Northern & Central Midwest

July, 2007
Regional Report

Handpick Colorado Potato Beetles

Larvae and adults of the Colorado potato beetle feed on potato leaves throughout the summer. Heavy infestations can devastate potatoes and transmit disease. Look for orange eggs on the undersides of leaves and scrape off with a fingernail. Handpick and drop adult and immature beetles into a bucket of soapy water.

Watch for Leaf Spot on Tomatoes

Septoria leaf spot will begin to show up after plants have begun to set fruit and can cause rapid defoliation in warm, wet weather. Symptoms include circular spots with tan centers and dark margins. Water plants at soil level and maintain optimum fertility levels to help plants fend off the disease. Next year, try copper wires at the bases.

Don't Fret Mushrooms in Mulch

Mushrooms growing in your mulch is no cause for worry. The process of decomposition in organic mulches, especially wood chips, involves fungi, but they do no harm. Simply stir the mulch, and the slime molds, puffballs, and other mushrooms will usually go away. You may want to remove stinkhorns, however, because of their unpleasant scent.

Time to Divide Crowded Iris

If your plants bloomed weakly, if they are tightly packed in the bed, if it has been more than four years since you planted them, and if they are finished blooming for the season, dig the rhizomes. Cut off sections without leaves or buds, and sections that are thin, weak, or diseased. Cut the fans in half and replant at soil level.

Take Care of Your Rain Barrel

It rains less frequently in summer, and mosquitoes bred in standing water. Cover your rain barrel with a very fine screen and empty the barrel at 10-day or shorter intervals to prevent mosquito breeding. Keep the barrel covered to prevent children or animals from accidentally falling in. Elevate your barrel to keep the water pressure high enough to flow out the spigot.

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