We all know the joy of plants can come at a price, whether it be a plant disease, fungus, or pest. We love growing and caring for our vegetables, shrubs and indoor houseplants, but one snail can ruin a plant in a very short span of time. If you’re not sure if you have a snail problem, or how to fix it, you’re in the right place.
With snails, most of the damage happens at night, when they emerge to feed. They prefer clipping tender, young shoots, but may chew irregular holes through leaves and flowers or feed on soft fruits and the bark of young plants. As they move around, snails leave a slimy trail that dries to a silvery film by morning.
Control of snails is a major problem in all habitats. There are many things that can be done to reduce the potential of a problem occurring. Eliminate (as much as you can), items that are sitting on the ground (as they are possible resting places for these slimy pests) such as boards, boxes, stones, debris, weeds, plants in pots that have runners on the ground or any other items that provide shelter. Reducing hiding places decreases snail survival.
A few options are available to kill the snails. You can treat for snails organically with Diatomaceous Earth or you can also rid yourself of snails chemically. Using a dust or solution that contains spinosad + iron phosphate can lure snails from their hiding spots. Bonide Slug & Bug Killer contains both of these chemicals AND prevents those disgusting slime trails! Just spread the pellets around your garden, landscape, or in your indoor plants and start to enjoy your greenery again!
Do you struggle each year trying to keep your lawn looking lush during the heat of the summer? If so, follow these tips to help your grass look its best.
Mow it High: By allowing your grass to grow longer by an inch or so more in the summer you cut down on water evaporation from the soil, grow deeper roots, and help shade the soil and cut down of water evaporation. Only mow 1/3 of the length of your grass at each mowing. Warm season grass should be mowed between 2” – 3” high.
Water Deeply but Infrequently: Lawns need at least 1 inch of water per week. It is best to water early in the day to help reduce evaporation and fungal growth. Frequent, shallow watering encourages grass to grow short roots, causing the grass to stress so be sure to water deeply but infrequently to encourage deep roots. Tip: place a small tuna can in your lawn to capture water while your sprinkler is on. When it measures 1” of water then you have watered enough – watch the time and this is how long you need to water each time.
Feed Regularly: There are conflicting points of view on whether to fertilize your lawn in hot weather. Within 6-8 weeks of feeding, nutrients in the soil need to be replenished to maintain a thick lawn. If you irrigate your grass then fertilization is most definitely helpful. The opposing point of view is that the increased growth results in additional stress on the lawn.
Control Weeds: Weeds compete with your grass for water – so start a weed management program to rid your yard of weeds. Use a selective weed spray on actively growing weeds and apply pre-emergent granules twice a year (Spring & Fall) to prevent weed seeds from germinating.
We hear this question daily. All plants – annuals, shrubs, perennials and trees need proper nutrients to grow, stay healthy and look good. But there are so many fertilizer choices it is easy to be discouraged and end up choosing the easy route – a slow-release fertilizer. Apply it once and be done with fertilizing for the season.
Sounds easy, right? While great for many plants (shrubs) it is not the best for your annuals and hanging baskets. They need more than a slow-release fertilizer can give them. They are best fed with a water-soluble fertilizer.
Water soluble fertilizers are fertilizers that can be dissolved in water and makes it is easy to control the precise amount of nutrients available to your plants. Soluble fertilizers usually have N-P-K numbers listed on their label. The N is for nitrogen, the P is for phosphorus and the K is for potassium or potash.
Of the 16 (12 of which are contained in water soluble fertilizers) known elements necessary for plant life, N-P-K, are the three that are of the most importance and always listed on water soluble fertilizers, in that order.
- Nitrogen is the most important of the nutrients and is essential to the production of chlorophyll and is responsible for leaf growth, as well as, overall size of the plant.
- Phosphorus is necessary for photosynthesis and provides for energy transfer within the plant and is associated with the fruiting or flowering stages of growth.
