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.


Watering the Garden

Rain Barrel by grifray

The dry days of summer are here. Since I want flowers whether they are annuals, perennials, shrubs or trees, I have to take care of them by watering. But water is a special commodity- clean water is becoming more and more a rare commodity. Water is also becoming more and more expensive. So I try to do watering the right way.

I do not use a sprinkler system which wastes water by sprinkling indiscriminately, or loses water from evaporation as the water sprinkles in the air. I have too many flowers to use a drip system or to figure out where to best place one or many drip hoses. So I stand and water my flowers either early in the morning or after the sun goes down. Really, I water their roots. I try to water deeply enough so that the roots grow down for a stronger root system and healthier plants. Spraying water on the leaves is really not good for the plants in sunny weather, especially not for roses which can get a disease called black spot.

Continue reading “Watering the Garden”

Why Plant Leaves Fold

folded leaf spider nest by mycocortex

TheGardenLady received this question from Jim.

I believe my snake plant is underwatered. The leaves are folding in half length-wise. I have probably underwatered in fear of overwatering. Any suggestions for bringing my snake plant back without overwatering it?

Snake plant or Sansevieria is a tough plant that has few pests. But it does have some pests. My guess, and it can only be a guess because I cannot examine your plant, is that you are not under watering your plant but that your plant may have some pests.

When you have plants indoors, the environment is not what the plant is used to; so a plant can be stressed much more than it would be if it were growing outside in its natural environment. The stress might be from your not giving the plant the minimum amount of water that it needs. I water my  Sansevieria plants just a few times when it is indoors during cold weather and they are perfectly healthy. However, if I felt the plant were under watered, I would give it a drink- which I hope you have done for your plants.  Whatever is stressing your plant and whenever your plant gets stressed, it becomes less resistant to problems. Therefore your plant might become vulnerable to some insects pests. The three main insect pests of the Sansevieria plant are 1) the Vine Weevil grub, 2) mealy bugs or 3) spider mites.

Continue reading “Why Plant Leaves Fold”

Want to really help you garden grow? The secret is….WATER!

raised bed with soaker hose by biologie.

TheGardenLady has invited people with horticultural interests and expertise to contribute posts to this blog. The following article was submitted by Lou Manfredini. In the article Lou discusses  products and tips on how to keep things moist in your garden so that it looks great and stays healthy.   Lou is Ace Hardware’s Home Expert.  He is a nationally recognized DIY expert, hosting his own home improvement call-in radio show on WGN Radio in Chicago and a nationally syndicated home show, HouseSmarts. Lou is also the official home improvement expert for NBC’s TODAY Show. To read Lou’s last article about how to build a raised garden bed click here.   To learn about more tips and projects from Lou visit here.

There are countless fertilizers, bug sprays, soil mixtures, and homemade concoctions that claim to enhance your flowers, trees, shrubs and vegetables but the best thing to make your garden look its best is water. Unfortunately between droughts, vacations and busy schedules watering plants and gardens can become difficult. Here are some great products and tips on how to keep things moist so your garden looks great and stays healthy.

Drip Hoses, Soaker Hoses and Water Timers:

Drip Hoses are the unsung heroes of the garden. These black hoses can be strategically placed throughout your plant material to gently soak the surrounding ground. The trick is to place the hose under the drip line of the particular plant. So if it’s a bush, run the drip hose at the base of the plant where water would drip to the ground if it was raining. Another option is soaker hoses which are heavy-duty hoses permeated with tiny holes throughout. You lay these hoses down in your garden and water will seep through the holes slow and steady to get to the root of the plants. Ace Hardware offers a Soaker Hose that can help you reduce your water usage by 70%.

Another way to conserve water is to hook up your hoses to a timer such as the Raindrip Electronic Drip System Water Timer. This will help conserve water by letting you set how long you want the water to run as well as what time of day. It also ensures that you won’t forget to turn the sprinklers off.

Water Retention Pellets and Granules:

For flower boxes, hanging baskets and potted plants, these polymer pellets and granules are designed to retain and slowly release water to your plant. By mixing these into the soil you can make each watering go farther. Using polymer pellets such as SoilMoist Granules is perfect for when you’re trying to conserve water or if you’re heading out of town for a few days as they’ll keep your plants looking healthy and vibrant.

Continue reading “Want to really help you garden grow? The secret is….WATER!”

