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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Sweetgum Ball Control

One of the things I hate the most this time of the year are the annoying sweetgum balls falling onto my porch and patio.  They hang up in the tree most of the winter then the late winter storms start blowing them off.  The do not all fall at once either.  It seems as if the tree waits until I sweep everything then the tree releases the next wave.  It is a near daily chore to keep the steeps free of these potential problems.  I would cut the tree down if it was mine, but unfortunately it is not mine.  
My wife asks every year, "Can't you spray something to keep the tree from forming these balls?"
There is a product that is labeled for this purpose and it actually works if used according to label directions.  The material is Florel Fruit Eliminator, made by Monterey Chemical Company.  It is sometimes available in retail garden stores, but is easily found from on-line sources.
The tricky part of using this chemical is that it must be sprayed to runoff on the flowers when the flower clusters begin to separate and the leaves are about half expanded. There is a narrow time window (2 weeks at most) when it will be effective and should only be applied when the temperature is between 65 and 95 degrees F. The label also cautions against spraying trees that are under stress from disease, drought, or other causes.
Also, it is a challenge to spray to the top of a large tree. A good hose-end sprayer can be adjusted to spray up to 30 feet with good hose pressure. Any amount of coverage at the proper time will help reduce the problem. For large trees, or when multiple trees must be treated, it is best to hire a company with the proper equipment to do the job.
Snipper Woody Plant Deflowering Hormone is an injectable de-flowering agent that causes premature death of developing flowers.  Injection overcomes the spraying tall trees problem.  This product needs to be applied by a commercial applicator. 
If you just have to have a sweetgum, you might want to check out the ‘Rotundiloba' cultivar.  This is a ‘fruitless’ cultivar and has lobed rather than pointed leaves.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Mississippi Medallion Plants for 2015

It seem as if spring is never going to get here, but before you know it . . . Bam! . . . it will arrive.  When the weather gets a little warmer, everyone will be itching to plant something.  Consider incorporating some of the 2015 Mississippi Medallion plants into your landscape.

The Mississippi Medallion Plants program has announced its winners for 2015 and you will want to incorporate them into your landscape. The Mississippi Nursery and Landscape Association established the Mississippi Medallion program in 1996 to increase awareness of plant materials and to promote sales and production of ornamental plants in the state. The Mississippi Medallion program focuses on plants adapted to the environment in Mississippi to benefit both consumers and the green industry.

'Suburban Nancy Gayle' daylily
‘Suburban Nancy Gayle’ daylily was developed by Mr. Earl Watts of Suburban Daylilies in Hattiesburg. It has big red flowers with yellow throats. These plants have been growing in trial beds across Mississippi and are very impressive with their flowering performance. The ‘Suburban Nancy Gayle’ is an evergreen standing at a height of 29” with a 6.0” bloom.  This daylily also appears to be resistant to daylily rust. It won the popularity Poll for Region 14 (Mississippi and Alabama) of the American Hemerocallis Society in 2012 and 2013. These plants start flowering in mid-May.

'Delta Jazz' crapemyrtle
‘Delta Jazz’ is a new crapemyrtle that was developed by Mississippi State University at the South Mississippi Branch Research Station. It has unusual foliage that emerges a rich, raspberry-maroon color and then matures into a dark-mahogany brown. This foliage color accents 8-inch panicles of medium-pink flowers in the late summer.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Valentine's Day Means Flowers

If you are one of the fortunate ones that received a bouquet of roses or other cut flowers for Valentine’s Day, here are a few tips will help your flowers last longer, maybe even a few weeks!

Proper care makes cut flowers last longer.
First, recut the stems at least 1 inch shorter than when you got them. Use a sharp knife and cut at a 45-degree angle.   Immediately submerge the stems in warm water.  Even better is to cut the stems while they are under water.

Be sure and strip off any leaves that would otherwise be immersed in the vase water. Add a packet of flower preservative to the water.  This often comes with the bouquet.  If you do not have the floral preservative packets, change the water daily in the vase.

Avoid displaying your bouquet in a hot room or in direct sunlight.  You can make your bouquet last even longer is to put the whole thing, into the refrigerator every night before you go to bed and then take it out in the morning. 

Remember, cut flower bouquets do not last forever, so take a ‘selfie’ with your bouquet so the memories will last long after the flowers have faded. It might not be as colorful but it will be a reminder of the good times.