often have we all heard people say "I talk to my plants"?
Numerous times right! But
no one ever says I listen to my plants.
often I see plants crying out for help and their mentors are turning a
blind eye and deaf ear to their problems.
often I see evergreens under stress.
Stress caused by sucking insects such as spider mites.
The mottling and lack luster foliage is evident even from a
distance. The evergreens are crying out in agony as the spider mites
suck from them their vitality and life.
Spider mites are usually found lurking on the undersides of the
foliage looking like dust and feeling like grit.
They love hot dry locations where they may breed a whole new
generation every three to five days.
An occasional strong spraying of water in early morning is a good
natural deterrent. As you
spray listen to the joyful noise as your plants sing in the shower.
the other atrocities I have seen are evergreens sheared back in their
prime. Sheared back to
their old wood leaving no foliage.
Their shrieks of pain in death rival any of those from a Banshee!
Or the other
case of an old fellow lingering on.
His branches straggly, his foliage thin and lack luster, his
craggy voice begging for a revitalizing hard pruning back.
Prune him back and watch him strut his stuff.
He is now a younger more vibrant, vigorous and lush plant.
Listen to him now, singing your praises at the top of his lungs.
for help I hear to often is from a newly planted or occasionally from an
older poorly established one. Their drooping leaves echoing their wailing voices.
Most caregivers who notice assume that it is a lack of water.
But often the plants are shedding tears of excess moisture –they're too wet!
they are dry or they're in shock from poor handling while planting.
In short; pay attention, do not assume, check it out!
Autumn of our lives we have a tendency to shed a few hairs sometimes
balding more than we would like too!
Evergreens in Autumn shed their old foliage as well.
It is a natural occurrence like finding pine needles on a pine
forest floor. But stressed out evergreens loose an excessive amount of
foliage, sometimes loosing all their foliage except those leaves at
their branch tips. This
stressed out condition was caused by adverse conditions like a dry
summer or a lack of food. Give
these plants a little Tender Loving Care (T.L.C.). Feed them with a
winterizing fertilizer, water them in well just before the ground
freezes and screen or wrap them with burlap to
protect them from the winters harsh wind and sun.
Do this and feed them in the spring and by summer they will be
singing the hallelujah chorus!
about shedding foliage, some caregivers must truly be deaf not to hear
the shouts for help from trees affected by apple scab and peach leaf
curl. The former will have
leaves with spots of dark green or black maybe touched with a rusty
edge. Then it rains yellow
leaves and by mid-summer a severe infection will cause almost total
defoliation. To prevent
this, spray them in very early spring with a dormant spray just as their
buds swell. During the growing season spray them with Benomyl.
The same treatment is given for ornamental crabapples which also can
be affected by apple scab.
peach leaf curl the plant's caregiver must truly be blind as well as deaf.
The leaves of their peaches, apricots, almonds and nectarines
will cry out as they become thickened, pink to red in color and
distorted. As the infection
spreads the leaves will yellow and drop.
For some poor plants the infected leaves may even drop green.
Some severe cases of neglect result in limb death and subsequent
amputation. To control or
prevent the agony of peach leaf curl, spray with a dormant spray in
early spring just as the buds swell.
Then to hold the line but not win the battle spray with
a fruit tree spray containing Ferbam during the growing season. It is important to help control the spread of both of these
diseases by removing all leaves and fruit that have fallen to the ground.
walk your garden and observe natures splendor look for small and subtle
changes in your plants. In
late spring listen for the whimpers from your annuals slapped by the
cold. Their tightly curled
leaves shivering in the morning light.
And ask yourself "Did I plant to early?" "Did I
harden them off enough? "Should
I have covered them at night?"
If these cries for help occur later in the season during warm
weather it is usually a sign of an insect attack.
Investigate, determine the safest, effective control and sound the
charge, don't hesitate the enemy won't!
As you continue your stroll through the garden you are like an
orchestra conductor always listening for the discordant note.
As you pass your Rhododendron section you hear it.
Some of their leaves are distorted, puckered, notched or one
sided possibly with their undersides split and peeled. The evidence is clear you have frost damage on broadleaf
evergreens such as Rhododendrons excess growth late in the season is
almost always the cause. To
prevent this avoid all fertilizing of Rhododendrons after the first of
next time you pass a Magnolia tree and hear a subtle whisper in your ear
stop! She is trying to get
your attention. Magnolias
like a slightly acidic soil. Ordinary
fertilizers just won't do. Her
foliage is a pale lime green and her growth is stunted. Treat her to a feeding of an iron enriched fertilizer.
If the Magnolia still lacks color treat her to a dessert of plant
products 25-10-10 acid plant food, Mmmm!
That's even better than chocolate cake!
your plants will require this kind of attention to their color and
their demands and respond with a fertilizer they are begging for.
For quick results use 20-20-20 for vegetative growth and 15-30-15
for flower production.
gardening like in a good relationship one must listen as well as talk
and respond to the others needs. So pay attention!
Look, listen and learn. Do
this and your gardens will resound to the chorus of voices singing your