Water the lawn and keep the children cool!

Chad & Jeremy
Chad & Jeremy "A Summer Song"

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Japanese beetle grubs

The last problem for this month is to prepare for the Japanese beetle grubs that are in your lawn now from last year and the new grubs that will arrive during July and August. The white grub is an insect stage of the Japanese beetle, that tunnels into your soil and eats the roots of your lawn. He is quite fussy and will only eat the roots of grass--and only good grasses, not weedy grasses like crabgrass, quack grass, or even bentgrass. The grub will not eat roots of broadleaf weeds like clover, dandelions or chickweed, only the good stuff. Right now, they are large, one to one and a half inches long with a brown head and black rounded tail, usually found in the soil curled up like the letter C.

The grub right now is beginning to change to a stage called a pupa, a sort of mummy where it will change to a coppery hard-shell flying and eating machine. The Japanese beetles that will emerge from the ground in just a few weeks, traditionally around the fourth of July, are a major pest of your gardens, shrubs and trees, not the lawn. At this stage the coppery colored, hard shelled, one-inch beetle has two goals in mind: eat several times its weight in plant foliage each day, and mate like crazy to produce eggs for next year.

Japanese beetles love most deciduous plants from vegetables, flowers, shrubs and trees and will not bother most evergreen plants. Their favorite plants include rose bushes, grapes, mountain ash trees, and most flowering trees--especially flowering plum. As the Japanese beetle matures and prepares for its egg-laying cycle it will dig into your well-kept lawn and deposit eggs in the ground where they will hatch in just a few short weeks. This destructive stage is best controlled with the new Bonide Lawn And Garden Beetle Killer that comes in a ready to use bottle sprayer that you just attach to your hose and spray. Bayer Advance has a Complete Insect Killer as a liquid or powder.

As the eggs hatch and develop into tiny fast growing grubs, they will eat the roots of your lawn and if you have many eggs in your lawn, they will destroy and kill your lawn during the late summer months and the fall season. This is the best and easiest time to kill this insect because they are all together in the soil, not flying around your yard from tree to tree. You have three methods to control them in the ground: first with a soil insecticide like Season Long Grub Control from Bayer or Bonide Beetle Killer applied at this time of the year or in the early spring, April and will last right into the fall months.

If you have never had grubs in your lawn before and do not treat your lawn, that's great; there is no need to apply a pesticide if you do not have a problem. If in the fall you find a problem with animals digging and you find grubs have come to your lawn, ask for a grub insecticide called Dylox. This is a new concentrated grub killer that releases all it power in 24 hours, killing every grub in your lawn, for fall use only, as it will not protect your lawn during the summer months when grubs are most active.

The newest, all natural, and fastest acting product attacks the grub in the soil with a predator called a nematode. These nematodes are microscopic worm like creatures that live in our soils but many die during our cold winter, so we must re-introduce them each spring or summer to the lawn. This creature will tunnel thru the soil looking for grubs to feed on, and once found will pierce the skin of the grub and feed on his innards. While feeding it will also mate and reproduce itself so new emerging nematodes can move out of the grub and look for their own food source. The nematode is very effective and will kill all soil stages--even the very large and mature grub that most of the chemical granular products will not control.

You must apply nematodes each spring or summer but they do a wonderful job in your lawn. Nematodes have been around for a long time but before last year the garden center was not able to keep them alive until you were ready to use them. A new company from Canada, called Environmental Factor, has found and hybridized a new much hardier species that, if refrigerated, can stay dormant for up to 90 days. Today's garden centers will store the nematodes in recyclable containers while under refrigeration to keep them alive until you're ready to apply them to your lawn. Just pour the carton of nematodes in a hose- end bottle sprayer, spray them on your lawn, and water well.  If you want to stay organic this is the product for you.

The Lovin' Spoonful - Summer In The City (1966)
The Lovin' Spoonful - Summer In The City (1966)

Asiatic Lily Beetle

Gardeners beware! The beetles have invaded America again! Not the singing Beatles from Liverpool, England, but this time the beetles that are native to Europe and Asia have entered the United States from Montreal, Canada. These beetles (also known as scarlet lily beetles and lily leaf beetles ) were first spotted in gardens in Montreal in 1945; quietly they moved south until they were spotted in a garden in Cambridge, Mass in 1992. Today they are everywhere and if your love lilies as much as I do, be prepared for the invasion. This is a tough insect because it will thrive in a climate where winter temperatures drop as cold as -20 to -30 degrees.

The adult Asiatic red lily beetle is bright red, and at first sight it is often confused with the common ladybug. This small beetle will grow 1/4 to 3/8 inches long and has a hard shell covering its body. The head, legs, antennas, and the undersurface are all black. The body is more rectangular in shape than rounded like the lady bug. It is also a very strong flyer and can move quickly when you try to pick it while it is feeding on your plants. It can hide in small cracks and crevices in the foliage of your lilies when startled.

