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 Post subject: Dying plants
PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2003 4:40 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2003 4:19 pm
Posts: 29
I am having some kind of problem in my garden in the backyard. About 2-3 weeks ago, I noticed that my impatients planted in a strawberry pot were sick. I pampered them along, but they got so ratty looking that I cut them back to the soil. Then a pineapple sage plant in the bed started looking sick, it has since died, along with some periwinkles and now my veronicas are being effected. The sage was in a completely different area from the periwinkles. The sage and the periwinkles are in a completely different area from the veronica.

Does anyone have ANY idea what is wrong. I am starting to panic.


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 Post subject: Sick Plants
PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2003 10:25 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 5:33 pm
Posts: 829
Location: Dallas,TX
Are your plants sick, wilting, what? Are they turning brown or yellow or just drooping and dying? How often do you water? Are there pieces of the plant that have been eaten? If this is happening in a line or radiating area it may be some kind of critter. Go out at night and examine your plants, pull up the dead or dying ones and look at the roots.

Here are some suggestions that might help you:
If you have a fungus type infection, you can work cornmeal into the soil around them, water it in and you should get a positive reaction in 24 hours. If that's not the problem, you might have contamination from an herbicide. Lots of mulch and compost are being found to have herbicides in them and will knock the plants out in no time flat. Impatiens have a really hard time when it's this hot, so that could be the problem right there. Pineapple sage is usually fine in the heat but can falter if there is too little water and die in two days. Periwinkles & veronica are very heat tolerant but susceptible to soil fungus. Cornmeal is an incredible healer of these types of problems. Horticultural cornmeal is the best but you can actually buy the cheapest dollar-store cornmeal (NOT cornmeal mix) and it will work like a charm. Use about a cup for every foot the plant is tall; for a 1 foot plant use 1 cup of cornmeal, 2 foot plant use 2 cups of cornmeal. The most I have ever used is 4 cups for a ten foot red tip photinia. It's cheap and it does wonders so no matter what the problem is you'll benefit, whether you end up planting new plants or cure these.

If you suspect strongly or find you have an insect problem, identify the critter if you can and find an organic solution. A broad spectrum treatment that might help is a Neem product (Lowe's carries one called 3 in 1 that comes in a concentrate, which is also helpful with fungus and some other issues, or a product called Bioganic that attacks a nerve receptor chemical found only in insects. I hope this is helpful and saves your yard! :D


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 Post subject: dying plants
PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2003 7:29 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2003 4:19 pm
Posts: 29
Good morning Kathe and thank u for getting back to me. Have been out of town all weekend and just had a chance to read my emails.

The effected plants just turned yellow and died. I looked for bugs on them and looked at the roots when I pulled them up, but found no bugs and the roots looked normal. I water deeply once or twice a week, depending on the temperature. I think lack of water WAS the problem with my veronicas. They are in front of a white wisteria, which getting some yellow leaves. I watered that area well and both the wisteria and veronicas seemed to be ok.

I have not been gardening organically since moving to this house over 3 years ago. When we lived in the Dallas area from '95 to '98, I used a service that had an organic program. My yard was horrible, full of mold, patchy, etc. The yard had a BIG red tip photinia that proceeded to die after we purchased the house. I was also using organic methods on my plants during the week between service. The people across the street used TruGreen and their lawn and plants looked absolutely beautiful all the time. When we moved back to the Dallas area, the house we purchased had a beautiful lawn and plants and the people were using TruGreen, so against my nature, I just continued using them, even though we experienced dying baby birds and other gross stuff. I wouldn't let them come on a regular basis because my conscious knew how awful the stuff they were using was. I was paniced that I would start losing landscape plants if I went back to organic methods. I'm over it - LOL.

Don't care if my plants make it or not, I can't take anymore poison. I'm determined to get back into an organic program. I appreciate all the great advice about the plants and also about the fire ants. I already have some new beds. We truly are having an invasion of them this year - guess that also tells me that my soil is unbalanced.

Haven't made it to the store today for some molasses or cornmeal, but that is the plan for the week. We will see how it goes.


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 Post subject: Sick Plants
PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2003 10:51 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 5:33 pm
Posts: 829
Location: Dallas,TX
Glad to help. Sounds like you need a soil test done. You may have a pH imbalance that's making it impossible for the plants to get what they need. Lots of plants get that yellowing hereas its hard for them to pull up the iron and other trace minerals from this alkaline soil. A foliar spray helps get them through that too. Bioform is great for reviving sick plants as well as for general health. Medina Plus is a great soil treatment that will help loosen up the soil and allow the plants to pull up the nutrients too. Molasses is the cheapest way to go about activating the microbes and getting the nutrients broken down and available to your plants. Hope these tips are helpful too. Let me know how you do. And BRAVO! for refusing to continue poisoning yourself and your environment! :lol: :lol: It's wonderful to hear about another convert!


