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  • What’s wrong with my _______ plant?

This is definitely our most commonly asked question, particularly in summer.  While the “standard” answer is often related to water and watering, our Guardian Angels offer “sage” advice for a variety of different culprits and challenges.

From Jen:

It is helpful for us to see either samples or really good pictures - it is difficult to diagnose a problem without seeing it. In many cases at this time of year, lack of water is the culprit. While it’s true that we’re getting rainfall, it isn’t a sufficient amount for your plants – particularly those recently planted. Check your irrigation or drip system! 10 minutes daily at five gallons of water per hour barely fills a mayonnaise jar - not enough to keep most plants alive!

Cool-season lawns (bluegrass, fescue, park blend) have difficulty maintaining through extended periods of elevated heat and humidity. They thrive at around 70 degrees, can handle 80 degrees, but show signs of stress when temperatures are 90+ for extended period. Fungal stressors are also common in summer, and sometimes a bit more common in lawns cared for by lawn-care companies because blades touch different lawns and travel from house to house.

A handful of pests have recently appeared. Thrips are problematic this year... on roses and hardy hibiscus. They are very tiny, but fairly easy to control. Bring a sample of a damaged leaf for verification and ask your Gardening Angel for a recommended treatment.

From Sue:

It may very well be that something is chewing on your plant, like a grasshopper or worm.  Shapes and signs of damage are very different.  BT spray is good for worms on petunias and other flowering plants.  Lack of water is also common.  We get a little rain and think, "I don't need to water for a few days."   The effect of rain is basically nil:  it rains  1/10th of one inch and the roots are below the surface 12”.  It’s also worthy of mention that “smart” watering systems shut off when moisture is detected, and some also react to the weather forecast. Be vigilant!  Override or turn the "smart" part of your system off - YOU are SMARTER.

How much water does a shrub need? Here's an easy “rule of thumb”: the larger the plant, the more water it needs. Check your drip system! A shrub that needs 10 gallons of water requires that you leave your two gallon-per-hour drip system running for five hours. To be certain a tree is sufficiently watered, create a berm at the outer edge of branches (drip line), turn on your hose today, and turn it off tomorrow.

TIP: Remember that plants display stress from the outside inward.  If leaves turn brown at the edges, your plant needs more water. It is extremely rare for a plant to die because it has been overwatered.

From Jesse:

Good question!  A browning lawn can happen for a number of reasons:  lack of water, too much water, or fungal issues.  Best advice:  bring healthy and unhealthy lawn samples for a side-by-side comparison and diagnosis.  Dig down, include the roots, create a “patch” of lawn. The best place to sample is the area that transitions from healthy to damaged greenery so we can compare the two closely.

Now is a GREAT time to brighten and beautify. We have a BOGO going on! Not sure what to plant or how to arrange?  Talk to Sue in the bedding house for best placement and practices.

2022 Botanical Interest Seeds have arrived! We will NEVER have a better selection, so this is the perfect time to plan ahead and pick your selections for next year's garden!

Once again, we appreciate your business and look forward to seeing you again soon!

Richard, Jennifer, and Your Gardening Angels


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