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Weekly Lawn & Garden Tips

11/20/17- It is the flower of autumn, whose expanding bud just begins to blush. Thoreau

Question:
My poinsettia has been in the garden all summer. It has already started to turn red at the top. Should I cut it back? I just brought it back into the house. Rod, Newport, RI
Mort's Answer:
Since the fall equinox on September 22, we have been getting twelve hours of darkness each night. This is exactly what the doctor has ordered for changing the color of the upper leaves on the poinsettia. If you cut the plant back, you will lose the benefit of having your poinsettia red for Thanksgiving. Indoors, the plant's nighttime darkness can not be interrupted. Since your poinsettia has already started to change, this will only slow the process. In your case, it is not a factor. My only caution is that the temperature be kept above 65. Remember it is a cactus. It needs strong south facing light through the coarse of the day to do well. If the plant was not brought indoors early enough, it may go into dormancy. This often occurs, when poinsettia are purchased without a wrap in the cold winter. If your plant does this within the next few days, then you can cut it back. You will know when the leaves start to curl and eventually defoliate. I doubt this will happen because the temperature change has been gradual outdoors.

Question:
I just purchased an Amaryllis. Will it bloom in time for Christmas? Shirley, Brownsville, TN
Mort's Answer:
Your bulb requires strong light and moderate fertilizer when you water. It usually takes 6 to 8 weeks to bloom. It is possible that it will bloom sooner in ideal conditions. After it has bloomed let the bulb dry out. After it has dried, you can split the root from top to bottom in tow and plant in a soil with 1/3 sand. Eventually two new bulbs will develop. Remove the new bulbs and store them in a cool dry place until Halloween. Then you start the whole process again.

Question:
Just when I thought I had a handle on Japanese Bamboo, along comes another unwanted plant, phragmites! My house has fresh water draining on both sides of the house into a small salt water cove and the phragmites have made it all the way around the cove and is now invading my yard. My latest attempt to stem the tide, as it were, is to cover the effected area with weed block and then that is covered with blue stone. In addition, in an adjoining area, I have laid out several 2 x 6 plexiglass sheets directly on the ground and have that covered with mulch. Other than pay probably several thousand dollars to have this stuff professionally removed, can you suggest any other eradication methods? Dennis, Middle, TN
Mort's Answer:
This will require the diligence that you spent on Knotweed eradication. P. maximna will grow to 15 ft. with terminal flower clusters of 6-12 inches after three years. There are also variegated forms. It will grow on dry surfaces but can find its way into water edges. It is often found in trenches as a hedge. Three chemicals have been used with relative success. Dalapon is most effective in August and September and can be used all year. Glysophate is more effective at low dosages in September. Amitrole can be used with increased dosages in the summer and can be used with dalapon. Be aware of your local regulations regarding control and follow directions on the label.

Question:
My white pine had a borer in the leader, which we just removed. The interior of the plant is shedding and the plant generally looks weak. Did the borer cause this? What can I do? Frank, Providence, RI
Mort's Answer:
White pine weevil do feed on the terminal shoots. This may be boring, but it isn't terminal as far as the pine is concerned. Pine suffers from dry winds and dry soil. Drill 6 or 8 holes at the leaf drop about 2 ft. deep. Fill the holes with water two or three nights in a row. Then fill the holes with 10-6-4 fertilizer. This will add vigor to the tree next year. Check near the roots for grubs by digging down a foot. If you see grubs, add grubicide to the soil. Otherwise, it's just a dry story but not boring.

Question:
How can I get your book? "A Face Made for Radio"
Mort's Answer:
You can purchase my book, "A Face Made for Radio".
This autobiography is 11.95 per copy including S&H. It chronicles my first 25 years and the history of radio. Just mail check or money order to:

Whitehouse Productions
484 Wellington Ave.
Cranston, RI 02910.

Allow two weeks for delivery.

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