Q -- I sprinkle my lawn every three days for about 10 minutes each time and a woman down the street says that is wrong. Do you agree?
A -- If the lawn is watered, it should be done to a depth of at least six feet, and with a hose that would take at least three or four hours. A sprinkler would do the job nicely for you.
Q -- One of my rose has a seed pod on it. Can the seed be planted and produce new rose bushes?
A -- they can be planted and you may get seedlings, but chances are they will be worthless because they will not come true.
Q -- What is the life of the insecticides malathion and sevin? How long are they effective after being applied?
A -- For pesticides in unopened containers, the shelf life is two or more years. For opened containers, the shelf life depends on storage conditions. Dark, cool and dry storage places are best. Some pesticides specifically state to use within six months or so after opening.This is because they react with water in the atmosphere and change in chemical composition. Malathion and seven are effective for about two days after they have been sprayed on surfaces exposed to sunlight. They are effective for no more than four days on shady surfaces.
Q -- Can you tell me the proper care of a pink hydrangea? I received a beautiful one for Easter and when the ground warmed enough planted it out in the yard. But I don't know how to treat the soil to be sure of bright pink blooms.
A -- The one forced into bloom and sold at Easter with pink or blue flowers is Hydrangea macrophylla. Flower color depends on whether the soil is acid or alkaline. Acid soil causes blue flowers, because of greater availability of aluminum in the soil, alkaline soil causes them to be pink. In the eastern part of the United States most soils are normally acid. The best way to find out about your own soil is to have it tested at the state university. If you want the flowers to be pink, it may be necessary to apply lime to lessen acidity. It may be a year or longer before the lime becomes effective, because it takes time for it to get down into the root zone.
Macrophylla blooms on last year's growth. The flower buds from in the fall and open in the summer, usually in July. These plants should be pruned soon after the flowers fade. The shoots that bore flowers should be cut back so that only two sets of leaves (four leaves) remain on the stem. The shoots that did not produce flowers need not be pruned.
Hydrangea paniculata bears white flowers on growth of the current season and should be pruned in early spring.
Q -- Two years ago I purchased seed of Blue Lily of the Nile. I put the plants outdoors last summer and again this summer, but there's been no sign of flowers. How do you make them bloom?
A -- Blue Lily of the Nile (Agapanthus africanus ) started from seed usually does not bloom for three or four years.
Q -- I've read that superphosphate will help you get superior plants. No one seems to know what I am asking for. Can you tell me where I can find it?
A -- Superphosphate is a form of phosphorus essential for plant growth. To find out if you need it, have your soil tested. It can be done, usually free, at the state university. A complete fertilizer such as 5-10-5 contains 10 percent phosphorous, which usually is superphosphate or triple super.
-- We have a wisteria that never blooms, have had if for three years. Can you tell me how to make it bloom?
A -- Wisteria started as a sucker from a blooming plant may not bloom for 15 or 20 years. The same is true of old-fashioned lilac.
Q -- There are several tiny holes in the bark of two of my trees.The holes are just a little larger than the lead of a pencil, spaced close together. What is the cause and cure?
A -- The holes are the work of the yellow-bellied sapsucker.These birds pass through on their way south in the fall and again in the spring on their way north. The birds drill sap holes in the bark and feed on the exuding sap and on ants and other insects attracted by the sap. A repellant, Bird Tanglefoot, may provide protection. A single application should last for several weeks. Directions on the label should be followed closely.
Q -- My rose have small green insects on the leaves. Is it okay to use an aerosol spray, one that is for garden plants?
A -- They probably are aphids. If the label says it is okay for aphids on roses, go ahead. If it doesn't don't. Many aerosols contain pyrethrin. It kills almost instantly but leaves little or no residue. The only insects killed are those hit by the spray. Label directions should be followed closely.