Impatiens may cause impatience

Garden Q&A

March 15, 1998

Instead of spending a lot of money on flower transplants this spring, I want to grow my own impatiens, begonias and petunias. How do I begin?

The three flowers you mention have very small seeds that are difficult to work with. The plants also need high temperatures to germinate and grow (70-75 degrees), come up very slowly and take a long time (12-24 weeks) to get to transplanting size.

You may want to continue buying these plants and to grow from seed some easier flowers, such as marigolds, zinnias, nasturtiums and salvias. These are less exacting in temperature requirements. They may be started later this month or in early April under cool white fluorescent bulbs.

I'm planning to order two Heritage raspberry bushes. When should I plant them and will they make fruit the first year?

If your plants are "tissue cultured" (grown in a greenhouse), it's best to wait and plant them during the first two weeks of May. If they are bare-root plants grown outside, they can be planted now.

Heritage is a fall-bearing raspberry. Your plants may produce a light crop this year.

We recommend that you cut your plants to ground level in December. Next year's growth will produce a heavy crop beginning in late August.

The past two springs, the leaves on my two peach trees curled like someone poured hot water on them. They also turned pink and purple. What causes this and what can I do about it?

You are describing the symptoms of peach leaf curl, a very common fungal disease that shows up after leaves unfold in the spring.

The disease organism over-winters in the dormant flower buds and is most noticeable during cool, wet spring weather. Though the symptoms are dramatic in appearance, this is not a serious disease; trees that drop leaves refoliate quickly.

Peach leaf curl is easily prevented by thoroughly spraying your trees when buds begin to swell, but before they open. Use liquid lime sulfur, an inexpensive and readily available fungicide.

Garden tips are provided by the Home and Garden Information Center of the Cooperative Extension Service of the University of Maryland. For additional information on these questions, or if you have questions of your own, call the center's hot line at 800-342-2507 or visit its Web site at http: //www.agnr.umd.edu/hgic.

Checklist

* Remove branches from trees and shrubs damaged by weather or wildlife.

* Begin feeding pond fish again. Their winter dormancy is over.

* Cut poison ivy vines to ground level and remove them from your property. Wear gloves and a long-sleeved shirt. Never burn poison ivy vines; the poison can spread by air.

Pub Date: 3/15/98

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