The bugs and weeds are a real problem this spring. With the caterpillars, pill bugs, thrips, and grasshoppers, the plants are having a bad time. The canker worms and web worms are attacking the trees. Usually, if the edges of the leaves are chewed, it’s a caterpillar or grasshopper; if the leaves have holes in the middle of the leaf, look for pill bugs, snails, or slugs. Check with the nursery or feed store for the correct insecticide. For the worms, use Bacillis Thurengsis (B.T.); try Sluggo Plus on the slugs and pill bugs. There are two kinds of snails. The one with the cone-shaped shell is a good snail, so don’t kill it.
Wait for the foliage of the spring bulbs to turn brown before trimming them. Trim off the iris when they have finished blooming.
Fruit and nut tree spraying is necessary for proper fruit production. Contact the County Extension office in Johnson City at 868-7167 for a spraying schedule.
Water deeply and not so often. Lawns and plants need at least one inch of water each week, if it doesn’t rain. We have been hearing rumors of another drought this coming summer. Mulch trees, shrubs, and plants to help conserve water. It will also help with the weeds.
Mowing the lawn regularly will help eliminate weeds. Raise the mower blade to 2 1/2 to 3 inches for St. Augustine; continue mowing Bermuda lawns 1-1 1/2 inches. Lawns need one inch of water per week.
If you haven’t fertilized the lawn and plants, this is the time. Use a slow release or organic fertilizer. All organic fertilizer is slow release.
When the climbing roses, Indian hawthorn, forsythia, quince, and early blooming plants have finished blooming, you can prune them. Fertilize and water. Start pinching the tips from fall asters and mums and continue until the end of June. You don’t want them too leggy when it’s time for them to bloom. Transplant root-bound plants into pots one or two sizes larger.
In early May, plant okra, southern peas, sweet corn, New Zealand spinach, watermelon, cucumbers, squash, cantaloupes, and eggplant. For flowers, seed zinnias, cockscomb, marigolds, cosmos, sunflowers, and periwinkle.