The adult will lay rows of yellow to orange-red eggs on the underside of the lily leaves from March to June. Some times as many as 30 or more eggs can be found on the underside of the leaf where they hide undetected. When they hatch in 7 to 10 days, they develop into a rather unpleasant looking slug-like creature 3/8 inches long that can be brown, yellow, or orange with a black head. You may not notice the color of this BEAST, because to help protect itself from predators (including you) it will cover itself with its own excrement. This is known as fecal shield, and from talking to many of you--it works. Many of you are reluctant to pick them off your plant at this stage but this is the most destructive time in the pest's life.
This larval stage will last 2 to 3 weeks, and it will eat its weight in foliage every day. It will begin with foliage and when all of that is eaten, it will move to the flower buds. It will then drop to the garden soil where it will pupate, rest, and emerge from the soil in about two weeks as an adult beetle, ready to start the cycle again. When the weather gets warm in mid-summer, the adults will dig their way back into the garden and sleep in the soil and plant debris until the following spring. The following spring they will emerge looking for food and a mate and start the cycle of destruction all over again.

This beetle, if uncontrolled, will destroy your lily plants in just one season. The destruction cycle begins early, as the beetles begins the feeding and mating frenzy on the fritillaria - that wonderful orange or yellow flowering bulb from Holland. Other native plants are also attacked, but when the lilies emerge from the garden in April this beetle quickly moves to them. All lilium species are eaten, including the Asiatic, Oriental, tiger lily, and the Easter lily. The beetle will not bother the daylilies in your garden, as they are a different family of plants and not a true lily. If you have Solomon's Seal in your garden, check it also, as the beetles will feed on its foliage. Turk's cap lilies are eaten as well, and some varieties of nicotiana, known as "flowering tobacco," a wonderful annual flowering plant.

Controlling the Asiatic red leaf beetle can be easily accomplished by handpicking the beetle from the plant every day as you see them. The adult beetle will squeak if squeezed gently, but I recommend that you squeeze hard and crush this pest! Or pick them off your plants and drop them in a container of soapy water and flush down the toilet--a great ending for them. If you only have a few lilies in your garden it will not be a problem if you stay vigilant and check the plants daily. But if you have many plants in the garden, natural or chemical control products will have to be used.

A natural product such as neem oil can kill and repel the adult beetles from your garden if you apply it a couple times a week to your plants. Neem oil is natural but, like all natural products, will break down quickly with rain and bright warm sunshine on the plant. Neem oil is a bio-pesticide, and is extracted from the seed of the neem tree, found growing in southeast Asia. Neem oil will control both the adult and the larval forms of the Asiatic red lily beetle. If used regularly on your lily plants, it will also work as a repellent for egg-laying adult beetles. Neem oil is available at your local garden center or nursery. Mother nature has not provided any known predators for this insect.

Chemically this insect is best and more effectively controlled with a product called "Tree and Shrub, " which is available at your local garden center or nursery. The active ingredient is imidacloprid insecticide; once it is absorbed into the plant's sap systems it will protect your plants for a full year. It is best applied as a soil drench around the new lily shoots as they emerge from the garden or when you first see the beetles on the plant. It will also control other leaf and flower eating insects that threaten the plant during the growing season in your garden. Applying the product as a soil drench will also reduce the chance of drift to non-threatened plants in your garden and prevent harm to beneficial insects in your garden. Tree and Shrub was developed by Bayer Advanced and one application will protect the plants for the entire year. If your time in the garden is limited, this is the best way to prevent damage to your plants.

A new product just released from Bonide Lawn and Garden is called "Beetle Killer" has pyrethroids as active ingredients. This product will also kill Japanese beetles, the stink bug, and the Asian lady bug that will soon arrive to your home and garden.

Whichever product you decide to use, follow the recommendations on the label and get the product on the plant or in the soil early, now. This beast will destroy all your lilies in just one year if do not act now.
Ella Fitzgerald - Summertime (1968)
Ella Fitzgerald - Summertime (1968)
Tomato Hornworm with parasitic wasp on it's back.

It's a wonderful day to be in the garden until you notice some missing foliage on your tomato plants! On closer inspection you notice that the beautiful foliage has been removed from the upper part of your plant--and it was there last night. All that remain are the stems of the tomato leaves attached to the stems of the plant; some flowers are still there...and then it happens. You see that some of the tomatoes have been partially eaten. You're now upset and you begin the search for this CREATURE that had the nerve to eat your plant. You notice square shaped droppings on the foliage and on the ground and you smile because he must be nearby and you want him DEAD.

You look on top of the leaves and he is not there, he is not on the stems but you now begin to look under the leaves and you find him. WOW you say to yourself because he is the biggest caterpillar you ever saw--and he will get even bigger, up to four inches long and one inch in diameter, like a hot dog feeding on your tomato plant. You look at him closely and he is the same color green as your tomato plant foliage; no wonder you did not see him sooner! His head is bent over and he is busy eating and not scared of you. He has white and black lines on his body like medals he earned for each leaf he ate on your plant and on the end of his body a deep RED horn that waves back and forth warning you not to bother him while he is eating.

