Minding Your Summer Garden: Things to watch for: Trees and Shrubs Bag worms - bag worms can kill a tree if it is heavily infested. Inspect your trees periodically - bagworms seem to like juniper, arborvitae, and pines, but they are will attack many broadleaf shrubs and trees such as rose, sycamore, maple, elm, and black locust.. Hand-picking light infestations works well; applying the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis will also take care of the problem. Oakworms - these pesky little critters will strip the leaves from a 5 foot tall oak tree in two to three days. Spraying carbaryl (Sevin, etc.) will take care of them quickly. (you cannot effectively treat a large tree, but if you see them on lower branches and can safely spray them that will certainly not hurt). Observe all label precautions on mixing and use. Do not use dusts due to the problem with application - a spray made using the liquid form of the product will work fine Webworms - fall webworms should be appearing in pecan trees in mid- to late-August. Controlling the bottom 1/3 of the tree will be quite effective, even though we cannot reach the upper areas. Carbaryl (Sevin, etc.) is a good product for this. Observe all label precautions on mixing and use. Do not use dusts due to the problem with application - a spray made using the liquid form of the product will work fine. Vegetables Garden insects - keep an eye out for corn earworm, cucumber beetle, and squash vine borer in the garden. Blossom end rot - check your tomatoes for blossom end rot on the fruit as it begins to form. This is usually an indication of a calcium deficiency. Place a handful of gypsum (land plaster) in the soil beside the tomato at planting (or later) to prevent this. Foliar sprays such as blossom end rot spray will also help alleviate the problem. Nothing will "heal" the fruit with rot on it, so remove and discard them.
Things to do: Fruits Spray fruit trees - continue spraying your fruit trees with a fungicide (Captan, etc.) every 7 to 10 days to provide the beautiful fruit you look forward to. Do not use any insecticides on the trees until less than 10% of the blooms remain - you certainly do not want to hurt your bee pollinators. The fungicide will have no effect on them. After the blooms have fallen you may begin to also spray malathion insecticide. Trees and Shrubs Pruning - now is another good time to prune most trees and shrubs. July and August are the months to prune azalea, dogwood, forsythia, redbud and rhododendron. They should be pruned after they bloom, but before bloom set in the fall. Oakleaf hydrangea and late-flowering azalea cultivars might also be considered now. Avoid any pruning in the spring and fall if at all possible Plan Ahead - if you plan to plant some trees or shrubs this year, begin thinking about which plants you would like now, and find retailers that carry those varieties. You have plenty of time, but you certainly do not want to miss your favorite at the last minute. Pecan Weevils - pecan weevils are those little critters that make holes in your pecans. Start treating for pecan weevils the first week of August, and continue treating once per week for 6 weeks. Place 5 ounces of liquid carbaryl (Sevin, etc.) in 10 gallons or more of water and spray the entire area under the tree, from trunk out to dripline. Repeat this for each tree. You will need to do this 2 years in a row to get rid of the pesky critters (they have a 2 year lifecycle). Vegetables Garden Clean-Up - half the tomato disease battle in a vegetable garden is sanitation. As tomatoes end their production remove them from the garden and take them to a landfill. Many diseases will over-winter on old infected leaves and stems. (A good practice for any plants you have had disease problems with this year). Make a note - sketch out where you planted various vegetables in your garden. This will come in handy next spring when you plant, so you can rotate your crops to help prevent disease. Some planting times for more common vegetables Collards - Jul. 1 - Aug. 30 Snap beans - Aug. 1 - 15 Half-runners - Aug. 1 - 15 Lettuce - Aug. 15 - 25