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Weekly Lawn & Garden Tips

8/14/17-Not only the days, but life itself lengthens in summer. I would spread abroad my arms and gather more of it to me, could I do so. Richard Jefferies

Question:
My summer squash and zucchini have a white dust on the leaves. The fruit is starting to dissipate. Earlier ones were very good. Leaves are turning yellow. Can I do something to extend the plants? Stan, Windham, CT
Mort's Answer:
The powdery mildew can be checked with a fungicide like Bordeaux Mix powder. You will need three applications 10 days apart. Side dressing with 5-10 fertilizer will help to some extent. Lastly, check the stems about four inches from the ground. If you see a black or brown pot inside the translucent stem, carefully slit the outside of the spot and remove the little bugger with a tweezer. Use some scotch tape to cover the surgery. If the squash bug was not present, you can get more flowers for late production and larger fruit with side dressing and dusting with the Bordeaux.

Question:
I recently top dressed with loam and seed. We now have a lot of horsetail weeds How can I get rid of them? Shirley, Taylorville, IL
Mort's Answer:
I would continue to cut the lawn at an inch high and top dressing with more annual rye seed to help choke out the weeds. Keeping the height at one inch will prevent the horsetail from going to seed. Be sure to cart away the cuttings. Equiesetum arvense is very persistent. Your last cut of the year should be two inches . You may have to continue to top dress next spring, as well. Another method if to spray all the plants with a target spray, like Vine-X. Be careful not to use this indiscriminately, this spray will kill all it touches. It does not change to gold.

Question:
I have been using a liquid fertilizer on my Clematis. I cut it back last year. Will it bloom? Ann, Westerly, RI
Mort's Answer:
I do not like to cut back most clematis. Jackmani is an exception to this rule of thumb. Clematis likes cool wet feet and a dry top. A trellis is essential for all clematis. A hands on treatment of mulch each year will bring fruition to your efforts. Using aged manure will produce better results than liquid fertilizer.

Question:
Last year we used chicken manure compost in our raised beds. It comes from a near by farm and has ground chicken carcasess in the mix. Our natural soil is full of shale rock that we used in the beds as well. Any suggestions? Bill, Tulsa, OK
Mort's Answer:
Chicken manure from hen houses is much better than range chicken manure. I am reticent to use any compost that has meat in it. It may be that the meat has been removed prior to grinding the bone but that is iffy. Steer manure and any other manure should be wintered over outdoors. It will sterilize itself. Your soil can incorporate grass clippings, if no herbicide is used on the lawn. Shredded leaves will add texture but should not harbor black tar fungus. Shale loam is not the best soil for root crops.

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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