Northern & Central Midwest

August, 2005
Regional Report

Don't Let Blossom End Rot Ruin Your Tomatoes

Keep watching for blossom end rot on tomatoes. The fruits will develop black, canker-like spots at the base. Make sure your garden beds are mulched and that the plants get even moisture. Otherwise, an alternating moist-dry cycle can cause the rot and make the tomatoes inedible.

Reseed Bare Spots in the Lawn

Choose the proper mix of grass seed according to your sunlight conditions. Cultivate the soil lightly and broadcast seed. Water gently and cover with hay or straw. Keep the soil moist until the seeds germinate, and avoid mowing until the plants are 4 to 5 inches tall.

Check for White Grubs

If you have dead patches of grass that pull back like a carpet, check for annual white grubs. A few grubs per square foot are nothing to worry about, but if you find 10 to 12 per square foot you may want to treat the lawn with beneficial nematodes or milky spore, both of which are nontoxic to people and pets. Frequent watering may help grass recover.

Divide Peonies and Daylilies

Peonies and daylilies can be moved or divided at the end of the month. Be sure to water them well beforehand, and dig the plants with a sizeable ball of soil to assure that there are plenty of roots. Replant immediately and water well. Cover with mulch.

Water Fruit Crops Regularly

Water fruit trees deeply to preserve the crop. If apples, plums, and pears don't receive adequate moisture as the fruits are developing the trees may bear small, hard fruits or may abort the crops altogether. Be sure to mulch them well and stop pruning or fertilizing.

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