Gardening Vivian | 24 Dec 2010 09:13 am

Black Spot Control – Start Treatments Early

The large-flowering chrysanthemums which were set out in March or April and should be 6 or 8 inches high by now may be cut back within 3 or 4 inches of the ground. If you wish to increase your stock root the tips which you removed. In the Middle South most chrysanthemum hobbyists now agree that the period May 20 to June 10 is the best season for putting out cuttings of the large flowered, exhibition type varieties. Freshly-rooted cuttings planted during this period will establish themselves and develop into more vigorous plants sooner than those planted in early spring.

Garden type chrysanthemums should be planted early, but successful planting is possible as late as the end of June. Early planting gives more time for growth and, with several successive pinchings, a heavy, bushy plant, which will bloom heavily, develops.

Roses bloom in January along the Gulf Coast, but through the Mid-South there is practically no bloom during the winter months. There may be some bloom in April, but May is the first big rose month of the season. With the exuberance of lush spring growth it is easy to forget that black spot will surely creep in, unless we apply a good fungicide regularly.

Injurious insects are so few that the rose grower should have little trouble controlling them with a good spray. It is black spot that is many growers great rose enemy. I have to fight it constantly. I have found that if I start the treatments early, using a good fungicide each week until hot dry weather arrives, I obtain good control.

Layering, both mound and air-layering, can be done this month. Air-layering is easily handled and is one of the most interesting of all garden practices. Try it on some of your hard to root plants.

Questions of the Month

Question: Please tell me how to keep my poinsettias, growing in pots outdoors, from getting too tall. I would like to have stocky plants that will give several blooms per plant.
Answer: To encourage stocky growth, prune the poinsettias back to within 4 or 5 inches of the top of the pot about the last of June. S

Question: The leaves of my gardenias have turned yellow. They are grown in shade and normally have good color. What is the trouble?
Answer: This condition may be due to an iron deficiency. Try spraying the plants with a solution of l tablespoonful of powdered iron sulfate to a gallon of water, and then watering them with the same solution; about a month later use one of the iron chelates, following the recommendations on the container.

Question: My lawn was a lush green all winter but now seems to be dying out completely.- What has happened?
Answer: Perhaps your lawn is rye-grass, an annual that dies out when the weather gets hot in late spring. It must be replanted every fall.

Question: There are great numbers of cot- tony-looking insects on the stems of my azaleas, principally in the axils of the small branches. What are they, and are they harmful.?
Answer: l believe they are either soft scale or cottony aphids, either of which will kill your plants if not checked. You should kill the aphids on houseplants before they kill your plants. For control use one of the lindane-malathion spray preparations. Two or three spraying at two-week intervals may be necessary.

Question: The blooms of some of my hemerocallis are lovely in early morning but look sick and limp by midday. Why is this?
Answer: Some day-lilies do not hold up in full sun. Try moving these clumps to a partially shaded location.

Question: When is the best time to apply a weed killer to destroy honeysuckle and poison oak?
Answer: This should be done right now, when the plants are in heavy, lush growth.

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