Damaged basil perplexes planter

GARDEN Q&A

June 07, 2008|By Ellen Nibali and Jon Traunfeld | Ellen Nibali and Jon Traunfeld,Special to the Sun

All my new basil plants have dead patches on the leaves. Can I treat this?

If the patches are tan, it may be damage from the cold weather. Basil likes it hot. It should recover and put out healthy new growth when temperatures rise. If the patches are dark brown or blackish, it's probably a fungus. There are no fungal sprays that would be appropriate for fungal disease on basil because it is a food plant. Consider replanting.

My neighbor has a new lawn, and it is a lot greener than mine. Does mine need iron? I don't think fertilizer is the problem. I fertilize every fall, and you said to fertilize at half strength in May only if the grass is new or weak. What do you think?

It's unlikely that the soil lacks iron, but a low pH may be making it unavailable. Check the pH and adjust to the proper level.

Another explanation may be that your neighbor planted a newer variety of grass seed. For years, tall fescue varieties have been bred for a darker green color. If your soil is not an issue, you could try overseeding this fall with a new variety of tall fescue for a greener lawn.

Checklist

*Divide and transplant irises after they finish blooming.

*Prune foundation shrubs back so they are at least 1 foot from your house. This helps keep moisture and nuisance insects like ants and earwigs away from your home.

Ellen Nibali, a horticulture

consultant, works at Maryland

Cooperative Extension's Home

and Garden Information Center,

and Jon Traunfeld is the director

of the Home and Garden

Information Center. The center

offers Maryland residents free

gardening information. Call the

center's help line at 800-342-2507

or e-mail plant and pest

questions through the Send a

Question feature at hgic.umd.edu.

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