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 Post subject: fire ants
PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2003 8:56 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2003 4:19 pm
Posts: 29
Hi Kathe - just got the last email from you and I have a favor to ask. My computer crashed and burned with the virus I am sure you heard about. I lost absolutely everything, including the fire ant formula that you sent me. Would you mind sending it again pls. They are unbelievable in my backyard (guess most people would figure out that the soil isn't healthy if that is going on).

Bought some horticultural cornmeal and some liquid molasses at Home Depot on Friday and am ready to start doing battle - LOL. Have to also figure out where I can put a compost pile to get one started. Did I tell u that TruGreen showed up at my house last week? I was dumbfounded. Went out and told the guy that they weren't supposed to be here unless they talked to me only and I told them to appear. He told me that his orders said they had talked with me. Pretty disappointing. Just told him that I don't want to use their service anymore cause I am going to do it myself. I'm still paranoid about them coming again when I am not here. Going to call the office again and reiterate that I want the service cancelled.

Anyway, thanks again for your help.
Sandra


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2003 9:32 am 
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Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 5:33 pm
Posts: 829
Location: Dallas,TX
Sorry to hear about the computer crash. I had one do that a few years ago...messy and expensive! :shock:

Of course I'll give you the fire ant recipe. It's 1 cup of cornmeal, 1 cup molasses, 1 cup compost tea and an ounce of d-limonene concentrate (like Orange TKO) or a cup of orange oil. Mix that together with a gallon of water and drown the mound. Use two gallons for the big mounds. The d-limonene isn't mandatory for the long term kill but it does kill all the ants it contacts (leaving less to sting you) and speeds the process.

To continue the treatment on a broader scale, spread cornmeal (I mix it in with my fertilizer as that's easier) and spread dry molasses once or spray liquid molasses every other week at 2 oz. per gallon water for 3-4 weeks. That ought to kill most of them and chase the rest of the fire ants straight out of your yard. It'll make your turf and plants really happy too. As a final control, put out beneficial nematodes and they will protect your yard from fire ants flying in and any other critters you don't want around. Now that the weather has cooled off and the soil is wet it's a perfect time. If you spray your compost pile with molasses every other week or so you will see it break down much faster. If you'd like to really see for yourself, try this comparison: Pile up your materials and compare how fast it breaks down in a week without the molasses, then apply the molases and watch it shrink twice or three times faster...It's amazing!

TruGreen and those other guys are a pain about showing up. You do have the right to make them stop and to insist that they apply a neutralizing substance like Norit if they "treat" your yard again, especially if they use a pesticide. A written request usually works better for them. Maybe you can find a sign of some kind that says "organic program here" or something like that so they will see it and stop to check on whether they are supposed to be there. Depends on the conscience and intelligence of the particular technician that comes. If they do show up and put junk on your yard, I hope you give them some real heck! :x Good thing you were there to stop them last time. Keep up the good fight! It's well worth the battle in the long run. :D :D 8)


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 Post subject: fire ants
PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2003 10:07 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2003 4:19 pm
Posts: 29
Kathe - thanks again for your information. One last (dumb) question. How do I make compost tea? A cheesecloth with compost in a gallon of water?

Would it be easier to purchase it and is it possible to do that?

Thanks, thanks again - watch out you stinking ants - your time is coming LOL


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 Post subject: Compost Tea
PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2003 8:14 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 5:33 pm
Posts: 829
Location: Dallas,TX
You can make compost tea by soaking some compost in water, then straining it through cheesecloth or some other suitable object or material.
You could go buy a bag of composted manure like Kow Power or something and use that and then add the rest to your soil and put a shovel full in your new compost pile to get it started well. There's also a concentrated liquid compost that's really good and most stores that well organic products will have some type. Take your choice. In my experience the manure based ones work best on the fire ant recipe...lots of good microbes! Go get 'em, girl! :lol:


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 Post subject: dying plants
PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2003 10:55 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2003 4:19 pm
Posts: 29
Good morning Kathe and once againn thx for your info. I didn't get the "normal" notice in my Outlook email that you had answered so I figured I had asked one ignorant question too many. After I posted the question, my brain did kick in and I went back to the website and found the formula for compost tea, so I apologize for being so brain dead as to not think of that first.

I'm out my way out this morning to get some orange oil and then I'm going to spray this evening as I still have the dying plant problem. It is making me nuts cause I can't figure it out.

Can't tell u how much I appreciate the help
Sandra


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