The Press-Dispatch

April 11, 2018

The Press-Dispatch

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D-6 Spring Home and Garden Wednesday, April 11, 2018 The Press-Dispatch Continued from page 3 Fertilize % -AIN s s 7ASHINGTON 6)3! s -ASTERCARD s $AILYS #HARGE s DAYS 3AME !S #ASH s /PEN 3ATURDAY AMPM DAILY'S FURNITURE (URRY IN FOR THIS SPECIAL LIQUIDATION Sofas, Reclining Sofas & Sectionals LazBoy Recliners - Daily's Furniture is your LazBoy headquarters Save BIG on this authorized LazBoy Storewide Clearance. LazBoy Recliners While They last $ 399 2 for $ 799 Lemon Tree We're not afraid to shed some light on the truth. 812-354-8500 SUBSCRIBE TODAY! GARDENS & LAWNS KNOW THE N-P-K RATIO Most fertilizers will come with in- formation concerning the nutrients within. Most notably it will have a breakdown of how much nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P) and potassium (K) is in the mix. Judging by the soil test, gardeners can choose a product that will give them the right ratio to amend the soil for the type of plant they are hoping to grow. Complete fertilizers often have NPK in the for- mulation. Incomplete fertilizers may have only one or two nutrients. This allows a person to customize fertil- izer even more without overdoing it with a particular nutrient. GROW PLANT KNOWLEDGE A cursory knowledge of the plants being planted in the garden also can be helpful. Gardeners must recognize that some plants will not tolerate excess amounts of a particular fertilizer com- ponent, while some may need more. Checking books out of the library, seek- ing information online and consulting with landscaping experts will help ex- pand homeowners' knowledge about plant types and the needs of each par- ticular plant they hope to grow. SOLID AND LIQUID FERTILIZER Fertilizers are generally sold in pellets, spikes and liquid forms. Pel- lets or granules are dispersed over large areas and will gradually offer nutrients when the soil is watered. Liquid fertilizer is concentrated and fast-acting. These may be used for container plants or smaller areas. Spikes usually are placed in house- plants or to feed individual trees or shrubs. Depending on the formula- tion, fertilizer may need to be reap- plied once a month or more. Consult the product packaging for the correct application advice. Fertilizer amends soil to grow stronger, more resilient plants. Recognizing and addressing leaf spot Homeowners who take pride in their properties may be alarmed to notice seemingly spotted leaves on their trees. Such spots may be indicative of a condition known as leaf spot. In spite of its appearance, leaf spot is often harmless. According to the Missouri Botanical Garden, leaf spot is a term used to describe a number of diseases that can affect the foliage of ornamentals and shade trees. Often caused by fungi that can spread thanks to wind and/or spring rains, leaf spot al- so may be a byproduct of bacteria. As unsightly as leaf spot can be, the Mis- souri Botanical Garden advises that established plants will only be adversely affected by leaf spot if defoli- ation occurs three or more years in a row. While leaf spot is often harmless, homeowners should still learn to recognize it and document its presence to en- sure it does not become a long-term problem. HOW TO RECOGNIZE LEAF SPOT Because leaf spot is an umbrella term that refers to var- ious diseases, its symptoms can vary depending on which type of leaf spot is affecting a tree. • Spots: The spots of leaf spot vary in size and color de- pending on the plant, the organism that's affecting it and the stage of development. Spots are typically brown, but can be tan or black as well. • Black dots: If fungus is the cause of the leaf spot, the fungal bodies may appear as black dots in the spots. These dots may be within the rings or in central clusters. • Yellow leaves: Some leaves that are infected with leaf spot turn yellow and drop prematurely. If leaf spots are not noticed immediately, they may grad- ually combine to form large blotches. HOW TO ADDRESS LEAF SPOT Leaf spot does not necessarily need to be addressed. Ma- ny trees tolerate leaf spot and suffer little to no damage. In addition, the University of Minnesota Extension notes that the majority of leaf spot diseases affect only a small percentage of infected trees' overall leaf area and are only minimal stressors on the trees. But homeowners who want to address leaf spot can take certain steps to do so. • Remove infected leaves. As infected leaves fall, homeowners can remove them so the spores that caused the initial infection cannot be blown onto healthy leaves and spread the disease. • Remove dead twigs. Removing dead twigs also can help get rid of spores that can contribute to infection. • Change watering techniques. When watering trees, homeowners who want to prevent leaf spot or stop it from spreading can avoid overhead watering, instead using soak- er hoses. Watering early in the day also can give foliage am- ple time to dry off before nightfall. • Prune plants. Pruning plants promotes healthy air circulation and reduces crowding, which can help keep fo- liage dry, making trees less vulnerable to leaf spot. As unsightly as it can appear, leaf spot is often harmless. But homeowners can take steps to prevent it and stop it from spreading to healthy leaves. Getting to know succulents Succulents can be just what in- door or outdoor gardens need. Even though succulents are becoming more popular, there are still some people who are unaware of their at- tributes. By learning more about succulents, people may become dev- otees of these unique plants. The word "succulent" brings to mind juicy, savory foods. But succu- lents aren't meant to be consumed. In fact, they get their mouth-water- ing name from their uncanny abili- ty to store water in fleshy stems or leaves. That means they do not re- quire frequent watering like other plants might. Succulents also may prove more durable in the face of drought and are a handy plant for forgetful gardeners or those who travel often and want something more hands-off in their gardens. According to the succulents re- source Succulents and Sunshine, most succulents prefer warm tem- peratures and are not very cold-tol- erant. However, there are some vari- eties that can survive freezing tem- peratures. Still, for most succulents, it's best if they are kept in warm, moderately sunny conditions. The DIY Network says succulents grow best in bright light, but not always in full, hot sun. Succulents also may attract gar- deners thanks to their diverse looks. Better Homes & Gardens says that color variations of succulents are quite varied and include green, yel- low, burgundy, white, blue-green, pink, red, and variegated combina- tions. Their shapes can be just as diverse, with many having pointy, rounded, spiky, or ruffled leaves. People may be particularly famil- iar with one type of succulent: cac- ti. These traditional desert-dwellers are prized for their water-retention abilities, but some seem downright scary with their prickly exteriors. While all cacti are succulents, it's important to note that not all suc- culents are cacti. Less needle-like succulents include aloe, jade, snake plant, and agave. Hens and chicks (sempervivum) and wax plant (hoya) are other succulents to con- sider. Searching for succulents online is another great way for gardeners to discover these wonderful plants.

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