locations listed on the label, and not in your home landscape. Instead of using Tordon, a good alternative would be one of the brush killers that are found in many different formulations or Roundup that are labeled for use in our landscapes and won’t harm our non-target plants.

2. A gentleman wanted to know when the best time is for spraying his apple trees for insects found in the apples?

A: Anytime now would be a good time to apply Orchard Fruit Tree Sprays for coddling moth. If you continue to use these products for a few weeks, you will also be able to control apple maggots.

3. A lady has tomatoes that continue to get blight every year that causes spots on the leaves which eventually causes the leaves to turn yellow. She has heard that she needs to clean her tomato cages with bleach water to control the disease. Is this true? How can she control this disease in her tomatoes?

A: Early blight is very common in tomatoes this year due to all the rain we saw this spring. Fungal diseases are easily controlled with good sanitation practices in the garden. The fungal spores can be splashed in rain or overhead irrigation from the soil to the plant leaves and from leaf to leaf. Mulch will help to cover the soil where many of the fungal spores are present from previous years. Removing the leaves at the bottom of the plant when the disease begins to show up will reduce the spread as well. Irrigation should occur from below the leaves from a soaker hose or from drip irrigation rather than from a sprinkler to reduce the spread of these spores, too. Cleaning up the garden in the fall and rotating the crops each year will also help reduce the fungal spores found around the plants each spring. For more information, visit this NebGuide on Leaf and Fruit Diseases of Tomatoes.

mosquito4. A caller was curious what the best control methods for mosquitoes from the backyard for outdoor gatherings this summer would be?

A: Mosquitoes can be controlled for a few days by using a hose-end sprayer with permethrin or bifenthrin which have a longer residual than some other insecticides. These sprays need to focus on the shrubs and trees and tall grasses around the yard where the gathering will occur and they should only be done 2-3 days prior to the gathering. Aerosol foggers that contain pyrethrins can be used shortly before the party begins to help reduce mosquito populations as well. For the time of the gathering, tiki torches and insect repellents containing DEET will help reduce additional mosquitoes.

5. A gentleman has a 30 foot tall silver maple that has water collecting where a branch was removed. Is there anything that can be done to fix this issue and to stop the spread of decay in the trunk?

A: There is no way to stop the water from collecting. Concrete or spray foam should not be added to any holes in trees. Ensure that the best pruning cuts are made at the right time on trees to prevent this problem from occurring in the first place. A good pruning cut should heal over before water can begin to destroy the heartwood of the tree. Watch this particular tree for more signs of decay and dieback to know when it should be removed so that a dangerous tree is not left standing in a yard for a larger hazard.

6. A caller has something that is causing holes on the edge of her garden and lawn and around her shrubs. The holes are 5 inches wide and 6 inches deep. What would cause this?

A: This sounds like it might be a woodchuck. Here is some information on Woodchucks from the Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Prevention.

7. When is the best time to plant fall gardens?

A: Late July to early August.

planting fall gardens8. An email was recieved that asked about why there are such large numbers of snails this year in the lawn?

A: This year we had an extended spring with cooler weather than usual with very good plant growth, as a result of this we are seeing an increase in snails and slugs. We are seeing a great deal of damage to hosta leaves due to slugs. Slugs can be controlled with pesticides labeled for slugs or with a container of beer placed in the ground so the top of the container is at soil level. The slugs are attracted to the beer and will fall in and drown.

Don’t Forget

If you are a listener to the Yard and Garden show on KUTT 99.5 FM or online or if you are an avid reader of the blog Q&A, please fill out the 2015 Yard and Garden Survey. When you fill out the survey and put down contact information, you will be entered into a drawing for a gift of University of Nebraska-Lincoln goodies, including 2 shopping bags. Your information will not be redistributed or used for any other purposes than to improve the show and to pick a winner for the prize and your contact information is not linked to your answers. To complete the survey, go to: go.unl.edu/7cza

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