Things To Do When Gardening in July

Colorado potato beetle larvae dining on nightshade leaves by imarsman

July is the time to work in the garden -  so get up early before the sun gets brutal.  A few of the jobs to be done in July are:

Water plants: If you live in an area that is having a drought, you will have to water. With the heat of summer and the drought,depending on your plants, many will need to be watered frequently. How to water correctly is often misunderstood. A good site for information on proper watering is this.  And because water is becoming more and more of a rare commodity, with a drought might come prohibitions from your township on using it outdoors on your grounds. So you will have to check with your local government to see if watering outdoors is being allowed.

In times when water is rationed you might want to use what is called gray water to keep the plants alive. Gray water is the water used in your house for washing, etc. – all but toilet water. The proper usage of gray water is explained here.

It is best to water before the sun comes up. It is best to soak the soil around the roots of the plants rather than to spray water over the tops of the plants. First, it saves water. Less water evaporates when you soak the root area. And for some plants, especially roses, watering the leaves can cause fungal problems like black spot – if the plants are susceptible to the disease.   When you water it is best to soak the plants deeply so that the roots stay down in the soil. Shallow watering can cause roots to more upwards.  See here.
Continue reading “Things To Do When Gardening in July”

Schultz’s Moisture Plus Potting Mix

TheGardenLady received this question from Andrew.

I recently had some plants that I transplanted From 1.6L pots to 3.5L pots. For the first sized pot I used a mix of plain peatmoss/perlite/topsoil/black earth. I noticed that I had to water these plants every 2/3 days depending on the heat outside. Now that I’ve put my babies in “new shoes”. I’ve used a new soil mix to fill in the rest of the space in the new pots. The soil I used is Schultz’s moisture plus w/time released nutrients (0.08-0.12-0.08). I am completely unsure now when to water because 2 days after the transplant and watering the soil still feels fairly fresh. I tried running some water through one of the plants to make sure it’s not clogged, which it isn’t.  It”s slowly dripping out. I guess my first question is, if my particular plants are prone to root rot, is this new soil going to cause this if I over water them?  My second question is, what would be some tips with this soil on when to water it being they are gallon pots?

You have asked excellent questions. This GardenLady called Schultz’s for the answer. They said that you were doing the best thing for plants and especially for seedlings that are prone to root rot by using their moisture plus w/time released nutrients because the crystals are mixed so well in the potting soil that they help control the amount of water released into the soil. This prevents too much water in one spot which causes root rot. Also the soil is kept consistently wet from the top to the bottom of the pot. The way the crystals work is that they hold the water and then continue to release water into the soil until all the water in the crystals were released.

I asked how to tell if the plant needs more water. I was told that with the crystals it takes twice as long for the plant to be watered – so if your plant needed to be watered in 2/3 days, with the crystals in the soil, the soil will dry out in 4 to six days. I asked how to check if the soil needs watering. I was told that you stick your finger in the soil and if the soil clings to your finger, it doesn’t need watering. I asked if there were a device to stick in the soil to see if there were enough water and was told that was a good idea and he will suggest inventing such a device.

TheGardenLady wrote an article on caring for plants in time of drought. Schultz said that you can use their crystals on plants that have already been planted. Work them into the soil, water the plant and put a mulch over the crystals and soil where you put them to help retain the moisture.

For more information check out their website and go to Products and click on Moisture Plus Potting Mix or call their product specialists at 1-800 257 2941

Preparing the Garden for a Drought

Summer is here. The main jobs in the garden are weeding, WATERING and deadheading.

Those of us in the Northeast have been having the mildest summer this GardenLady has ever experienced. July feels like May; the weather is so Springlike.

TheGardenLady has been watching the weather reports for many parts of the country that are having a major heatwave. She does not know how to best advise gardens experiencing 100 degree plus days in your area where watering plants is prohibited.

Contact your local county extension office to see if they have any special suggestions.

There were some things one could do before the drought. Should things straighten out and you want to plant new plants, consider them when you plant.

Water Jelly Crystals by Baok
Water Jelly Crystals by Baok

Water crystals or beads (hydrogels) are sold as a means to help hold moisture in potting media. They can absorb multiple times their weight in water. Usually they are hydrated (beads or crystals are put in water before putting them in the soil) and mixed into the medium before planting. One company that sells this product is Plant Health Care Comapny.

Continue reading “Preparing the Garden for a Drought”