Horticulture Tips

Each pigweed plant produces between 10,000 and 35,000 seed. Fifty percent of the seed can still germinate after three years and it takes more than twenty years for the last few seeds to lose their ability to grow a new plant. Isn't it easier to kill one plant now? One swipe with a hoe now can prevent ten thousand later. Designer breeders have done it again. As if yellow zucchini weren't confusing enough for gardeners , now Burpee's has released Green Tiger zucchini. Green Tiger is striped like a cucumber. You can be the first in the neighborhood to confuse them and make fire and ice with squash instead of cucumber. Who knows, it may be the hit of the next barbeque. One new vegetable that folks may want to try now is Angel Hair vegetable spaghetti. The original vegetable spaghetti and Hasta la Pasta made squash weighing several pounds that were difficult to consume unless there was a lot of company. Angel Hair makes small squash that can be eaten by a couple at one meal. Commercial corn is now maturing. The insects that were using it for a food source are now looking at your garden. Be vigilant in you protection efforts, particularly with tomatoes, sweet corn and Southern peas. Resist the urge to severely prune broadleaf evergreens now. It is acceptable to prune out-of- bounds shoots at any time, but this is the time to mark next February's calendar to do any heavy duty cutting. Camellias may be showing mottled leaves and poor growth now. This could be a combination of hot weather and not enough water, or it could be from scale insects. Turn the symptom showing leaves over and look at the underside with a magnifying glass. If you see small oblong clumps of dark brown and white or cottony masses , you may have scale insects.  This is not the time to apply horticultural oil. Applying oil when temperatures are above eighty five degrees will damage the leaves. Either remove the damaged leaves, gently scrape the insects off,  or make sure the plant is well watered until it cools enough to use the oil safely.  Summer days, St. Augustine lawns, and Chinch bugs  These hot summer days are ideal for your St. Augustinegrass lawn to heal and get healthy from winter injury or spring diseases but don’t let your guard down just yet as chinch bugs love St. Augustinegrass lawns. The adults of this destructive insect are only about 1/5 of an inch long. They are black with what appears to be a white X across their backs where their wings fold over. The immature nymphs may be pink to brown with a single white line across their backs. Turf injury symptoms are a subtle yellowing of the leaf blades, thinning of the canopy and eventual death of the turf under extreme insect pressure. These insects are somewhat unique in that they prefer hot sunny areas of the lawn over shade so their injury symptoms generally appear in the open front lawn area first. To scout for these tiny insects in your lawn you will need to part the turf canopy to the soil surface along a line where there is a change from damaged yellowing turf to healthy green turf. They move rather quickly, so keep an alert eye for their scurrying back into the turf. Another way to scout for chinch bugs is by cutting both ends from a large coffee can, twisting it into the turf a couple of inches until it will hold water, then filling it with soapy water. In a few minutes the chinch bugs, if present, will begin swimming on the surface. Carbaryl, cyfluthrin, lambda-cyhalothrin and permethrin are labeled insecticides for their control. While chinch bugs prefer St. Augustinegrass lawns, other turf species may also be encountering insects now such as Fall armyworms, white grubs, billbugs, and sod webworms. To learn more about these insects, their injury symptoms, how to locate and identify them, and insecticides for their control refer to extension publication #2331 HYPERLINK "http://msucares.com/pubs/publications/p2331.pdf" \t "1" Control of Insect Pests in and Around the Home Lawn. This publication is also available from your local Extension office. This publication can be downloaded from the Extension web at HYPERLINK "http://www.msucares.com/" \t "1" www.MSUcares.com.