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Dallas Morning News - June 16, 2016


JUNE ORGANIC MAINTENANCE

 
PLANT: All warm-season grasses - Bermudagrass, zoysia, St. Augustine, and buffalograss by solid sod; Bermuda, buffalo grasses and other native grasses by seed. Summer annual color - amaranths, pride of Barbados, begonias, caladiums, coleus, copperleaf, cosmos, Esperanza, gomphrena, lantana, marigold, periwinkle, purslane, portulaca, verbena and zinnia. Summer perennials - cleome, blue daze, (Evolvulus), cockscomb, cosmos, hardy hibiscus, salvias and others. Warm season food crops - okra, southern peas, sweet potatoes, malabar spinach, pumpkins and squash. Tropical color: allamandas, bougainvillea, fire bush, firecracker fern, hibiscus, ixora, mandevillas and pentas. Shrubs and trees, especially summer flowering varieties like crape myrtles. Fall tomatoes, other fall vegetable crops and herbs.
 
FERTILIZE: Avoid all synthetic fertilizers, especially nitrogen only products like 24-0-0, but do fertilize all planting areas with organic fertilizer. This should be the second major fertilization of the year.  Use about 20 lbs. of fertilizer per 1,000 sq. ft. Add mycorrhizal products. Spray all plantings and lawns with Garrett Juice every 2 weeks or at least once a month.
 
APPLY the SICK TREE TREATMENT to any ailing trees and other woody plants. Treat any bark damaged woody plants with Tree Trunk Goop.
 
PRUNE: Long erratic shoots from abelia, elaeagnus, lady banks roses, etc. Remove spent blooms and shear flowering plants by 1/3 that have started to decline. Remove fruiting canes from blackberries and raspberries after harvest. Prune new canes to 3’ in height to encourage side branching. Remove dead and damaged wood from trees, shrubs as needed.
 
WATER: All planting areas deeply but infrequently during dry periods. Potted plants regularly. Daily watering needed for most container plants. Add Garrett Juice to the water at least once a month.
 
PEST CONTROL: Yellow lower leaves on tomatoes – spray garlic and/or cornmeal juice and apply whole ground cornmeal to the root zone. Spider mites - spray Garrett Juice or any seaweed product as needed. Fleas, ticks, chiggers - dust with natural diatomaceous earth in dry weather and release beneficial nematodes anytime. Gray leaf spot – reduce fertilizers and spray garlic and/or cornmeal juice mixed with Garrett Juice. Bagworms and other caterpillars - release trichogramma wasps and spray if needed with Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). Spinosad and orange oil can also be used. Garrett Juice plus 2 ounces of orange oil per gallon of spray is effective. Scale insects, including mealybugs - spray plant oil products or mound drench products. Black spot on roses, mildew, and other fungi - spray garlic tea or diluted skim milk and drench the soil with garlic tea and apply dry granulated garlic and cornmeal to the root zone. See home page of DirtDoctor.com for the entire Organic Rose Program. Weeds - hand remove and work on improving soil health. Spot spray vinegar or fatty acid products as needed. 


Q. I earned myself a free 3-gallon Red Oak tree that I planted in the backyard. I did do a no-no when I planted it. I mixed some greensand, lava sand, and corn gluten meal in with the back fill. It is planted an inch above the yard grade, with its flare exposed. I noticed the top leaves of the tree looking wilted and grayed. I gave the leaves, trunk and the roots some Garrett Juice spread out garlic powder. Now the leaves on top have wilted, turned brown color and some that have fallen off. Would digging out around the root ball and letting air in there cause more harm than good? Would removing it from the hole to dry be an more extreme/beneficial option? Maybe just a small trench coming out from the tree, but away from the root ball, going downhill to encourage drainage? Any tips for getting rid of wild carrots? After the house was completed, this stuff came up all over the place. My dog is addicted to them so she helps we weed them out, but I was wondering if there was an alternative to manual removal since there is a plant every foot in every direction.  M. D. Denton, TX
 

A.  Your tree probably drowned. As you know now, nothing should go in the backfill next time except the native soil that came out of the hole. Your best chance would be to remove the tree and replant. The amendments can go lightly on the surface after the backfill has been done. Mow the wild carrots and/or treat the turf with the Agralawn Crabgrass Killer. It will kill any broadleaf weeds and not hurt the turf.


Q. You’ve said for ant control to make a mixture of garlic bulb and hot pepper tea the hotter the better. Would ghost peppers ok since they are the hottest if they can found in a store? Also I've heard you say that ants don't like cinnamon, can ground store bought cinnamon be put in that mixture would it make more effective? I want to become organic in my lawn and trees and bushes at my house. If the stuff like the corn gluten meal and dried molasses can't be found in the city to which I live, can it be found online. E.B. Millington, TN

A.  Any peppers will work. The hottest ones are the best. Cinnamon is also worth a try. Any of the garden centers, farm and feed stores, hardware stores and any other retailer can get everything I talk about through their normal distributors. They just have to have the initiative to do it. Good luck. The products are also available online.


Q.  For weeds in my veggie garden could I use herbicide - glyphosate or corn gluten meal?  B.B.  Clinton Township, MI

A.  We do not recommend glyphosate. You can find a ton of articles about the dangers of glyphosate on DirtDoctor.com and the Texasorganicresearchcenter.org web sites. Here is some information on weed control: https://www.dirtdoctor.com/garden/Weed-Control-Organic-Newsletter-Spring-2016_vq12386.htm . Corn gluten meal only works as a pre-emergent. Use vinegar and fatty acid products for the existing weeds – and hand pulling.


Q.  I have something eating a circle in my yard. I use all organics and will NOT use any chemicals. I have St. Augustine, in the shade mostly with slight morning sun. I thought I had June bugs but the damage seems to be spreading but in a circle. I planted more carpet grass in that circle but it too has died. I tried Bermuda, it died so I give up! Can you tell me what type of bug or problem I have?  S. H. Boerne, TX

A.  Probably neither. The issue is most likely shade. Try one of the shade loving groundcovers instead of grass.


Q.  I am losing bushes in the front yard. So is the neighbor. The plants have the have the same sick looking leaves. I am attaching a few pics to see if you recognize it and what can be done. P. B. 
 
A.  This disease on your Indian hawthorn is commonly called leaf spot. It is caused by the fungus Entomosporium maculatum and is the same disease that attacks red tip photinia. The presence of this fungus on the foliage is a sure sign that the plants are in stress. The stress can be the result of poorly drained and wet soils and/or too much fertilizer. The solution is to improve the soil using the Sick Tree Treatment which is the procedure of aerating, applying organic soil amendments (compost, lava sand, green sand, cornmeal, dry molasses and zeolite) and finally spraying and drenching Garrett Juice with 16 oz. of hydrogen peroxide added per gallon of spray.

 

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