Northern & Central Midwest

July, 2006
Regional Report

Watch for Blackspot on Roses

Monitor roses closely for blackspot. Conditions earlier this season were perfect for encouraging this fungal condition. Remove any leaves that show darkened circles with fuzzy margins on either the tops or undersides of leaves; yellow foliage with dark spots; and any leaves that have already dropped from the plant. In the future, choose disease-resistant roses.

Divide Oriental Poppies

If necessary, dig and divide Oriental poppies as their foliage yellows and dries. Always plant poppies in sunny, well-drained areas. Avoid moving plants, if possible. Since poppies fade out by midsummer, plant annuals or later-blooming perennials in front to conceal their unattractive yellowing foliage.

Identify Insects

Monitor closely for insects but don't immediately get out the chemicals. The most critical part of pest control is correct identification. Many have natural enemies, and using harsh pesticides will also kill the predators. Also, many pests can be disposed of with periodic strong sprays with the hose.

Let Turf Go Dormant in High Summer

During drought or times of water conservation, allow turf to go dormant. The grass crowns should be kept alive with about 1/4 inch of water every two weeks. When it's not dormant, mow the grass at 3 inches or more to keep it from stress. As always, let grass clippings fall.

Watch for Drought Stress on Mature Trees

When mature maples, birch, and ash die from the top down, it may be due to drought stress. Mature trees need 1 to 2 inches of water per week over two applications. Water long and deeply instead of briefly every day. Drought stress from last year may increase failure to thrive this year.

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