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Port Washington Garden Club


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This month in the garden...

 

"The best way to make sure you're removing a weed and not a valuable plant? If it comes out of the ground easily it's a valuable plant."

Anonymous

 

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Tips & Tricks

Planting

1) If you want to plant beans in the Port Washington area, wait until mid-June so the soil warms up.

2) Always prepare a $10.00 hole for a $5.00 plant. Site preparation is extremely important.

3) Always put a permanent plant marker in when planting. In the Spring, weeds and flowers look very much alike.  Printing the plant's name on a flat rock placed next to it is an easy and inexpensive marker.

4) Use a sharp knife to divide tubers and fleshy-rooted perennials. A clean cut causes less disease and the cuts heal faster.

5) Get a livestock scoop at the feed mill to help in potting, moving fertilizer, etc.

6) If you want to propagate buddleia (Butterfly Bush) or ground cover sedum, simply stick cuttings from the mother plant in the ground where you want the new plants. Fifty percent of the cuttings will root.

7) Fill the bottoms of large pots with crushed plastic (e.g. milk cartons) or styrofoam packing peanuts. You'll need less soil and the planter will be lighter in weight.

Nurturing the garden

1) Rather than install plastic edging, create a garden border by compressing mulch into a shaped groove. It looks good and its easy to maintain and mow around. (See illustration)

2) Coffee grounds are a good organic mulch.  With our alkaline soil, they may help produce blue hydrangea blooms.

3) Remove the top bud on a stalk of gladiolus. That way all the buds on the stalk will open.

4) When first planting peonies, remove all the flower buds for the first few years to help the plants mature. This will ensure better blooms in the future.

Living with critters

1) Put soap shavings or human hair (talk to your hair salon) around plants to discourage rabbits.

2) Deer and other pests don't eat daffodils or alliums, but love tulips and hyacinths, foliage, flower and bulb.

3) Avoid garden fights with your pets. In a fenced yard, leave a "dog path" of mulch next to the fence. They won't wear off grass and flowers trying to patrol their territory, they won't track as much mud into the house, and you will have a path to tend the rear of your garden or a neat mowing edge away from the fence

 

Gypsy Moths

The gypsy moth has arrived in Wisconsin, and we need to watch for signs of this destructive pest.  Unlike other insects, the female gypsy moth does not fly -- it depends on "hitching a ride" to get to its final destination.  For this reason, it is important to inspect vehicles and items transported from areas infested with these pests to be sure they are not carrying the insects or their eggs.

MOTHS FOUND IN PORT WASHINGTON

On August 13, 2002, we discovered our first gypsy moth egg masses here in Port Washington on a sugar maple tree in our front yard.  The masses were laid under loose chunks of bark that were still attached to the tree.  An arborist was visiting to check out some tree problems and when he popped off one of the pieces of bark, the egg mass was found.  Next to the egg mass was an empty pupa case.  See photos below (click on the image for a larger view).

Gypsy moth egg mass

Dead gypsy moth caterpillar and empty pupa case

The egg mass is a tan-colored mass that looks kind of like suede -- Slightly fuzzy.  We found the one in the photo above on a sugar maple tree, underneath some loose bark.  Since the egg mass was on a loose piece of bark, I simply popped it into the microwave oven and cooked it for three minutes to kill the eggs.  DO NOT simply scrape the eggs off onto the ground or into the trash, they will still hatch!  Follow the tips on the Gypsy Moth Information Page (below) to dispose of the eggs.

We found a second mass on August 15 in the trunk of a hollow apple tree, along with the female moth.  I killed the moth and will spray the egg mass with an oil spray -- this will suffocate the eggs.

MORE INFORMATION

The link below will take you to a very informative web page set up by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.  It has great photos of gypsy moths, their caterpillars and their egg masses so that you can identify them when you see them in your garden.  It also has information on killing the eggs and gives tips on how to avoid serious infestation.

Go to the USDA gypsy moth information page

This is another useful link, from Nova Scotia:

Visit a gypsy moth information page from Nova Scotia

If you have trouble viewing these pages, contact the club via email and we'll make sure you get a copy of the documents!

 

 

Port Washington Garden Club, PO Box 492, Port Washington, Wisconsin 53074
Registered 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization