BEECH TREES ARE DYING, AND NOBODY’S SURE WHY

Originally posted at CFAES.OSU.EDU

A confounding new disease is killing beech trees in Ohio and elsewhere, and plant scientists are sounding an alarm while looking for an explanation.

In a study published in the journal Forest Pathology, researchers and naturalists from The Ohio State University and metroparks in northeastern Ohio report on the emerging “beech leaf disease” epidemic, calling for speedy work to find a culprit so that work can begin to stop its spread.

 

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Managing Cucurbit Powdery Mildew

By Sally Miller, Plant Pathologist OARDC, Originally posted on July 26, 2018 on the VegNet Newsletter

Powdery mildew arrived this week on squash, pumpkins and other cucurbits throughout Ohio. It is a little late – we often see it by early- to mid-July.  The fungus that causes cucurbit powdery mildew does not overwinter in Ohio, so the disease does not appear until spores arrive on wind currents from warmer growing areas.  This fungus is an unusual plant pathogen in that it is inhibited by free water – so frequent rains may delay powdery mildew’s appearance, at least to a notable level.  Signs of infection are small circular powdery growths (mycelium and spores of the pathogen) on either side of the leaf. These spots enlarge and can eventually cover most of the leaf surface and kill the leaves.  Stems and leaf petioles are also susceptible, but the disease is not observed on fruit.  In pumpkins, powdery mildew may also attack the “handles”, which can be further damaged by secondary pathogens.

 

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Summer Season Extension Using Shade Fabric for Cool Weather Crops

By: Tim McDermott, Franklin County Extension Educator, Orginially posted on August 2, 2018 in the VegNet Newsletter

 

Season Extension is when a vegetable, herb or fruit is grown outside its normal growing season using protection from the elements in some way.  While it is most commonly used over the winter to take advantage of Ohio’s four seasons of growing, it is also applicable in summer when growing vegetables that prefer cooler weather.  A part of the community garden plot opened up after cucurbit production decreased from cucumber beetle damage and bacterial wilt.

Was planted with zucchini and cucumbers from mid-May until late July

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Soil Temps Determine Planting Time

Originally posted on the Buckeye Yard and Garden onLine- May 21, 2018

By: Erik Draper

Soil Thermometer

One of the most often asked vegetable questions during this early season is “How soon can I plant my tomatoes and peppers in the garden?”  There are two reasons that the northeast Ohio gardener’s rule of thumb is “wait for Memorial Day” before planting out the tender annuals like tomatoes, peppers and green beans.  The first reason is the possibility of a frost is almost eliminated by waiting until Memorial Day.  Those tender annual plants like squash, tomatoes, green beans and peppers, cannot tolerate a frost event or even lower temperatures at all!

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Hardy Succulents

Lori A. Reehorst, Penn State Master Gardener, Originally posted at Penn State Extension Master Gardener Programs

Hardy succulents are a delight to those who consider themselves to have a black thumb.The word succulent literally means “juicy plant.” Most are hardy to USDA zone 5 (-10 to -20) and some can survive in temperatures as low as (-30 to -40). They easily propagate and are low maintenance. They can be severely neglected and still thrive. In fact, the only growing requirement that cannot be deviated from is that hardy succulents must be planted in well-drained soil to ensure adequate drainage.

Do you live in an area where your soil has a lot of clay? No problem – just amend the soil with 50% or more of pumice, perlite, coarse grit or sand and you’ll be ready to plant hardy succulents. To reveal the fullest most robust colors of hardy succulents, full sun planting is recommended.

For optimal growth, a 5-10-10 fertilizer is recommended 1-2 times during spring. The numbers for the fertilizer stand for the nutrient components: Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K). Bone meal (a mixture of ground animal bones, 4-12-0) can be applied to the soil anytime. Bone meal is basically a boost of Phosphorus which is promoting root and tissue growth.

Common hardy succulents that are often found in local greenhouses include SempervivumSedum, and Delosperma;rarer species includes Jovibarba heuffeliiRosularia and Orostachys. To find these plants you usually have to scour specialty greenhouses or rock garden suppliers.

Sempervivum (sem-per-VIV-um)

also called Hens and Chicks, are very popular hardy succulents and this word translates to mean “Live Forever.” There are over 3,000 cultivars and they have many different textures and forms. Most Sempervivum produce tight clumps that form mounds and their colors are not only shades of green, but can also include silver-blues, purple, red, orange, brown and delicate pinks. Sempervivum propagate by producing at least four “baby chicks” per growing season. Chicks can be left attached to the mother plant or removed to start new a new plant elsewhere.

