2005 Newsletter Archive

Newsletter 11

Week 11 (6/2/05) June is Finally here along with Nice weather


June is here and that means perennial month! Perennials – color that keeps coming back year after year. If you’re looking at ways to brighten your landscape and containers, planting annuals and perennials is just the thing. Annuals are great for continuous color from late spring to early frost, but it’s the perennial’s that provide bursts of flower and foliage colors that last anywhere from one week to a month or even more, and yet keep coming back year after year.


Planting perennials takes planning, and a little homework (heights, widths, blooming times, sun or shade, moist or dry, etc.), but believe me. Your efforts will be well rewarded by the years of planting perennials provide you. For your help in planning, we offer many lists and charts on our web site under the perennials link from our product page.


Sign on a Plumber’s truck: ["Don’t sleep with a drip. Call your plumber."]


*WHETHER IT’S THE WEATHER – Cooler temps continue to hold which although it doesn’t seem like late spring, many of the plants are enjoying it. Just make sure you’re checking the watering on a regular basis. Remember the golden rule of 1 inch rainfall every 7-10 days. Did you put up your rain gauge this week?


Sign at a Propane Filling Station: ["Thank Heaven for little grills!"]


*WHATS BUGGIN’ YOU? – I am poised and ready to go. Any day now, the bagworms will begin to hatch. And once they do, we’ll give them a week or 2 to make sure all have hatched, and then go after them with a good spraying of Bt. Catch them early, and you’ll stop them in their tracks. Wait too long, and it’s all handpicking from that point forward.


The extension is reporting slowed leaf growth on maples due to the excessive amount of seeds produced this spring


Sign at Radiator Shop: ["Best place in town to take a leak."]


QUESTIONMARK & THE MYSTERIANS – Here are a few gardening questions from this weeks emailed news bag:


"My roses are developing spots and holes in the leaves. Any idea what this is? I don’t see any bugs." -Right now, we’re getting samples and questions about rose leaves having either window panes type holes or complete holes in the leaves, but no bugs to be seen. Well, chances are that’s the results of the rose slug. Rose slugs are actually in the sawfly family, and there have been different types seen, ranging from 1 to multiple generations each year. They look like very small caterpillars (at the early stages are very hard to see), and typically feed on the underside of the leaves, causing the window pane effect from the younger slugs, to skeletonization as well as the large holes as the larva mature. Control for the rose slugs includes 1.) Hand picking the infected leaves (with saw fly larvae on them) and destroying the leaves, 2. Repeated foliar sprays as needed, using Insecticidal Soaps or Horticultural Oils, and be sure to spray the undersides of the leaves.  The foliar sprays are usually the most effective and most immediate control. (By the way, being they are saw flies, Bt is not an effective means of control.) Of course, these methods of control also work quite nicely with the aphids as well.


"What do you recommend for killing off potential spores in a fungus called "dog vomit"?


-There are no recommendations for killing off potential spores for any of the fungus in your mulch, including dog bark (vomit) fungus. It’s all a part of the decomposing process, mostly seen in shredded hardwoods and not in other mulches. It’s not harmful to plants, and although you don’t want to eat it, shouldn’t be harmful to the kids or pets. The best way to deal with it is to fluff up the mulch regularly, and if you’d like, scoop it up and throw it away (or put it in the neighbor’s mulch, which is fun to do), or change the type of mulch you have. But no sprays available for preventing or killing it off. Sorry.


"Am I right by saying Lawn Care Companies are required to post signs when spraying lawns with chemicals?" -According to our maintenance division manager, in basic terms, if a lawn care company spraying any chemical and getting paid to do it, or applying any restricted use chemicals, yes they do have to post some type of signage. If the neighboring properties request it, they must have a sign for them too, and given at least a days notice before spraying (if requested). So you can request pre notification as well as the signage after spraying.


"I have a layer of thatch in my lawn. Should I rent a thatch machine and thatch it?" -Now’s not a good time to be doing that, as you’ll be dealing with weed seeds for the rest of the summer. And, we really have gotten away from those dethatchers, and are now core aerating on a more regular basis. Core aerating opens up the thatch, and actually promotes a quicker breakdown of the layer, without dealing with tearing up the turf and exposing all those weed seeds. Still time to core aerate now if needed.


