THE YARD & GARDEN CORNER

Brought To You By
Briarwood Civic Association
Beautification Committee

AUGUST

LAWN & GARDEN EVENTS

AUGUST IS NATIONAL PEACH MONTH

AUGUST IS NATIONAL BLUEBERRY MONTH

ALWAYS AUGUST 3rd. NATIONAL WATERMELON DAY.

FLOWERS OF THE MONTH

GLADIOLAS.

Gladiolus are known by a number of names: Gladiolus, gladiola, "glads", and even "Sword Lilly". Why Sword Lily, you might ask? It's because of their long, sword-like leaves. But, Glads are not members of the lily family. Whatever you like to call them, they are one of the more popular flowers grown in the home garden.

Gladiolus are native to the mountains of South America. They are widely grown in the U.S. and Europe. Gladiolus are easy to grow, and make for a beautiful flower in the garden and in floral arrangements, hence their popularity. With just a little attention, your glads will burst into a bloom of tall spikes in August. Blossoms come in a wide range of colors and bicolors, including blue. The blossoms will open from the bottom first. Harvest spikes of Gladiolus just before the top blossoms open. The top blossoms will open indoors.

Did you know? You might think that Gladiolas grow from bulbs....wrong! They actually grow from a closely related cousin, the "corm".

POPPY.

The "World's Popular Encyclopedia" referred to Poppies as "common cornfield weed". The year was 1937. Today, we think of Poppies as a popular and attractive flower, that is common in home gardens as well as open fields. Popular is an understatement, as Poppies come in many, many varieties, and are native to many parts of the world, including Central and Southern Europe, China, India, and other parts of Asia. It's popularity also stems from the diversity of it's use. In the garden, Poppies are an attractive, easy to grow flower in both annual and perennial varieties. As an added bonus, the home gardener can choose from almost any color in the rainbow , including black. It's flowers are long lasting.

Poppy seeds and oil are popular for baking and cooking. If you have excess seed, you can put them in your backyard bird feeder.

In the world of medicine, and drugs, some Poppies are a narcotic. It is used to make Codeine, Morphine, and Opium.

Did you Know? After WWII, Poppies became the symbol of both tragedy and renewal of life. They gained this recognition as there were many poppies in the battlefields of France. Each year on Memorial Day, Veterans sell poppies as a memorial for those who have given their lives for their country. The proceeds benefit veterans groups.

MOWING TIPS

Proper mowing can mean the difference between a so-so lawn and a great one. There are a few simple decisions to make when mowing that make a difference in your lawn.

How high to mow?

Grass generally performs best when mowed at one of the higher settings on your mower —— especially in hot summer weather.

Avoid scalping at all costs.

Never cut off more than 1/3 of the length of the grass blades in a single mowing. If lawn growth gets ahead of you, mow it at a higher length, then lower blade and mow again a few days later.

Recommended mowing heights by grass type

Fine Fescue. Min 1½" Max 2½"
Kentucky Blue. Min 1½" Max 2½"
Rye. Min 1½" Max 2½"
Bahia. Min 2" Max 4"
Bermuda. Min ½" Max 2"
Buffalo. Min 2" Max 3"
Carpet. Min 2" Max 3"
Centipede. Min 1" Max 1½"
St.Augustine/Floratam Min 2" Max 4"
Zoysia. Min ¾" Max 2"

How often to mow?

Once a week is usually sufficient. In spring, when grass is growing more rapidly, mowing twice a week may be necessary to avoid removing more than 1/3 the length of the grass blades.

Blade sharpness

Keep mower blade sharp. Mowing with a dull blade tears the ends of grass blades, leaving ragged ends which later turn brown, giving the lawn a dried-out look. Such grass blade damage also encourages the spread of fungus disease.

Other tips

Mow in different directions (diagonal, horizontal, vertical patterns) each time you mow to prevent "leaning" of grass blades in your lawn.

Avoid making sharp turns with the mower. Use sidewalks and driveways as a place to turn the mower, or make "header strips" and turn the mower at the end of each row when you reach the header.