- Potassium, or potash, increases chlorophyll levels, helps plants make better use of light and air and increases growth by cell division.
The ultimate goal of fertilizing is to supply your plant with the right amount of nutrients. Applying a water soluble fertilizer to the annuals and perennials both in the ground and in containers every 7 to 14 days can make a remarkable difference.
Ultimately, your plants will only be as great as the care they receive, and while understanding the best fertilizer for the job may take a little bit of work, the rewards of healthier, longer-lasting plants is the pay off.
Weeds – We all hate them, but we all have them. I am going to share with you an easy way to kill weeds in your flower beds – it will work using either an organic or a chemical weed spray. If done correctly there will be no more crawling around in your bed pulling weeds, no more aching backs or ruined manicures.
What you will need: Your weed killer of choice mixed up in a sprayer, a large piece of cardboard and a helper. You will be spraying weeds in your flower bed, but don’t panic…..done correctly it will not harm your plants or shrubs – and here’s why.
The Secret: The poison is absorbed through the foliage of the weed – it travels down through the plant into the roots and kills it from the root up. Think of the spray as a bullet. If a bullet hits you – you die. If the bullet zings past you – you are unharmed. This works on the same principle.
The Fun Part: So step into your flower bed and use the cardboard as a barrier between you and your “good” plants. You can spray all around your bed by shielding your shrubs with the cardboard – this is where the helper comes into play. They can maneuver the cardboard around your plants while you spray the weeds. It doesn’t take very long to accomplish spraying even large beds.
This method is very effective on both nut grass and Bermuda grass along with other weeds. Over a period of time the number of weeds that reappear will decrease. If you combine spraying with broadcasting a pre-emergent weed killer throughout your flower bed quarterly you will eventually be almost weed free.
Tips and Hints:
- When mixing your poison add a spreader sticker to your sprayer. This helps the poison stick to the weed and not drip off onto the ground so more poison is absorbed into the weed and it is killed faster.
- Choose a non-windy time to spray to help prevent overspray from floating through the air to good plants.
- If you do happen to spray a good plant by accident wash it off with the water hose. The plant could be cosmetically damaged but the root ball of the plant will not be effected.
- Do not weed eat prior to spraying since the foliage is what absorbs the poison.
I’ve received numerous questions these past 2 weeks asking what is the powdery substance on my plants and what can I do about it. You will find it frequently on Crape Myrtles, Indian hawthorn, and roses – but no plant is immune. It is the most common and easily recognized plant disease and is both treatable and, more importantly, preventable by using a fungicide – preferably one that is systemic. The disease is caused by a fungus and is called Powdery Mildew.
Recognizing Powdery Mildew: It looks like powdery splotches of white or gray on the leaves and stems of plants. There are different types of the fungi but they all look the same.
What causes it: The fungi is everywhere – it overwinters in leaves on the ground and begins producing spores in the spring which are carried by wind and insects to your plant. High humidity seems to play a part in its growth.
What it does: Although unattractive it isn’t usually fatal to the plant. It will stress a plant and infected leaves will gradually turn brown and papery and often fall off prematurely. If buds are infected they may not open.
The Good News: Powdery mildew is host specific – meaning if it is on one type of plant it won’t transfer to another type of plant. For example: the powdery mildew on a rose bush will not spread to any other plant except another rose bush.
Treatment: Use of a systemic fungicide has been successful in treatment in the early stages of the disease and even more importantly in prevention of the disease. Fertilome Liquid Systemic Fungicide II with propiconazole is recommended for use on powdery mildew.
- Choose plant species that have resistance to powdery mildews. Some examples are the powdery mildew-resistant crape myrtles – most Indian names varieties are in this group.
- Don’t let years of leaf debris build up in your beds.
- Pruning or removing infected leaves or stems can help reduce the amount of the fungus.
- Poor airflow to plants seems to contribute to the problem also, so avoid overcrowding of plants in your landscape.