Northern & Central Midwest

July, 2013
Regional Report

Watch for Fireblight

Members of the rose family may be susceptible to a bacterial disease called fireblight. It gets its name because plant tips blacken and curl as if burned. If you spot it on serviceberry, pear, apple, or cherry, prune out the diseased tips down to healthy wood. Sterilize pruners with alcohol between each cut.

Be on the Lookout for Tomato Hornworms

The hornworms are amazingly camouflaged, but the dark green droppings and stripped leaves are a sure sign. Handpicking is the easiest control, but if the caterpillar has small white cocoons extending from its body, let it be. These are beneficial wasps that will kill the caterpillar.

Renovate June-Bearing Strawberries

Set the mower high and mow down the strawberry planting as soon as you finish harvesting. Be sure to get rid of all the weeds, and cultivate between the rows to remove runners. Sidedress with compost or general garden fertilizer. Renew the mulch if needed.

Time to Stop Pruning

July 15 is the date to stop pruning in our region. When a plant is pruned, it puts on a flush of new growth. At this time of year new growth may not have time to harden sufficiently to get through the winter without damage. You can resume pruning in fall when plants are going dormant.

Make Successive Sowings

Don't let the summer slip by without putting in second and even third plantings. There's still plenty of time to sow carrots and beets, Chinese cabbage and bush beans, late corn and kohlrabi. Also, get those transplants of broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and kale ready for the garden by hardening them off.

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