Never mow a wet lawn, as this can lead to uneven cuts and invites fungus to your lawn.

Get the "striped" or "checkerboard" look, like on a professional baseball field, by placing a roller on your mower. These can be purchased at many hardware stores.

TREATMENT FOR LAWN GRUBS

The grubs that you see in the lawn are the larvae of Japanese beetles, June beetles, and chafers. These grubs are C-shaped, off-white in color with a dark head. They eat the roots of grass, causing irregularly shaped patches of wilted, dead or dying grass in April and May, and again in August to mid-October. With a serious infestation, the turf can be lifted up from the soil and rolled back like a carpet. If the damage to the grass is not too severe, the grass will recover with normal watering and fertilizing. Lawns that are heavily damaged by grubs will have a yellowish tinge and will feel spongy when walked on.

In small populations, grubs do not represent a problem to a healthy lawn. It is normal for all lawns to have some grubs present. 4-6 grubs per square foot of turf probably won't cause any visible damage in a healthy lawn. However, when a lawn begins to have more than 6 grubs per square foot of lawn, this would be considered a grub problem. To check the size of a grub population in your lawn, dig out a square foot of grass and turn it over to examine the roots. Count the visible grubs. If you have more than 6 visible grubs, you should consider applying a grub control product.

If animals such as skunks, raccoons, birds and moles are digging up the turf to feed on the grubs, consider treating your lawn. Ten or more grubs per square foot will likely cause damage, especially if the lawn is otherwise stressed.

Knowing the life cycle of grubs is the key to determining whether you have a problem, what to do about it, and when to do it.

In late June and early July, Japanese beetle adults emerge from the ground and begin to search for food and mates. The adults can fly as far as a mile and feed on a multitude of plants; their favorites include roses, grapes, and linden trees. Other scarab beetles may go unnoticed at this time because they are not attacking ornamental plants.

In July, female beetles spend 2-3 weeks laying up to 60 eggs in the soil. Depending on soil moisture and temperature, eggs hatch about two weeks later. These first-stage ("first-instar ") grubs feed on grass roots for most of August. The grubs are small, feeding close to the surface, and vulnerable to insect controls at this time. Control grubs at this stage, before feeding on turf roots is noticed.

From late August through October (depending on your climate), grubs molt into a second and then a third stage. As they grow, grubs consume more roots. Damaged turf often appears in late fall.

As temperatures drop in autumn, grubs move down in the soil. They overwinter as third-instar grubs below the frost line.

In the spring, they move up in the soil to feed on roots for a very short time. (Most of the lawn damage seen in the spring is a result of fall feeding, not spring feeding.)

In late spring, grubs stop feeding and turn into pupae that are resistant to insect controls. In late June or early July, beetles emerge from the pupae and crawl out of the soil, completing the cycle.

Evaluate the turf to determine the thatch thickness.

If the thatch is more than 1/2 inch thick, and a dense, compacted layer is present, your chances of grub control are rather slim. Insect controls get trapped in dense thatch layers. If the insect controls cannot reach the soil/root layer where the grubs are actively feeding, they will not be controlled. You will need to dethatch the area prior to applying an insect control, then adopt management practices that keep thatch to a minimum going forward. In the long run, this will likely reduce the grub population and allow an insect control to reach it's target when needed.

The timing of grub control treatment is critical.

Although grubs are present near the soil surface from April-early October, they cause the most damage from July-September. During this time, the eggs are hatching and the voracious young grubs are actively feeding on grass roots. It is also during this time that the grubs are most susceptible to insect controls. Their active eating habits increase their consumption of the control. Also, the smaller the grub, the easier it is to control. Tests have shown that it takes nearly 300 times the amount of an insect control to control a mature grub in April/May as to kill the young grub in August. Since timing is so critical, it is recommended that you apply a grub treatment when you begin to see Japanese Beetles flying in your area.

Life cycle of the grub. How to stop grubs.

