Northern & Central Midwest

May, 2008
Regional Report

Troubleshoot Poor Bloom on Lilacs

If your lilacs aren't blooming like they should, check the amount of sun they receive since lilacs won't bloom well in shade. If they are old, consider renewal pruning to promote new growth since they bloom on new wood. Make sure to prune lilacs soon after they blossom since if you wait until late summer or early the next spring, you'll remove the flower buds. Check for borers or scale and manage these pests.

Watch for Oystershell Scale

Check ash, redbud, birch, dogwood, hemlock, maple, willow, and lilac for oystershell scale. These off-white oblong immobile scales can cause plant decline, so keep plants vigorous to fend off attack. If detected, use insecticidal soap or horticultural oil for control when the immature stages are crawling on the plant.

Wait Till Soil Warms to Plant Beans

Don't be in a hurry to sow your beans. They are sensitive to cold and especially to frost, so make sure to time them to be growing well after the last frost date. The soil should be about 55 to 60 degrees for the best germination. Plant every two to four weeks until August.

Take Care of Lawn

Your lawn should be actively growing so this is a good time for core-aerating and overseeding. Control weeds early before they become established, and fertilize with about a pound of nitrogen per thousand square feet. Keep an eye out for grub damage and sod webworm.

Watch for Black Spot on Roses

Now that roses are actively producing new foliage, keep an eye out for black spot, a fungal disease that can defoliate a plant. Avoid wetting the leaves when you water and make sure plants have good air circulation. Use the Cornell mix of 1 tablespoon baking soda and 1 teaspoon soap in a gallon of water every 4 days for prevention.

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