NDSU Extension - Ramsey County

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September 10, 2012 Horticulture Column

Howdy!!!

Wow what a gardening season and my how some gardeners had problems with different plants and yet other gardeners had great success with the same plants.  This phenomenon is not the gardener’s fault but rather happened due to some consequences.  Some areas of the neighborhood did experience more troubles than most but if we were to look back over the summer in general we would find water would be the number one problem.  Either lack of water or irregular watering was the culprit.  Speaking of water, we better make sure our perennials are getting a good watering before going into freeze-up, which includes our trees.  I know that some of you might say how can we water all of our trees and I would say get as many as you can, a good drink.  I saw more trees this summer and fall with issues relating to water.  Some of you will likely say that we had plenty of rain; but if we were to look at the rain amounts we received this summer, we did not receive many if any rains over an inch and you were to analyze your lawn’s water requirements you soon realize that grass, alone, consumes and inch of water a week leaving nothing for your trees or other plants.

I have been receiving questions about Virginia creeper’s showing dead spots in the middle part of the plant, particularily about half way up the house.  Another water issue.  I have done many probes and you would be surprised how dry our subsoil really is and that is where many roots are located looking for water.  I have watered my apple trees really good over the weekend and plan on one more time before freeze up.  They are looking very good for being just planted this spring and looking forward to a bountiful harvest in the near future.  One last note about apple trees; I have seen many gardeners using a cradle to support apple limbs that are absolutely loaded with apples.  I WOULD VERY MUCH ENCOURAGE YOU TO RATHER THAN SUPPORT THE BRANCH PICK HALF OF THE APPLES OFF BEFORE THEY GET TO HEAVY FOR THE BRANC TO SUPPORT AND BREAK.  You will find your apple tree performing much better, larger apples that are left and no extra work supporting those branches.  Enough lecturing for the day

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