Houseleek, Sempervivum, Stone Garden

Sedum (SEE-dum)

also called Stonecrop, has two primary shapes. It is shaped like low spreading ground cover or can be a two foot shrubby mound. They look great both in the landscape and in containers mixed with other plants. Colors range from smoky blue to rich burgundy. Provided it gets enough light, Sedum will produce flowers. Propagation occurs easily by removing and replanting the plant’s offsets, replanting cuttings, or by allowing the plant to self-seed.

Sedum Rubrotinctum, Sedum, Plant, Summer

Delosperma (delo-o-SPERM-a)

is the favored “Ice Plant.” It is often used as ground cover and is ideal for planting in rock gardens. This attractive succulent has fleshy green foliage, low spreading stems and bright shimmering flowers that add color and texture to gardens. You can reduce reflected heat and glare by planting them in areas covered with gravel mulch.

Ice Plant, Delosperma'S, Blossom, Bloom

Jovibarba heuffelii (yohv-ih-BAR-ba | heff-EL-ee-eye)

one of the lesser known hardy succulents, is also called Jupiter’s Beard. This succulent is commonly mistaken as Hens and Chicks. They offer a palate of rich colors that do not fade in the scorching sun. This unique succulent is multiplied by cutting the offsets (baby plants) which often grow between the leaves of the mother plant with a knife. If you choose to not multiply this plant, it will grow into a large beautiful mounding clump. Each plant produces five or more new rosettes each season. Propagation can also occur by seed however since these plants are hybrids, the new seedling will not be identical to the mother plant.

Two more rare and interesting hardy succulents are Rosularia (ros-uh-LAIR-ee-a) which resembles small Hen and Chicks growing in dense clusters and Orostachys (or-oh-STAK-ees), often called Dunce-Caps. Both look similar to Sempervivum, but are in fact closely related to sedum. These two interesting plants take a little more effort to grow, but are worth it.

If you choose to grow hardy succulents in containers more attention is needed for drainage. A typical succulent container mix is half peat moss or compost and half drainage material such as perlite, coarse sand, coarse vermiculite or pumice. Adding bone meal or a low nitrogen slow release fertilizer such as 2-10-10 is also recommended when planting in containers.

Although all of the above plants enjoy full sun and are drought tolerant, succulents are not cactus and to remain their healthiest, they should be watered weekly if there is no rain in the forecast. If your succulents are located in the shade, less watering is needed. Ideally, soil should dry thoroughly between waterings. The most common pest for succulents is aphids. Rinsing the plant with a strong stream of water is often enough to dislodge the aphids.

Another beautiful use of hardy succulents is in Living Art. This is the placement of succulent cuttings in a shadow box for vertical display. The cuttings take root after a few weeks and the shadow box is then hung or leaned against a wall outside. As long as a some shelter is provided in the winter, such as being placed in an unheated garage, the succulents in your Living Art will continue to thrive once spring arrives. If you start your succulent plantings this year – you’ll be well on your way to having enough cuttings to make your own Living Art next year! Hardy succulents really can be grown by anyone – even those who profess to have a black thumb.

 

**Photos not in original article. Photos added for this this blog. Photos from Pixabay.

Roses Knocked Back By Winter Cold

-Pam Bennett- Originally posted May 11, 2018 in the Buckeye Yard and Garden onLine updates.

carpet rose in bloom

Several types of roses in Central and Southern (confirmed by Joe Boggs) were knocked back pretty good by cold winter weather.  While trimming my shrub and carpet-type roses in early April I noticed quite a bit of dead wood.  I had to really trim them back to a height of about six inches.  They are looking great right now as the new growth is vigorous.  I completely lost one climbing rose and another one was killed back to the crown.  The new growth on this one is coming from the root stock.

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Growing Vegetables in Straw Bales

By Craig LeHoullier- Originally posted in Gardeners Supply Company Website – April 25, 2018

Tomatoes growing in straw bales

CONSIDER the humble bale of straw. Think beyond its reputation as a Halloween decoration and picture it as a productive part of your garden. The concept is simple: As the straw begins to break down, it turns into a rich, compostable planter that’s ideal for growing vegetables.

Although the practice of gardening in straw bales dates back to ancient times, I learned of it only a decade ago during a chance encounter with a local straw-bale guru, Kent Rogers. When my publisher asked me to write about straw-bale gardening, I tested the techniques in my own gardens and was quite impressed with the results.

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