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Growin’ Green

Don’t Let Mosquitoes Ruin Your Summer

By Brent Gray


To keep populations of this summer pest to a minimum, eliminate all standing water because that is where mosquitoes breed. This in-cludes children’s unattended swimming pools, buckets, and trash cans as well as their lids. Fill in depressions that can hold water after a rain.  If you have an ornamental pool, a few fish will be happy to keep the mosquito larvae under control. For larger bodies of water, consider the biological control, Bacillus thuringiensis Israelensis. The bacteria are a strain of the more familiar Bt, which attacks cabbage loopers and other caterpillars. It is available as a spray or as slow-release briquettes. Check for this product at your local garden center that carries water gardening supplies.
 
Pruning
Cut away suckers that grow from below the graft union on roses and fruit trees.  When shearing hedges, remember to shape them so that when you look at the hedge from the side, the bottom is wider than the top.  This will ensure that the lower branches get plenty of light and there will be thick growth all the way to the ground.
 
Leaf Scorch
During periods of hot weather and intense sunlight, leaves of some trees, especially newly planted ones, will scorch along the outside edge.  This brown edge is also common on Japanese maples.  Newly planted trees don’t have sufficient roots to meet the demands of the tree, and Japanese maples are simply stressed by high temperatures. Water frequently–more than once per week if needed to keep the ground evenly moist, but not soaking wet.
 
Vegetables
July has been an unusually cool month and the vegetable garden has both positive and negative responses. Tomatoes and bell pepper have set fruit later than normal and cucumbers and squash have retained their productivity when these crops normally slow their growth. On the other hand, eggplant and okra are sub par in both number and size of fruit.
Don’t let the cooler temperatures fool you into not irrigating. The cooler air is also drier and the amount of water the plants use is not diminished. Container gardeners should be particularly alert to signs of wilt.
Pumpkin growers should be looking for signs of gummy stem blight on their young plants. Watermelon fields are succumbing to this disease now and the spores are spread by the wind.  The diseases starts as a yellowing or water soaked small lesion on the leaves.  The lesions eventually turn brown. Remove affected leaves or apply fungicide when you notice the symptoms.
Mark October 17 and 18 on your calendar for the Truck Crops Experiment Station Fall Flower and Garden Fest. Plants have already been established for this display of vegetable and flower possibilities that take advantage of the long fall growing season in Mississippi.

Horticulture Tips:
Lelia Kelly, David Nagel

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