For the prevention of grubs, apply grub treatment just before the grub hatch date in your area. A good grub treatments will have a 4-month residual; avoid putting the product down too early in the season. Apply the product at the rate recommend on the bag. For best results, water the lawn the day before you plan to apply grub treatment. This moistens both the soil and the thatch layer, making it easier for the insect control to reach its target area. Apply the grub treatment to a dry lawn. Then, after the application, water again. You will need to put at least 1/2 inch of water on the lawn to wash the insect control down to the root layer.

If grubs are still a problem in the fall, you may want to follow up with an application of Lawn & Soil Insect Killer granules. For best results water the lawn with 1 inch of water 24 - 48 hours before application, allow grass to dry, apply the product and water in with another 1/2 - 1 inch of water

CLEMSON TOPICS

The following article was prepared by the Clemson Extension Center:

Indoor Plants - Watering.

The main cause of death of potted plants is over-watering. Roots need both water and oxygen, and when surrounded by water, they cannot take up oxygen. These roots may rot and eventually the whole plant may die. The symptoms of over-watering and underwatering are similar. Both lead to poor root health, root decline and possibly death of the plant.

A common question from gardeners is "How often should I water my plants?" There is no pat answer to this question. The amount and frequency of watering depends on many factors, such as the plant species, its growth stage, its location, the type and size of its pot, soil mix characteristics and variable weather conditions.

There is a wide range of watering requirements for different species of plants. Plants with large or very thin leaves and those with fine surface roots usually require more frequent watering than succulent plants with fleshy leaves and stems that are able to store water. Some plants thrive under moist conditions while other plants grow well when kept drier.

Plants may slow in growth after a flush of new growth or a heavy flowering. During these periods and while it is dormant, a plant will need less water.

Water evaporates rapidly from the sides of a porous clay pot, which requires more frequent watering than nonporous, glazed or plastic pots. A large plant in a small pot needs water more often than a small plant in a large pot.

Different soil mixes require different watering schedules. Heavy, fine-textured potting media and those that contain a lot of peat moss hold more moisture than loose, porous mixtures of bark, sand and perlite.

A plant in a warm, dry, sunny location needs more frequent watering than one in a cool, low-light environment.

The rule-of-thumb is to water when necessary. The following methods may be used to determine when to water:

Touch the soil – The most accurate gauge is to water when the potting mixture feels dry to the touch. Stick your finger into the mix up to the first joint; if it is dry at your fingertip it needs water.

Tap the pot – When the potting mix in a clay pot begins to dry, it shrinks away from the sides of the pot. Rap the side of the pot with the knuckles or a stick. If the sound is dull, the soil is moist; if the sound is hollow, water is needed.

Estimate weight – As potting mixtures become dry, a definite loss in weight can be observed.

Judge soil color – Potting mixtures will change from a dark to lighter color as they dry.

There are a number of watering meters available to measure moisture in the soil, indicating whether water is needed. These products vary widely in accuracy. The readings can be influenced by factors other than soil moisture content. Fertilizer and soil type can affect the reading.

When watering is required, water thoroughly. Apply water until it runs out of the bottom of the pot. This washes out the excess salts, and it guarantees that the bottom two-thirds of the pot, which contains most of the roots, receives sufficient water. Don’t let the pot sit in the water that runs out. Empty the saucer.

Do not allow the soil to become excessively dry. If the salt level in the container is high, root damage may occur. If soil does become very dry and hard to rewet, use the double watering method. Water once and then again half an hour later; or place the pot in a sink or a bucket of water. Remove the pot when the soil surface is moist. Allow the pot to drain completely. If peat is allowed to dry completely, not only is it difficult to rewet, it also will not hold as much water as it could hold before it dried.

Do not water with hot or cold water. The water temperature should be between 62 and 72 °F.

Do not water plants with softened water because sodium and chloride will also be added to the soil mix, possibly causing plant damage.

Although wilting is often an indication of the need to water, it is not always so. Any injury to the root system decreases a plant’s ability to take up water, including root rot, which is caused by too much water. This inability to take up water will cause wilting, and under these conditions, watering may make the problem worse.

Excerpted from the South Carolina Master Gardener Training Manual, EC 678.

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