Slog of wet weather brings on garden pests

It seems like the rain gage just keeps filling up. Garden plants love it, but pests like earwigs, pillbugs and slugs, do, too. Published May 27, 2011 Rebecca Finneran, Michigan State University Extension During cool, wet weather, slugs, pillbugs and earwigs gain momentum in the ideal conditions that exist not only in the organic debris around your garden plants, but lots of other places as well. Perusing through the garden I have found slugs on plants where I was least expecting them, such as Allium. An onion relative, Allium was not a plant I would think would be preferred food for this pest. Other plants like Hosta, Pulmonaria and soft-tissue annuals are prime targets for hungry slugs. Earwigs and pillbugs are serious plant eaters, too. Years ago, I remember telling people that earwigs posed no threat to the garden and were merely enjoying a good romp in the wood chips. Tell that to my coleus and marigolds, would ya! According to MSU entomologist David Smitley, European earwigs and pillbugs can be a big nuisance around homes, hiding out in moist shrub beds or leaf litter. Pillbugs also will flourish in flower beds where there is surface debris or mulch. Since earwigs feed mostly when gardeners are sleeping, they are not easily observed, Smitley noted. A common symptom is the tattered foliage of soft annuals such as sweet potato vine, marigold and coleus. Even containerized flowers and hanging baskets can be a target. Earwigs stealthily slither under the pots during the day then munch their salad bar all night. I have curtailed their feeding on container plants simply by placing...

Seed-heads in lawns

Seed-heads in lawns are a natural process that can’t be avoided, but keeping your mower blade sharp and applying fertilizer will help the lawn be healthy and good looking. Kevin Frank, Michigan State University Extension, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences Turf-grass producing seed-heads is an annual rite of spring. The cool spring temperatures have delayed seedhead production, but currently I’m observing seed-heads popping up in many lawns. The common lawn grasses, Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass and tall fescue all produce seed-heads, as do some grassy weeds like annual bluegrass (Poa annua). Seed-head production requires energy from the plant, so it is likely the turf will not only look stemmy due to the seed stalks, but the turf-grass may even thin out. Consider a fertilizer application following the seed-head flush to help the turf recover, especially if you haven’t fertilized yet this spring. Keep the mower blade sharp and don’t lower the mowing height to try and remove seed-heads. Annual bluegrass produces seed-heads below the 1/8-inch mowing height on golf course putting greens, so lowering the mowing height is not recommended. For those that think the lawn is going to be reseeded by the natural seed-head production, think again. Even if the seed was allowed to reach maturity – which would take about four months, time allowed to dry, and then harvested – you’d still need to make sure that seed would find a home in the soil in order to germinate. If you need to fill in some areas in your lawn, it’ll be easier to go buy some...

Herb Bowls… Now at Knapp Valley!

Add some flair to your recipes with Herb Bowls from Trillium Haven Farms… Kitchen Favorites Basil Chives Oregano Thyme Basil Sampler Genovese Thai Cuban Amethyst Tea Garden Peppermint Stevia Lemon Verbena Calendula Lavender International Lemon Grass Cuban Basil Lemon Thyme Vietnamese Coriander Curry Color Bowl Swiss Chard Dill Sage Amethyst Basil Nasturtium Herbes de Provence Savory Fennel Basil Thyme Lavender We also have individual herbs if you would like to plant your own herb...

A Judas Among Us

Driving down the country roads this week, it is hard not to be wowed by those beautiful trees with the purple branches. They reach out from the sides of the road and the edge of a stream shouting that spring has arrived. The flowers appeared before the leaves began to grow. You see them growing together in clusters in the wild as well as specimens growing in the landscape for those who are lucky enough to have one. It works well for “naturalizing” a landscape as it has a wilder quality about it than some of our more formal ornamental trees. The botanical name is Cercis canadensis and is also known as a Judas tree. Besides being known for its flowers, Redbuds are also known for their large heart shaped leaves. It is a member of the pea family and produces 3-4” long pea pods in the summer. These pods lead to reseeding in the immediate vicinity and contribute to the clustering nature of the trees in the wild. Another, striking feature is the color of the leaves as they turn yellow in the fall. The best location for redbuds is full sun to light shade with moist well-drained soil. It is adaptable to other soil types, but will not grow well in wet or poorly drained soil. Redbuds typically grow twenty to thirty feet tall and spread around twenty five feet wide. Take time to admire these fascinating...

Blooming Beauties

Wow, what an extraordinary spring day. After the slow cool start to the season, all the plants are anxious to get blooming. So much has popped out literally overnight. Many different trees and shrubs are blooming right at the same time and it is quite a treat. Let’s hope the weather cools back off so the flowers last long enough to really enjoy. Today many plants are in their glory. Forsythia are still blooming and even the early weeping cherries and magnolias still show color. Juneberries are winding down, leaving showers of white petals on the ground. Many daffodils are still out passing the torch to the tulips. The early PJM Rhododendron are in full bloom and the flowering pears are still quite a sight. Coming on strong just today are the Crabapples – mostly the pink varieties, followed by Redbud, Dogwood and Kwanzan Cherry. It is incredible to see all of these plants blooming at the same time. Also noted are Spicebush Viburnum, Lilac, and Japanese Pieris. It seems as though the leaves of the Norway Maples have grown full size in a couple of days. Creeping Phlox groundcovers are blooming in shades of pink and blue. Euphorbias are blooming yellow and Bleeding Hearts are calling out with their unmatched beauty. Even the Dandelions are having a “field day”. Spring blooming follows a different timetable every year as it follows the weather patterns. When it cools off, flowers persist. When it warms, the color parade marches on. Some years your favorite plant may bloom for two weeks. Other years it may only bloom for a few days. Take...
UA-78957805-1