"I had a man come to my door stating he was working on a neighbor’s tree and was evaluating trees looking for additional business. In my walnut trees, he found holes in the trunk, which follow a pattern of 4 vertical holes, then a space, then 4 vertical holes, a space, and more holes. Very structured looking. I thought it was woodpeckers, but he said it was boreholes caused by a worm that would suck the sap from the trees and kill them. Does this sound right? Can my trees be saved? What should I do?" -Maybe find another man to do your tree work. Without seeing it, and from what you’ve described, I’d almost bet a paycheck that it’s Sap Sucker damage, and that you are correct (about the woodpecker, sort of!). I would first be hesitant about having a man come to my door looking for additional tree work. Rarely happens with quality certified arborists. Find a certified arborist that comes recommended by a local garden store, landscape firm, etc, and stick with them. They’re the pros and know what they’re talking about. I would suggest you get a second opinion from another certified arborist, before doing anything. Let me know what happens! (Email me a picture of it if you can!)


*We’re starting to see mounds of earth popping up in our backyard. We think they’re gophers. How do we get rid of them?" -Rather than gophers, I’m suspecting you’ve got a case of ‘the moles’. Moles are one of the most common and probably most frustrating lawn and garden pest problems. With that in mind, take the time to visit the web site of our local mole expert, Mr. Tom Schmidt [www.themoleman.com] before deciding what your game plan will be for the current mole(s) in your yard. You may decide to live with them, try your hand at eliminating them, or have "The Moleman" take care of them for you!


Quick tips about moles:


-Moles are small mammals that spend most of their lives in underground tunnels and burrows. They are about the size of chipmunks (6-8 inches long) and weigh 3-6 ounces. Moles are covered by a soft gray pelage that is hinged to allow it to move in any direction. They have enlarged, paddle-like forefeet and prominent toenails which enable it to "swim" through soil. Moles lack external ears, and their eyes are so small, they’re not very visible to us! (Moles are not blind.) Moles have one litter each year, ranging from 2 to 6 babies.


-Moles do not hibernate. They cannot store food or fat, so they’re always active. Moles are insectivores, not rodents, and feed on insects such as grubs, millipedes, cicada nymphs, and its primary food source, ants and earthworms. A 5-ounce mole will consume 45-50 pounds of worms and insects each year. Do not treat your lawn for grubs or other insects in an attempt to control a mole’s food source. Only treat your lawn for these insects if they are a threat to the lawn’s health. (And you certainly do not want to kill the earthworms in your soil!) Moles do not eat plants, bulbs, tubers, plant roots, etc., but their activity may indirectly damage plants or their root systems. Shrews and voles often use mole tunnels as runways and travel lanes.


-Mole runs at surface level are generally "search and eat" tunnels. Mole "highways" are below ground level and not visible. Moles can dig surface tunnels at 18 feet per hour, and can travel through existing tunnels at 80 feet per minute. (Moles also have the ability to swim.) Moles contain twice as much blood and twice as much hemoglobin as other mammals their size, enabling them to breathe easier in environments with low oxygen. A mole’s home range can be measured in acres, and overlap one another for mating and dispersal purposes.


Mole Controls: Forget the poison peanuts, the gopher gassers, the Juicy Fruit Gum, and all the other home remedies. The only sure cure way to get rid of the current mole invasion in your yard is to either trap the moles (using one or several of the many types of mole traps – scissor, harpoon, choker), or physically remove them by digging them out of their runs. Spring and fall are the best times to trap, although it can be done anytime. But these means of control are the ONLY sure cures for the current moles in your yard.


Mole Repellents: If you do not want to trap or remove the moles, repellents are available for you to try. Results from use of these products will vary, and remember that the results are not reducing mole populations, but merely moving them to another location, leaving them to dig and reproduce elsewhere. Products include Mole Max, and the infamous ‘Sonic Chaser’. (Results will vary – trapping and physical removals are the only sure cures.)


