Gardener’s almanac (July 19, 2014)

07/18/2014 12:00 AM

07/17/2014 3:59 PM

Plant for a fall garden – Beans, carrots, beets, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower.

Blossom end rot on tomatoes – Fluctuations between wet and dry conditions probably are what’s behind blossom end rot showing up on some tomatoes, extension agent Rebecca McMahon says. It’s also showing up on squash, Ward Upham of K-State says. It shows up as sunken brown leathery patch. It is temporary, and plants should come out of it in a couple of weeks, Upham says. “You may want to pick off affected fruit to encourage new fruit formation,” he writes in this week’s Horticulture 2014 newsletter.

Bark shedding – I’ve noticed a lot of sycamore bark falling off trees this week. It’s a natural process as trees grow, and some years the shedding is heavier than others, Upham says. Sycamore, London plane and silver maple shed bark in large patches or strips. Older Eastern redbuds that shed tend to reveal orangish-brown inner bark. As long as the shedding bark reveals more bark on the tree and not bare wood, the tree is fine, Upham says.

Walnut caterpillars – Walnut caterpillars have been attacking trees, primarily black walnut, pecan and species of hickory trees, and sometimes also birch, oak, willow, honey locust, and apple trees, Upham says. They congregate in masses and eat leaves, with a new generation of pests soon following the first. Healthy trees can be defoliated once a season without harm, but trees can be treated for aesthetic reasons, extension agent Bob Neier says.

If you can get to leaves with egg masses on them, remove those leaves, Upham says. Bands of Tree Tanglefoot pest barrier also can be used to catch larvae as they move to main branches or the trunk to molt, he says. Insecticides that can be used on the caterpillars include spinosad (Conserve; Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew; Borer, Bagworm, Leafminer and Tent Caterpillar Spray), permethrin (numerous trade names), malathion or cyfluthrin (Tempo, Bayer Vegetable and Garden Insect Spray), Upham says.

Squash bugs – Squash bugs are gray, shield-shaped bugs that feed on squash and pumpkin plants. They must be treated when they are young and soft-bodied. Use a general-use insecticide such as permethrin, malathion, rotenone or methoxychlor. Spray or dust the undersides of the leaves, where the insects live.

Squash vine borers – Squash vine borers can cause squash, zucchini, pumpkins and gourds to suddenly wilt and die. Prevention includes crushing the dull red eggs before they hatch, excavating larvae from stems before they cause much damage, or using an insecticide. Applications should begin when the vines begin to run (too late for that) and be reapplied every seven to 10 days for three to five weeks. Direct the spray at the crown of the plant and the base of runners. Insecticides include permethrin and esfenvalerate (Monterey Bug Buster).

Garden events

Miss Tess & The Talkbacks – Tuesdays on the Terrace this Tuesday will feature music by Miss Tess & The Talkbacks and a theme of Tiger Lilies & Tequila Sunrises. Drinks will be for sale, as will food from Molino’s Mexican Cuisine. Hours are 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.; gardens are open until 7. Cover is $7, or $3 for members.

Growing irises for beauty – Members of the Wichita Area Iris Club will be at Botanica on Wednesday to give a lunchtime lecture on growing irises to add beauty to the landscape. They’ll also show some of the varieties that will be available at the club’s iris sale next weekend. (See details below.) The lecture, at 12:15, is included in Botanica admission.

Iris sale – All sizes of bearded iris will be for sale when the Wichita Area Iris Club has its annual sale next weekend. On July 26, the club will be selling rhizomes from 7 a.m. to noon in the Bison Room of the Extension Center, 21st and Ridge Road, during Tomato Day. On July 27, the sale moves to Botanica, from 1 to 4 p.m. Admission to the sale is free.

Tomato Day – Tomato Day will be from 7 a.m. to noon July 26 at the Extension Center, 21st and Ridge Road. Admission is free.

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