It’s Spring, or just about officially. Here in the desert it has been for a while now. Spring or the “vernal” season means just that-things are growing,blooming,thriving….it is “the season”. There may be some things you don’t want or don’t appreciate in the garden or landscape. Now is probably the time to prevent them from happening just as it is time to plant and cultivate the things you desire!
Olives-they are in bloom and if you don’t want a crop of olive fruit falling on and staining your driveway, perhaps you should spray now with florel “fruit eliminator”. timing is everything and it has to be done as the blossoms are open-they are now!
Spurge-this low growing weed is beginning to make it’s warm weather appearance now. This rascal has become one of the real nuisances in the landscape of late. It produces copious amounts of seed so even if you spray,pull, or eliminate the plant, new generations seem to reappear rapidly. Using a pre emergent containing “dimension” is the most effective way to reduce or eliminate spurge.
Mildew-those of you who grow roses and or grapes may already be seeing some type of mildew on your plants and with another rain and 85 degree temps it likely will be on the rampage in days to come. Mildew as most fungi are easier to prevent than to cure. Use soil sulfur on the ground around susceptible plants like roses and grapes, don’t over water and don’t water at night, keep leaves washed off if possible, and using a fungicide that controls mildew preventatively will give you the best results!
Caterpillars-Now i know this is a toucy one. some of you want butterflies and will accept the damage the caterpillars are doing in order to get the beauty that preceeds or follows them and hence this paragraph is not for you. On the other hand there are some plants that become completely destroyed and the butterfly or moth that is the end result is not worth putting up with the damage. This is something you’ll have to deal with individually. In recent years there has been quite a bit of widespread damage on bougainvilleas, tecomas, and Texas mountain laurel plants in our landscapes. This year may in fact even be worse. With a relatively warm and wet winter/spring the population of these critters is bound to explode. If you have any of these plants in your garden be on the look out. Fortunately we have some very effective and safe controls for them. B.T. aka Thuricide or Dipel is a non toxic control and very effective. Spinosad has also been used with success and it has a wider range of other pests it can control yet is very safe in the garden and can be used on edibles. Of course if you like a challenge you can hand pick them off (they’re great with a little garlic an butter i’m told) just kidding – I think!
Sun Damage-Have any smooth barked trees in your landscape? Citrus,newly planted fruit trees, ash, ficus? Nothing can be more damaging than sunburned trunks on new/young trees or those heavily pruned. Protect the trunks by using a natural colored tree paint and applying lots of bark mulch around the base of the trees. Bark mulch in fact can reduce the loss of moisture and prevent a lot of damage from hot drying winds and sun on any kind of plant or garden. We don’t do a very good job of mulching because of our use of decomposed granite in the landscape here. I’d suggest even scraping back the rock and putting bark mulch around the trees and shrubs even if it is temporary (for just the summer or until the plant can grow enough to shade the ground around itself).
Now that we’ve dealt with what not to have come on in and see what’s newly arrived this week that you do want to have in your landscape!! Vinca, moss rose, pentas, malabar spinach and lots of new warm weather vegetables, pinneapple guave, photinia, raphiolepsis, plumbago,more citrus, trichocereus cacti ready to bloom……..Its Time To Plant Something-don’t just sit there and read any more of this!!!!!