Monday, July 29, 2013

Phlox are hardy flowers, large with brilliant colors

Phlox is now blooming in my garden. It will bloom throughout the summer. It's one of my favorites because of its brilliant colors, size, and hardiness. We've had a drought for four weeks, but the flowers still are beautiful. 

Phlox paniculata 'Eva Cullum'
Clear pink flowers with a darker pink eye are displayed in large pyramidal panicles atop stiff, erect stems with abundant foliage. Especially remarkable when planted en masse, 'Eva Cullum' will bloom nearly all summer long. Its sweetly fragrant blossoms attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

Phlox paniculata 'David'
 'David' was named the 2002 Perennial Plant of the Year by the Perennial Plant Association.  What sets this Phlox apart from other non-award winning Phlox is the exceptionally large flower heads of pure white and mildew resistant green foliage.

Phlox paniculata 'Andre'
Phlox paniculata "Andre" is a blue violet flowers atop green, mildew resistant foliage.

For more information go to:

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Grape leafroll or curled leaf

White grape with leafroll or curled leaves
Neptune seedless grapes are the largest white grape. These grapes grow over an arbor in the back of our garden. They should ripen in August or early September. 

This relatively new variety produces big, juicy, highly flavorful grapes that resist cracking, even in adverse conditions. In conical clusters, they make beautiful additions to fruit baskets or centerpieces. Disease-resistant and cold-tolerant. Self-pollinating.

Grape leafroll disease

by Sara Ipatenco, Demand Media
Wine grapevines, Vitis vinifera L., are susceptible to many pests and diseases, but grape leafroll disease is one of the most devastating. Healthy grapevine leaves are vividly colored and flat. When grape leafroll disease attacks a healthy grapevine, it leaves behind curled and unsightly leaves. Several factors could be the cause of leafroll disease and must be identified before treatment can begin.

The symptoms of grape leafroll disease vary among different varieties, which makes it difficult to detect and diagnose early enough to save the plants and grapes. Visual symptoms are usually not detectable until late summer or early fall. In red-skinned varieties, leaf tissue turns dark red or purple and the leaves curl downward. In white-skinned varieties, the leaves turn yellow and curl downward. For both varieties, the veins of the leaves remain green. There is no way to cure grape leafroll disease, so management and prevention are essential.

Ten different viruses can be responsible for the development of grape leafroll disease. The viruses, named GLRaV-1 through GLRaV-10, are often spread when grapevines are propagated or grafted. In some instances of grape leafroll disease, a single virus is responsible for the damage. In other cases, a grapevine might be infected with more than one virus, which leads to more extreme and devastating damage.

Two species of mealybugs, longtailed mealybug and citrus mealybug, are known to transmit grape leafroll viruses among grapevines in California vineyards. Scales are another type of pest that can cause grape leafroll disease. As the pests migrate from grapevine to grapevine to feed, they take the virus with them, spreading it to healthy vines.

Additional Causes
The use of certain herbicides can lead to leaf curling, though this is not considered true grape leafroll disease. Nutrient deficiencies can also cause grapevine leaves to curl. If the soil where the grapevines are planted is deficient in potassium and phosphorus, the leaves might begin to curl. Amending the soil can remedy the problem and restore the health of the grapevines.

Management and Prevention
Remove branches and vines that have evidence of grape leafroll disease and watch for the presence of pests to catch the problem early. Prevention is the only way to keep grapevine leafroll disease away because there is no cure once the vines are impacted. Because most instances of grape leafroll disease are caused by propagation and grafting, new cuttings should be tested for viruses before they are introduced to other grapevines. Purchasing certified cuttings ensures that new grapevines are virus free.

Serviceberry, Shadbush or Saskatoon Berry - a member of Rose family

Damage looks like rust and poor water management
Four years ago we planted four serviceberry plants in hopes that they would serve as a barrier between two sections of the garden. We have not seen any significant growth nor have we gotten any berries.  This year their leaves are turning yellow long before fall.  They are also getting rust. 

Poor water management, poor drainage
Inappropriate watering commonly damages landscape plants. Inadequate water causes foliage to wilt, discolor, and drop. Prolonged moisture and poor drainage results in smaller leaves, dieback or limb drop, and susceptibility to root rots, mineral deficiencies or toxicities, wood-boring insects and other pests that eventually can kill plants. Excessive moisture smothers and kills roots. As roots die, discolored and dying foliage appears in the above ground portion of the plant.

Maintain adequate but not excessive water in the soil to ensure plant survival and good growth. Examine plants regularly for symptoms of water stress. Monitor soil moisture around the plant's root zone and adjust irrigation according to seasonal need. Soil around young plants during hot weather may need to be monitored daily; every few weeks may be adequate when monitoring around mature trees during more favorable weather.

Do not water established trees and shrubs near the trunk; this promotes root and crown disease. Water plants when needed around the drip line and beyond. Adjust sprinklers or install deflectors to prevent wetting of trunks. Move drip emitters away from the base of the trunk after plants are established. Read more at the UC Davis website here.

