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About msumary

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    Breaking Bud
  1. That insect is a wasp called a cricket catcher. It's not a threat to the plant we don't think it is a problem to caterpillars. It does prey on crickets and their relatives, although it is very nasty looking, and it can sting, it is not particularly aggressive.
  2. Ridding your lawn of violets is extremely difficult. Spraying them with Round-Up will work on the existing plants, but the seeds are in the soil and will return, much too quickly. The plant does not have to OPEN flowers to produce seed, which makes it more difficult to control (people just don't realize the plants are creating and dropping more seed in fall; we let our guard down and by spring when we get around to filling a former-violet area with grass seed, it's already LOADED with violet seed.) There is a cuticle covering the leaf that makes it pretty resistant to herbicides so you'll want to apply any kind of a weed killer more than once -- it'll kill some foliage the first time, the rest afterward. You also have to make the area better for grass to grow or the violets (or some other opportunist) will be able to invade and dominate. Chances are the soil in the violet-riddled area is hard packed, that would give violets the edge over lawn. It's probably very shady, so if you can prune any trees to let more light in, do that. (And be sure to use shade grass seed when you re-start the lawn. Not sun loving bluegrass or sod but shade tolerant fescue.) We'd dig or scrape to remove the violets, or smother to kill them and then aerate the lawn and spread grass seed. (You could kill everything growing there with a non-selective herbicide such as Round-up.) Just a heads up: You may have to re-seed every year -- such is the price of wanting grass in a place where Nature wants to fill space with shade lovers!
  3. I recommend cutting the rue back to the strong growth at the base of the plant. It's going to come back rapidly from the base sprouts providing the lush foliage the butterflies need to lay eggs in and the caterpillars to hide and grow in. Leave the rue up over winter but prune back now as the butterflies will be laying eggs shortly and they need lush plants they can smell and find. The larvae do not overwinter on food plants but rather on a grass plant or debris close by so do not over tidy the area.
  4. Anytime they stop flowering, it is time to divide. Take the center out and move it elsewhere or compost it. You won't see any better bloom this spring. Optimum time to divide is July, so they have half the year to store starch and lengthen their roots to anchor themselves to hold the heavier bloom.
  5. If you are anxious to get a new tree planted...planting 10 feet away would leave enough room for the city to grind the stump out without affecting your new tree. Planting the new tree in the spring or fall is best, cooler weather allows for root growth easier acclimation to the new site. Be sure to water at least one inch per week, a slow soak throughout the root area is best. Make sure that when planting your new tree there is a tree well (an area surrounding the trunk that is free of grass and has a lip to hold water/rain water for the tree's root ball). Do not allow mulch within 2 inches of the tree trunk as this protects bark from moisture retention and insect problems.
  6. It appears the tree was approximately 3 inch caliper tree when planted. It is still going through transplant shock. This is NOT unusual several years after it was planted. One result of transplant shock is tip die back. Pruning out dead and dense extra branches helps shape and ensures continued health.
  7. Thanks, gives me a place ( or insect ) to start at.
  8. Tiny holes but great amount of consumption of the leaves. Who's eating it?
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