Every month, we will highlight a few timely, key tips for Maryland homeowners’ lawns and gardens.
- Fruit plants have shallow root systems which are easily damaged by cultivation. Do not cultivate or dig into the soil around small fruits or tree fruits. Hand-pull the weeds and then apply organic mulches to control weeds.
- Practice good sanitation by removing and discarding all fallen leaves and fruits.
- Squash vine borer larvae are feeding inside squash and pumpkin stems. Monitor plants for signs of wilting and entrance holes on lower stems. You may see sawdust-like frass around the hole. Stems may contain more than one larva. They can feed inside the stems for up to 2 weeks. Here’s the easiest and surest method of control: cut a slit above the hole with a razor, remove the 1 inch long white larva with a brown head, and mound up soil around the wound.
- Early blight of tomatoes is widespread now. This fungal disease causes small, irregular brown lesions with a yellow halo on lower leaves. The spots have a bull’s eye pattern. They will enlarge and entire leaves will turn yellow and then die. Defoliation can then lead to sunscald of tomato fruits. Remove badly infected lower leaves, keep a thick organic mulch around plants, and avoid overhead watering. Applications of tri-basic copper will slow down severe infections.
Soil and Mulch:
- Have your soil tested, if you have not had your lawn or garden soil tested for the past 3-4 years. Many plant problems can be solved by correcting soil deficiencies.
- Select pine bark or hardwood mulches, not wood chips, for use around your home to minimize the possibility of attracting termites. Avoid any hardwood mulches that contain chunks.