GARDEN FOR JULY 31, 2010
BY GLADYS JEURINK
After it starts
to darken and cool down a little during the heat of the summer, it is
fun to go out and see the yard begin a different life. If you have a
flashlight you can find Bumble Bees sleeping in the Bee Balm (Monarda
sp.). The Butterflies are asleep but the moths are out eating or looking
for a friend. Early in the summer the larvae of the Fire
Flies are just under the surface of soft, damp soil practicing their
special flashes while the adults are flashing above looking for mates.
If you wait until very dark, the Possums will come out of their
hiding places to wander around looking for food, or the Coons may come
out of the storm sewers.
Earlier the Four O’clocks (Mirabilis sp.) will
have opened. I like the ones that are multi-colored or striped and I try
to have a little plot of them every summer in full sun and damp soil.
Sometimes called “Marvel of Peru”, the flowers open up late
afternoon and die before morning. They do grow a tuber that can be dug
and kept over winter. They
are perennials in some areas. Mine usually don’t open at 4 o’clock
but will a little later.
Datura are both called Angels Trumpets with their trumpet flowers as
much as ten inches long hanging down, sometimes in clusters. They do
have a very pleasant perfume to make your night visits more exciting.
Since they open at night they are also called “Moonflowers”.
The plants get very large so in order to save space, in the fall I take
cuttings that root easily. By spring the cuttings may be 18 inches high
and ready to bloom by the last of June.
They have an interesting habit of blooming some, growing for
several weeks, and then blooming again.
Generally I have them in large 20 inch pots and by September the
root has found the drain hole and grown through to anchor the pot. So I
try to make a complete turn of the pot every so often.
It is very heavy and hard to move but can be rotated in place if
the root doesn’t get too well anchored.
The plants and seeds are toxic so if you have youngsters who like
to nibble, I would wait a few years.
They need careful attention to watering when in a pot.
There is a Moon
Vine that opens at night with a neat scent. “Ipomoea alba” is a
perennial vine that will climb to 70 feet in its native tropics. Here in
Lincoln I have had it climb a crabapple tree and cover the top with
those 6 inch wide flowers. In
the Morning Glory family it needs full sun and ample water to support
those 4 to 8 inch leaves. My
crop of 4 vines was started up a trellis until leaves and roots both
disappeared. I blame
squirrels who dig everywhere in my yard. They like my pots as the soil
is softer and easier so I have corn and oak seedlings in many places.
You may have
noticed that many night blooming plants are white. This makes it easier
for the moths to find them. Also
many of them have alluring odor. The
big flowering tobacco (Nicotiana sylvestris) that grows in high shade as
much as 5 feet tall with a cluster of white, very fragrant, trumpet
shaped flowers about 5 inches long. Nalata, the shorter tobacco plant is
also strongly fragrant at night but the colored flowers don’t stand
out as well as Sylvestris. Both species produces lots of very tiny
seeds. In their native South
America they are perennial but here in
I have a new
white Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii, sp) that is supposed to be
fragrant and show at night. It is only 18 inches high but had one bloom
about 12 inches long in its first year. A favorite with Butterflies, it
is sometimes called a Summer Lilac After its first year it will not need
a large amount of water, growing 7 to10 feet high in full sun, with good
drainage. I also have a ‘Black Knight’ Butterfly Bush, a pink, and a
purple bush, blooming best in July and August.
They bloom on new wood so need to be cut back to live tissue
early in the Spring. I have also cut them to the ground in late fall. In
a mild winter, the lower parts will start growing earlier, so for me
just removing the tall parts that whip in the wind in the fall, and
cutting down to the highest leaves starting in the Spring works fine.
WHY DO I HAVE CRABGRASS NOW?
BY GEORGE EDGAR
A question I
usually get about this time of year is, “Why do I have crabgrass now
in late July and early August when I put crabgrass preventer on in
March?” There are three possible reasons why:
Pre-emergent products must be watered in thoroughly (at least ½ inch)
within 24 hours to be effective. Otherwise, the sun will break the
If a pre-emergent was put on in March, it was applied about a month too
early and by the 4th of July was worn out and the crabgrass
The pre-emergent crabgrass preventer may have been put on at the right
time, but some products keep working longer than others. Products with
Balan or Benefin (Team) as the active ingredient, has a residual or
lasts only about 60 days. Pendimethalin (Scotts Halts and Miracle-Gro
Pre-emergent) also lasts about 60 days. Barricade (Earl May Crabgrass
Preventer with Barricade and Ferti-lome Crabgrass Preventer) and
Dimension (Crab & Spurge Preventer with Dimension by
year, do not apply your pre-emergent to the lawn until mid to late April
because the crabgrass will not germinate until about the 1st of May.
Then use a product with a long residual. If you want to make sure you
have season long control, put on a second application (preferably
without fertilizer) the first couple of weeks in June. That will give
you control for the rest of the summer. This second application in June
will also help to control Spurge and Foxtail as they do not germinate
until mid June.