This creature is a giant eating machine that will eat up to 2 to 3 times his body weight in foliage every day, and he gets bigger every day so he eats more every day that he is in your garden. He is the largest caterpillar in North America; he has come to your garden--and he is hungry! Don't run back to the house to hide the kids and pets; it's time for action, and now is the time to act.

My Mother always used a coffee can filled with soapy water to kill them after she picked them off the plant with her garden gloves on. She made MAD faces and she talked to these creatures as she found them on the plant and then dumped them into their soapy water grave and laughed as they sank to the bottom of the container. Tomato horn worms don't swim very well, "HA HAHA!" I don't use a can of soapy water when I find them on my plants. I just drop them to the ground and tell them the end is near as I raise my leg off the ground and quickly drive the heel of my shoe on top of them driving them into their grave, "HA HAHA!"

These creatures came from a giant moth, called the "hawk moth," and it's also known as the "hummingbird moth." The eggs were laid under the leaf so you cannot find them and they hatch just a few at a time so if you think you found them all, you're mistaken; more will come to feed on your tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and potatoes. The eggs hatch in 4 to 5 days and when the hornworm emerges from the egg, it will feed for up to 4 weeks on plants in your garden before it falls to the ground and pupates until next year. The pupa spends the winter in your garden soil and emerges in the spring to mate and start the cycle all over again.

Now do you control them in your garden? The best way is to roto-till your garden every fall to destroy them in the soil, with results of up to 90% kill. Now there is a better way to do the job and that is with a small wasp called Cotesia congregatus. This wasp will lay eggs in the back of the tomato hornworm and as they develop they will feed on the inside of the hornworm until they are ready to pupate. The cocoons will appear on the back of the tomato hornworm; they resemble white puffed wheat. As the wasps emerge from the cocoons, they will kill the hornworm and fly to others in your garden, killing them by parasitizing them. These wasps also feed on cabbage loppers and other garden caterpillars. If you see a hornworm with this puffed wheat-like growth on his back, move him to a plant where he will not be hurt as each infected hornworm can contain 15 to 25 wasps that will help keep your garden free of this creature.

Other than the wasps, the best, most effective and natural method to KILL these tomato hornworms is a new bacterium called Spinosad found in the Caribbean a few years ago. Just spray on your garden and all the caterpillars will die in just a few hours. Spinosad is safe for beneficial insects, birds, pets, and the environment as it kills only caterpillar-type insects. You can eat vegetables the same day you spray as long as you rinse the vegetables well before eating. Spinosad is also sold under the name Captain Jack made from Bonide Lawn and Garden. The old product we did use was Sevin Garden Dust or Spray, but it is very toxic to beneficial insects like bees and should never  be used in the garden. Sevin is old school pesticide and harmful to the pollinators in our garden, so stay away from this product.
"Summer Afternoon - Summer Afternoon; to me those words have always been the most beautiful words in the English language."
Henry James


                                         Fresh Picked Cherry Coconut Crisp

Cherries are now coming in from the west coast and they are wonderful! While they are plentiful, fresh and inexpensive try this Cherry Crisp recipe for your family and friends. I like the red cherries better than the bi-colored cherry for this desert, it's up to your favorite cherry taste.

cup of granulated sugar
4 teaspoons of cornstarch
5 cups of fresh tart red cherries, pitted, cut in half and packed in your measuring cup.
2 tablespoons of cold water

cup of rolled oats
cup of brown sugar
1/3 cup of all-purpose flower
teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/3 cup of butter
cup of flaked coconut
cup of finely chopped pecans

1} Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Lightly butter a 2-quart square baking dish.

2} Mix your sugar and cornstarch in a large sauce pan. Stir in your Cherries and water. Cook and stir over medium heat until bubbly and it thickens. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish.

3} Mix oats, brown sugar, flower and nutmeg in a medium mixing bowl. Cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in Coconut flakes and chopped pecans. Sprinkle over filling. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with Vanilla Ice Cream on top. If you have any leftovers and I dough it, you can refrigerate. It will serve 6 to 8 people. Enjoy!

Day to look forward 

July 7th - Chocolate Day today
July 17th - National Ice Cream Day is in 11 days
July 27th - Take Your Plants for a Walk Day is in 21 days

Keep records will make you a better gardener!!


Garden Journal

        Garden Journal - A garden is a friend you can visit any time. Gardens require planning and cultivation, yielding beauty and joy. This garden journal helps make planning and organizing easy. This book makes a great gift for gardeners, family, friends, birthdays, Christmas, new home or as a self purchase.


Cover holds a 5 x7 or 4x6 photo, Heavy-duty D-ring binder

1. 8 tabbed sections
2. 5 garden details sections with pockets for seeds, tags....
3. Weather records page
4. 6 three year journal pages
5. Insect & diseases page - 3 project pages
6. 3 annual checklist pages
7. Plant wish list page
8. 2 large pocket pages
9. Sheet of garden labels
10. 5 garden detail sheets
11. 5 graph paper pages for layouts
12. 5 photo pages holds - 4- 4x6 photos in landscape or portrait format

Journal, Planning, Inspirations. 

 To Order call 207-590-4887

Regular price $34.95  Special Price $31.95! 

special!        Supplies are now limited!


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