June 18th, 2016

Eradicating Goutweed

TheGardenLady received this comment from Susan:

My mother planted [Snow on the Mountain] 37 years ago. We bought her house 21 years and we are still trying to get rid of it. I am at my wits end!! But I have decided this year is gonna be the end of it! I have made it my personal challenge to finally see the end of it. I curse my mother every year when I see it. She thinks it’s funny. I however do not!! I cringe every time I’m in a garden center and see them selling it. It gives me anxiety. It must die!! Lol

It is interesting to this Garden Lady that so many of the plants that were brought to the US as ornamental or medicinal plants, have now
become invasive, noxious weeds. My lawn problem is ground ivy, glechoma hederacea, which was brought to the US as an ornamental or medicinal plant in the 1800s. It is interesting to me that it seemed to take so long for these plants to become pests. There is a long list of ornamental plants that have become invasive. Ornamental plants like Japanese and Chinese Wisteria wisteria floribunda and W sinensis, Callery Pear pyrus calleryana and Common periwinkle, Vinca minor are a few plants that have become invasive. Go here for some other invasive plants.

Your problem is Snow on the Mountain also called Goutweed or Bishop’s weed- Aegopodium podagraria. You are correct that this plant is difficult to eradicate. One has to get rid of all the root. To do it without chemicals, first remove your good plants from the area where you want to get rid of the Snow on the Mountain. Dig down 2 1/2 feet to get all the root. Put removed roots in the garbage, do not compost it. Then cover the dug area with black plastic and let sit fallow for 6 months. This should get rid of at least one area of the plant. See here.

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May 29th, 2016

A Peek into TheGardenLady’s Garden

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Check out some photos taken by Laura Hawkins of the flowers in my garden.

It is the end of iris season, so the photo shows a lot of dead blooms. Nonetheless, you can get some idea about how many irises I had blooming.

The second photo above shows Baptisia in bloom next to the yellow flag. You can’t see a rose in bloom behind these flowers.

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May 25th, 2016

Hosta Problems

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TheGardenLady received this question from Pete (You can see images of his hostas above):

I have many green hosta plants that for the last couple years have wilted leaves or are otherwise distorted.The plants are quite old but were always healthy till now. Any ideas?

Though hostas are known to have few pest and disease problems, sadly they do develop some diseases and do get some pests. Some of these
problems may not kill the plant but makes them look unattractive. I have a feeling that your problem is not a killer.

You do not say where you live, but in many areas of the US, this spring has had a lot of rain. Some diseases need the excess moisture
to cause problems. This excess moisture on the plants is either through excessive rain or excessive overhead watering.

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May 16th, 2016

Monarch X-ING

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TheGardenLady has written before about the disappearance of the Monarch butterfly. There was not one Monarch in my garden last summer. And TheGardenLady has written about the need to raise plants in your garden that will feed Monarch butterflies if they come to your area. Special plants are needed for Monarchs to feed and breed.

On this subject of the Monarch butterfly, an excellent new book recently appeared on Amazon.com about what one town is doing to encourage Monarchs to come and feed before laying eggs for a new generation of Monarch butterflies or migrating to Mexico. The book is ” MONARCH X-ING” by Pecki Sherman Witonsky. You can buy it here.

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March 23rd, 2016

Yellowing Avocado Leaves

Here are some more suggestions for yellowing avocado leaves.

Since avocados are considered a plant that is generally free of diseases, TheGardenLady offers this list of possible problems an avocado tree can have.

Generally avocado trees are tolerant of a lot of water if there is EXCELLENT drainage.  Drainage is very important.  But if you feel that you have over-watered your plant, it cannot hurt to cut back on the water. Test the soil with your finger before watering again and water only if the top of the soil feels dry. The frequency of irrigation depends on the temperature. In hot, dry weather, the avocado tree may require irrigation every day.  As a general rule, a potted plant in a container measuring 6 inches in diameter needs water when the top 2 inches of soil feels dry to the touch. A larger container measuring 8 to 10 inches in diameter is ready for water when the top ½ to 1 inch of soil feels dry. Avocado trees like the soil to drain quickly.

Hopefully, when you transplant the avocado tree, you do it carefully because the trees have weak root systems and sections of the root balls can break off during transplanting.  See here.

Avocado trees prefer full sun but need protection from strong sun until they develop a deep root structure and dense foliage to protect the sensitive bark. So young avocado trees have to be slowly introduced to the sun or their leaves can yellow. See here. Even after transplanting them into their final planting site, if they have not become used to the bright sunlight, you might have to give them some shade at first.

To learn how to grow avocados at home or a container, you should watch this:

If you’re interested in why people fail at growing avocados, you should watch this:

If you’re interested in some helpful tips for the backyard grower, read this:

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March 16th, 2016

Avocado Tree Problem

TheGardenLady received this question from Tricia.

About a month ago I transplanted 2 young avocado trees (bought at the local nursery) into large containers (their spots in the orchard aren’t ready yet). I had watered them 2x/wk week in the beginning and then 1x the following week because the soil was staying wet and I was afraid there wasn’t enough drainage. One of the trees’ leaves started yellowing, even though it gave me flower buds already. So I stopped watering it, afraid that’s why it was yellowing (the other one is fine). It now has all the upper leaves completely yellow and some turning brown and curling. The lowest ones are still green. I’m not sure what to do? Water it or not? The soil still appears moist.

Fungus is the most serious disease of avocado trees, which may be the problem of your avocado tree. As you wrote, you over-watered the plant and also the plant might have had poor drainage in the pot you put it in. You should take your plant to your nearest Agriculture Extension
office for an accurate diagnosis. They can offer you, for a fee, lab tests and soil tests to see if your tree has a fungus. (see here)

It is difficult to diagnose the problem from just a brief paragraph. Here is what UCDavis has to say about avocado diseases.

 

December 27th, 2015

Siproeta epaphus

TheGardenLady received this question from Michael.

I’m not seeing a black monarch. It’s a butterfly with black wings and orange tips. What is it?

We readers of TheGardenLady column also wish you had sent a photo of the butterfly with black wings and orange tips. Or perhaps you could tell us the area of the country where you saw this spectacular butterfly. Both a photo and the location could perhaps help us figure out which butterfly you saw.

Could it have been Siproeta epaphus with the common name of Rusty-tipped Page or Black and Tan butterfly?This butterfly is seen in the southern part of the US and in Central and South America. You can see more photos of this butterfly on this website.

If this is not the butterfly, see if you can find the name of the butterfly by using this website for identifying butterflies.

And let TheGardenLady readers know which butterfly you saw.

December 27th, 2015

VIDEO: How to plant and grow an amaryllis

In this video you will learn how to plant and grow a hippeastrum, often sold as amaryllis. Please enjoy!

December 8th, 2015

VIDEO: How To Protect Plants From Freezing Temperatures

The weather’s getting colder and the frost is coming, but you’re not ready to say goodbye to your landscape. Here’s how to protect it.

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December 8th, 2015

VIDEO: How To Choose Plant Fertilizer

To grow beautiful flowers and plants in an outdoor garden, you need to feed your soil the right plant food – a fertilizer that will help your plants thrive.

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