Gardening Q&A

Plant Q & A

Q. Based on your column a few weeks ago I checked, and we do have scale on our peach tree. What happens if we do not spray it? We do not have a spray rig and I do not like the idea of spraying plants with pesticides.

A. The scale insects are sucking the juices from the tree’s cells with the result that there is less available for fruit production and less in the tree to fight off and recover from other pests and diseases. The tree becomes less able to produce fruit and less able to recover from problems. The recommended treatment by dormant or horticultural oil is an organic treatment that suffocates the scale insects under their calcium shells. You may accomplish some control by scraping the insects off. Be careful to minimize bark penetration.

Q. The rain last week did a wonderful job of greening up our lawn from its dry brown state. Can we irrigate every week now to keep it green?

A. Is the greening due to the water becoming available to the permanent lawn grass such as St. Augustine or Bermuda grass? The quick response that you experienced makes me believe it may be germination of one of the weed grasses such as rescue grass or annual bluegrass. Either way the grass will probably stay green in the winter with water every two weeks. If we get more cold weather, it may go brown despite having access to water.

Q. We planted 1015 onions. How much fertilizer do they need?

A. Onions are high nitrogen users. Apply an initial dose of 10 cups of 19-05- 09 slow-release lawn fertilizer per 100 sq. ft. of bed before or at the time of planting. Side dress again about March 1 with a cup of “winterizer” (18-6-12) per 8 ft. row.

Q. Is it worth it to plant pansies and stock or some of the other cool weather annuals now or should we just wait for later in the spring and just plant zinnias?

A. Pansies and other cool weather annuals can be expected to bloom at least until the end of April. It is worth it to plant them now.

Q. Is it a good time to aerate and top dress the lawn now? Our lawn care company is recommending that we do it. We do not have a deep soil reservoir.

A. Yes, a good aeration and top-dressing treatment will benefit the lawn. In our climate the organic material from the leaf drop decomposes quickly denying the lawn grass access too much organic material. Whatever you can do to increase the supply and accessibility is good for the lawn.

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