This is the Q&A for the Yard and Garden show for April 7, 2017. 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 28, 2017. 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 Hosts: Jonathan Larson, Extension Entomologist from Douglas-Sarpy Counties & Jody Green, Extension Entomologist from Lancaster County
1. The first question was to see if we could guess the caller’s favorite insect that was described as a moth with large, light green wings and feathery antennae?
A. This is a luna moth
2. A caller has moles in the yard and wants to know how to manage them?
A. A harpoon type of trap can be used, but should be prepped ahead of installation. This trap tends to work best if you stomp on a run to determine if it is an active run. If it gets pushed back up, it is an active run. Stomp on this area a couple of more times and then set the trap to ensure the mole moves through the area. For more information on moles, click here for a publication from UNL on moles.
3. This caller wants to know how to get rid of creeping charlie in a lawn?
A. Triclopyr or a 2,4-D product can be used in the fall. For best control, use the product twice in the fall 2-3 weeks apart. September 30th and October 15th would be good dates for application. This is a tough weed to control, so it will take multiple years of multiple applications. A spring application of either of these products can be used as well to knock the weeds back for this year.
4. When can you transplant daylilies? Can they be planted into an area on the east side of the house with rock mulch?
A. Wait a couple of weeks until mid-late April to transplant them when the temperatures have warmed up more. Also, as long as the area is receiving at least 6 hours of sunlight daylilies will grow fine. This is a tough plant that will grow well in most conditions.
5. A caller has strawberries that had botrytis last year. When should they be sprayed to prevent the disease this year?
A. Apply from 5-10% bloom until flowers have finished blooming. For more information see the Midwest Small Fruit and Grape Spray Guide from Midwest Universities including UNL.
6. This caller has a pear tree that last year had orange spots on the leaves later in the season. What is this and how can it be controlled?
A. This is due to a rust disease, Cedar-Hawthorn Rust. It is more common in years following a wet spring. The timing for management is in the spring, May and June. See this NebGuide on Cedar-apple rust and related rusts of apples and ornamentals.
7. A caller has started corn, watermelons, and cantaloupe indoors from seed. The seedlings are getting quite large. Can they be transplanted outdoors now?
A. Unfortunately it is still too cold to plant these crops outdoors. These are warm season crops that should not be planted until early May after the frost-free date. These crops could be direct seeded at that time or transplanted but they tend to not do well as a transplant.
8. A caller has 2-year-old rhubarb plants that have come up and have thin, limp stalks. What is wrong with the rhubarb?
A. This could be due to crown rot. Rhubarb is very sensitive to high moisture soils and will often develop a crown rot in these situations. Those plants that have limp stalks should be removed and you can replant in a new location where it has more well-drained soil.
9. When and what should you spray for bagworms?
A. May-June is the time frame for treating bagworms. It is best to spray them when the new bags are 1/2-1 inches long. Longer than that and they won’t catch as much of the pesticide to die as well. For spray choices, any general insecticide will work, but using Bt would be the least damaging to other insects because Bt only affects insects in the Order of Lepidoptera which includes butterflies, moths, and skippers.
10. A caller has Asparagus that has a green moss-like structure growing on top of the ground around it. What is it and what can they do for it?
A. A picture would be helpful in identifying this pest. If it is actually a moss, they may look into the water in the area because it is likely that it is too wet. If it is a weed, pull or hoe the weed and then add a layer of mulch to prevent further weeds from coming in.
11. This caller wanted to know what to do to grow bigger onions and if they should put Epsom salt on their tomatoes to help them grow more?
A. These onions are growing 3 inches apart, they should be spaced out more for larger sized onions. Place plants or sets 1-6″ apart in the rows, and 12-24″ between rows. For bulb production, plant onions in early spring. The number of leaves that form prior to bulbing determine the ultimate onion size. Since bulbing in each cultivar is triggered by a specific daylength, early planting is the most effective method of increasing bulb size, by allowing more time for leaves to form. If the onions do not grow well before bulb induction, the final bulb size may be smaller than desired. Avoid sets more than ¾ inch in diameter because they are likely to produce seed stalks.
As for the Epsom salt on tomatoes, no you should not apply this to your soil when you plant tomatoes. Our soils have a sufficient amount of magnesium and sulfate, which are the 2 ingredients in Epsom salt, so there is no need to apply more. If you need fertilizer, use a general fertilizer from the nursery or garden center.
12. A caller has a Japanese maple that was injured last May when the leaves curled up and fell off. The leaves never regrew through the summer last year. Will it come out of it?
A: If it happened that early in the year last year and didn’t put on new leaves, it may be dead. Give it time this spring to green up. You can check if the tree is still alive by scraping the bark on a branch, if there is green underneath it is still alive, if there is brown it is dead.
13. What can you do to manage windmill grass?
A: Windmill grass is a perennial weed. You can use roundup and overseed or use a product containing mesotrione or Tenacity that will not harm your turf. Use the Tenacity in the late spring.
14. This caller wanted to know what to use for a pre-emergent herbicide in a strawberry patch?
A: Preen that is labeled for use in a vegetable garden would be allowed in a strawberry patch. The best control for weeds in strawberries would be to use mulch.
15. Can you use plants to repel insects?
A: Some plants may deter a few insects for a short time, but no, the plants are not concentrated enough to work against the insect pests.
16. A caller has an arborvitae that turned brown on the North side last fall. Will it be ok?
A: This could be due to bagworms or due to environmental stress. Arborvitae trees don’t like the sudden cool down in the fall and it can cause part or all of the plant to die quickly. Unfortunately, if the tree has turned brown all the way back into the trunk, the tree will not regrow on that section. Removal and replacement may be a better option for this plant.
17. This caller wanted to know when they can reseed their lawn and with what?
A: Mid to late April is the best time to reseed a lawn in Southeast Nebraska. Reseed with 100% Turf-type tall fescue or 100% Kentucky bluegrass or a 50% mix of each.
18. A caller asked what to do about squash bugs in their vegetable garden?
A: Fall sanitation and cleaning up the garden will help a lot to reduce the eggs in the soil around your garden. When they do start coming out in the summer, you can use sevin, eight, or bifenthrin to control them. You will have to spray every 10-14 days through the growing season. Watch the Pre-Harvest Interval to know when you can harvest after spraying a chemical on your plants. You can also smash or remove the eggs you see which are tiny, football-shaped bronze colored eggs on the underside of the leaves typically found in the crotch of the leaf veins.