Banish bug blues with soap, water

GARDEN Q&A

Garden Q&A

August 05, 2006|By JON TRAUNFELD AND ELLEN NIBALI | JON TRAUNFELD AND ELLEN NIBALI,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

WE HAVE HORRIBLE JAPANESE BEETLES ON OUR PLANTS, BUT I KNOW IT'S LATE TO PUT GRUB KILLER ON MY LAWN. DO I NEED TO WORRY?

Most lawns never have a grub problem, just the occasional grub here and there, even when beetle populations are high. Grass roots grow faster than grubs can eat, unless we're having a severe drought.

Ironically, it's the irrigated lawn in the neighborhood that may have the worst grub problem, because Japanese beetles will flock to it at egg-laying time. Soft, moist soil makes egg-laying easier, and baby grubs will flourish there. The good news is that tall fescue lawns should not be watered anyway. In a drought, tall fescue briefly stops growing; it resumes growing when it rains.

Sweep the adult beetles into buckets of soapy water to kill them.

My Stella D'Oro daylilies were great last year and sporadic this year. I heard that repeat-blooming daylilies need different care than regular ones.

That's true. Repeat-blooming daylilies such as Stella D'Oro and Happy Returns should be deadheaded to prolong bloom. Also, they produce bloom on new rhizomes, so they ought to be divided (either spring or fall) about every two years, unlike ordinary daylilies, which can go undivided much longer. Repeat bloomers are also heavy feeders and benefit from fertilization in spring and summer.

Checklist

Run the water out of your hose after turning off the spigot. Water held in the hose under pressure can cause an old hose to burst.

Sow beets, carrots, kale, lettuce, peas, broccoli, spinach and other cool-season vegetables into loose garden soil.

Correction

The July 29 Garden Q&A had an incorrect answer about parasitized hornworms on tomato plants. Hornworms covered with small white cocoons should be left alone so that the wasp parasitoids inside the cocoons can safely complete their lifecycle.

The Sun regrets the error.

Jon Traunfeld, regional specialist, and Ellen Nibali, horticulture consultant, work at Maryland Cooperative Extension's Home and Garden Information Center, which offers Maryland residents free gardening information. Call the center's "hotline" at 800-342-2507 (8 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday through Friday) or e-mail plant and pest questions through the Send a Question feature at hgic.umd.edu.

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.