Mole Poisons: There is an injectible / ingestible poison available, Moletox Baited Gel, which is injected into the active runs. It is safe to use if you have cats or dogs. Again, results may vary greatly. Trapping or physical removal are the only sure cures for the existing moles in your yard.


Again, we invite you to visit www.themoleman.com for all the mole information you could ever imagine. We feel once you understand the mole a little better, you can decide what to do in your yard – live with them, trap them, dig them out, try a repellent or poison injection, or simply call "The Moleman".


Resources include OSU Extension and Tom Schmidt, [www.themoleman.com.]


Sign on Taxidermist’s window: ["We really know our stuff."]


Sign on a Maternity Room door: ["Push. Push. Push."]




ED, you’ll never guess what I’ve had to do already in the herb garden: pick the flower heads from my dill plants! Hard to believe that my dill is flowering, because the plants are not that tall yet. I know if I don’t take those flower heads off, the plants will go to seed too early, and because dill is an annual plant, after seeding, you know what happens, ED. My dill will go to herb heaven; in other words, when annual herbs are left to go to seed, that signals the plant to die. And I can’t have that, because my cucumbers are just popping up and I need that dill to make pickles. I had a couple of handfuls of flowers, so I tossed them into one of your favorite salads: cucumber, and that’s the recipe I’m sharing today. Now go to taste on everything here, ED. Sometimes I’ll substitute several cloves of minced garlic for the onions. I guess you’d call that taking a German recipe and giving it a Lebanese twist!




5 cucumbers, peeled and sliced thinly


1 tablespoon salt


1 medium to large onion, sliced thinly


1 cup ea: sugar and clear vinegar


1/4 cup water


Handful of fresh dill, minced (optional)


Put sliced cucumbers in shallow pan, sprinkle with salt and toss. Let sit at room temperature one hour. Put in colander and drain, put in bowl, add onions, and dill if using, and stir well. Whisk sugar, vinegar and water together. Pour over cucumbers and mix. Cover and refrigerate. If you like, top each serving with sour cream and paprika to taste, if desired.


Tips from Rita’s kitchen:


Dill is a calming herb with a good amount of calcium. In the old days, Shakers used to give the children dill seeds during long sermons to keep the kids calm.


Dill seeds from your pantry will probably sprout, so toss a few into your herb garden. Cover lightly with soil, water well and watch closely – dill sprouts as a very slender, two leaved herb.


Cucumbers contain a lot of water, so they’re wonderful as a good hydrating veggie.


– Rita Nader Heikenfeld, CCP / Macy’s Regional Culinary Professional / Herbalist / Author / Local TV and Radio Cooking Expert / Adjunct Professor U.C. Clermont College / Community Press Papers [life@communitypress.com attn: Rita]


Sign on a Plastic Surgeon’s Office door: ["Hello. Can we pick your nose?"]


*Ed’s PLANTS TO PONDER – Today, let’s ponder a tender perennial (so grow it like an annual) that grows upright in habit, has nice lobe shaped green leaves, an attractive small white flower, gets about knee high (or so), grows in the soil or in containers, can be grown indoors in containers, and the really unique thing about this plant is that the leaves can be as much as 200 times sweeter than sugar! Our plant to ponder this week is called ‘Stevia’, an herb grown as a natural sugar substitute. Diabetics or anyone looking for natural sweeteners should be growing this herb! In some cases, one large leaf can sweeten a small pitcher of tea. Use it fresh, or dry it and use it in its dried form. Either way, this is one sweet plant (and highly recommended by our good friend Rita Heikenfeld.) ‘Stevia’ – my plant to ponder for this week.


Sign at a Proctologist’s door: ["To expedite your visit please back in.]

Carol and Ed Knapton, owners of Americas's Best Flowers You’ll Love Your Garden … It’s Our Promise! May the Holy Spirit Guide You! God Bless
Edward Knapton says Keep on Smiling!
Sec – Treasurer Berry Hill Farms, Inc.
DBA Americas Best Flowers Garden Center
4311 Vilas Hope Road
Cottage Grove, WI 53527
608-222-2269 Fax 608-222-1234 Cell 608-698-5627