Serviceberry plant
Rusts are fungal diseases that infect many hosts, including birch, cottonwood, cypress, false cypress, fuchsia, hawthorn, juniper, pine, poplar, rhododendron, rose, and spruce. Dry reddish, yellowish, or orange spore masses or pustules form on infected tissue, especially on the lower surface of leaves. The upper surface of heavily infested leaves turns yellow or brown and infected leaves may drop prematurely. Orange, gelatinous masses appear on some infected evergreen hosts. Some species cause tissue swellings or galls, colorful spots on plants, or cankers on bark. These can cause branch dieback and occasionally kill the entire plant. Some rusts may cause leaves and shoots to become distorted, dwarfed, and discolored, forming "witches' brooms."

Avoid overhead watering, which favors spore germination. Rake infected leaves or needles and clip and dispose of infected shoots and branches as soon as they appear. Fungicides applied in the spring can reduce some rust diseases, but the frequent applications required to provide good control are generally not warranted in landscapes. Read more from UC Davis website.

Leaf spot may also be present 
Entomosporium leaf spot is a fungal disease that spots the leaves of plants in the Pomoideae group of the rose family, including apple, flowering crab apple, evergreen pear, hawthorn, pear, photinia, pyracantha, quince, Rhaphiolepis, and toyon. And in this case serviceberries. Tiny reddish spots, sometimes surrounded by a yellow halo, appear on the leaves of infected plants, usually on older growth. These spots darken and enlarge as the leaves mature. Spore-forming bodies eventually appear in the center of the spots; these dark fruiting bodies may appear to be covered with a glossy membrane, beneath which white masses of spores may be visible. Infected plants may prematurely drop many leaves.

Remove and dispose of spotted leaves that are on plants or have fallen. Do not water overhead as this spreads the fungus spores and favors infection. Reduce humidity around plants by providing adequate space between them and by pruning lower branches. Consider removing groundcovers beneath shrubs and mulching or maintaining bare soil instead. In very severe or special cases, copper compounds or chlorothalonil may be used as a preventative treatment. Read more here.

About serviceberries
Serviceberries are deciduous shrubs or small trees.  New leaves in spring are purplish and turn dark green in the summer.  Leaves become yellow, orange, or red in the fall.  Clusters of white or pink flowers bloom in spring followed by production of small berries that attract birds.  Berries are often used in pies and jams. 

Serviceberries do best in areas with full sun or partial shade.  Plant in a site where fruit drop won’t be a problem.  Provide moderate to regular amounts of water.  Prune after bloom to remove old, damaged, or crossing branches. Read more here

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Hollyhock with rust

Hollyhock leaf covered with rust
Hollyhocks get a fungal disease called rust, which produces reddish colored pustules (spots) on the upper and lower surfaces of leaves, stems, and green flower parts and causes early leaf drop. Hollyhock rust attacks only hollyhocks and other members of the hollyhock family (Malvaeceae), including albutilon, hibiscus, lavatera, and malva. 

You can take a few easy steps to prevent the disease from recurring and spreading. Rust, like most fungi, needs water to germinate and grow. So it's important to keep your hollyhocks' foliage and flowers as dry as possible, though this can be difficult in very humid climates. Hand water at the base of the plants, or use soaker hoses to keep leaves dry when watering. Space plants farther apart to ensure good air circulation, and avoid working around plants when they are wet. Don't plant hollyhocks by other susceptible host plants, and be sure to pull any weeds in the mallow family.

If your plants do become infected, remove affected leaves immediately and burn or dispose of them in the garbage. Don't place affected plants in your compost pile. Spores overwinter in infected leaves and stems. Most hollyhocks are biennial, which means that once they produce seed, they die. In late summer, when you see the rosettes of foliage that will provide next year's display, promptly pull up any finished stalks and dispose of them. At the end of the season, be sure to remove any dead plant matter remaining in the bed, because it harbors rust spores and perpetuates the problem. In spring, mulch around the base of the hollyhocks.

Click here to read more.

Yellow hollyhock
Hollyhock plant with rust

Save banana peels for gardens

Banana peels add nutrients and nitrogen to the soil as they decompose. Banana peels are particularly effective for use as a natural fertilizer. They rot quickly if you bury them, offering rich stores for vital nutrients to the soil, including potassium, calcium, sulfur, phosphorus, magnesium and sodium. You can dry and grind peels to use as mulch, or apply them directly to planting areas.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Russian sage: great for borders or flower arrangements

Russian Sage

This Russian sage may grow 3-5 feet tall and 3 feet wide. It's lavender or blue flowers on silver foliage will be great as borders or in cuttings. We planted this one next to a short fence.  We're looking forward to seeing its long lasting flowers peek over the fence in late summer and fall.  It's drought resistant and requires sunlight so it should grow well in our area.  

A rose is still a rose

We have been fairly successful growing roses after many tries.  But one thing we have trouble with is names. We have tried plastic from window shades, ice cream sticks, and professional metal tags, but the names wear off and we can't remember the flower name.  

I went to and put in yellow rose and came up with 341 choices.  I have a lot to learn about roses before I can narrow the choices down.

Can anyone help? How do you keep track of rose names? How do I find out the name of a rose once I have lost the tag?  Any ideas what this rose is? 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Distressed hostas

Most hostas do best in the shade. This hosta is distressed because it gets too much sun and it has not had enough water.  The drought in Northwest Missouri is now into its fourth week.