Northern & Central Midwest

July, 2014
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.

Prune Suckers and Watersprouts

Although all other pruning should stop now, prune out ground-level sucker growth from crab apple, apple, plum, peach, and apricot trees by cutting out growth below soil level. Also, prune out weak, green but very fast-growing watersprouts that grow vertically from branches of fruit trees, redbuds, or other ornamental flowering trees.

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