Don't Give Up on Beetle-Damaged Plants
Don't despair about the skeletonized leaves on your roses, hydrangeas, Japanese maples, and other plants. That's likely due to metallic-green Japanese beetles. Damaged roses and perennials will likely grow new leaves this season, especially if you remove the damaged ones. The beetles' feast will end soon. Adults only live from 35 to 40 days in the summer heat before reproducing and dying.
Spray Caterpillars With Bt
Cabbage worms, cabbage loopers, and diamond back moth larvae chew on the leaves of cole crops -- cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, collards, kale, mustard greens, turnip greens, rutabaga, and kohlrabi. My neighbor Deirdre highly recommends weekly spraying with Bacillus thuringiensis. The biological insecticide Bt (Dipel, Vegetable Insect Attack) is very effective because it kills caterpillars but does not kill other insects. That leaves beneficial insects alive to help control pests.
Report Kudzu Sitings
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has a toll-free Kudzu Hotline. Residents are encouraged to call (877) 464-9333 to report kudzu sightings. Kudzu is an invasive, climbing vine problematic on the East Coast and into the Midwest. The green leaf has three lobed leaflets. Its flower is purple. For photos and more plant information, go to: http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=PUMO&photoID=pumo_006_ahp.tif.
Pick, Water, Weed Veggie Patch
Vegetable gardens are flourishing in the summer sun and heat. Pole and runner beans, beets, cucumbers, onions, summer squash, tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers are at their best. The more you pick, the more the plants will produce. So enjoy and share the bounty! Be sure to water by soaking the soil (not plant leaves) regularly to keep plants blossoming and forming vegetables.
Turn Compost and Add Organic Matter
Continue composting green and brown material in a 50:50 ratio. Turn the pile to hasten the process. Nitrogen-rich green material includes vegetable and fruit scraps, tea bags, and leaves clipped from annuals and perennials. Add grass clippings to speed up decomposition. Carbon-rich brown materials include leaves, twigs, nut shells, and shredded newspaper. Do not add weeds! If the heap is dry, sprinkle with water. Keep compost covered to retain moisture.