August 23, 1996

Enjoy Spring-Flowering Bulbs Indoors and in the Garden

Tulips, daffodils, crocuses, and other spring-flowering bulbs are a welcome sight in the garden in the spring. Many spring-flowering bulbs also can be forced indoors during winter.

When buying bulbs, select large, firm bulbs. Avoid soft or blemished bulbs. Small bulbs may not bloom well.

Forcing Spring-Flowering Bulbs Indoors

Summer Patch on Turf

Lawns have been suffering this summer from a number of health problems. Other than the environmental problems (heat and moisture stress), one common culprit has been the summer patch fungus. Summer patch symptoms include circular patches of straw-colored grass, up to a foot or more across, often with green grass in the center of the patch. These patches are most common in sunny and hot areas (such as south-facing slopes). The browning typically starts during July or August.

Transplanting Peonies

Peonies can be left undisturbed for many years. Sometimes, however, it becomes necessary to move established plants. Peonies shaded by large trees or shrubs bloom poorly and should be moved to a sunny site. Large, old plants may become overcrowded and flower poorly. Large, old plants should be dug, divided, and transplanted to improve performance. The best time to move and divide peonies is September.

Cross-pollination Between Vine Crops

As I become more experienced and knowledgeable in the areas of gardening and raising children, I have observed that they have something in common - there is a lot of folklore and half-truths about each that has been passed down from one generation to the next. For both, the folklore may come in the form of problem diagnosis, treatment, or simple tips on growing (or child-rearing) techniques.

Fall Division of Perennials

Fall is an excellent time of year to move and divide many spring and summer blooming perennials. Fall is not a good time to move fall blooming perennials. A good rule of thumb is to divide perennials opposite their season of bloom. By dividing the plant when it is not flowering, all the energy it produces can be directed to root and foliage growth. Fall division should take place from early September to mid-October. Allow at least 4 to 6 weeks before the ground freezes for the plants to become established.

New Amendments to WPS

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is amending the 1992 Worker Protection Standard (WPS). The two amendments will go into effect August 26, 1996. Implementation of the amendments is intended to make the WPS more practical and flexible for states and farmers, while maintaining safeguards for agricultural workers. The summary amendments consist of:

change requirements for decontamination stations when lower toxicity pesticides are used, allow the use of languages other than Spanish when appropriate, and

Quince Rust

We have received a number of hawthorn and crabapple samples with quince rust in the Plant Disease Clinic. Quince rust is common on these hosts and often results in severe deformation of plant tissue. This rust is often seen with its cousin--another Gymnosporangium rust called cedar-apple rust.