If you have a question about gardening in the Birmingham area, ask John. John Floyd has been gardening–and learning about gardening–for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience in the garden, John has degrees in horticulture, plant taxonomy, and plant physiology from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.
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Slug bait usually controls them, but if not I have had good luck pouring beer in shallow tops and putting them under the leaves, and it does the trick over time. But if you have a large infestation, you are going to have to refill the tops several times.
While I have never used this product, I checked with the Hanna Center at the Botanical Gardens, and they say it is an excellent product. Two things to remember, it lasts only a max of ten days and spraying open blooms can cause burn to the petals.
I checked with my friends with the Hanna Center and they agree that if it is just brittle or brown leaves, it is one of two things: the plants got dry and the lower leaves are where the damage is exhibited, or it is just a characterisitc of the plants, as many of the older types have this as a common characteristic.
See answer below.
I like to fertilize them when they finish blooming, but some folks think if you fertilize them once flower buds appear, it will increase bloom size. But I always like to do it after flowering, and make sure they have plenty of water when they are fertliized
Try “Petals from the Past” in Jemison. If anybody has it they do as old fashion roses is one of their specialties.
In our area, and especially in Trussville, our soils are high in phosphorus. That is why Auburn recommends 15-0-15, and yes it can be used as a turf fertilizer too (as most fertilizers can). I got a bag a couple of weeks ago at Universal Pro (formally Universal Seed and Supply).
Actually, I like to fertilize mine before they come into bloom because of the energy the plants need to bloom. Once blooming is finshed a few weeks, I feed them again to encourage additional tuber growth. Fertilization prior to, and after bloom is a common way to handle most perennials.
In order to save water this time of the year, I irrigate if we have not had rain in 4 to 5 days. As the weather moves in hot of course you may need to irrigate every three days. Currently I have mine on 20 minutes per station, but when summer comes I put mine on 30 minutes a station. While I have an automatic system, when we have heavy rains I turn mine off to save water, then turn it back on when it is dry enough to water again.
Absolutely, just remember it likes shade and water. Actually, if kept watered, the hotter the better.
Well, let me give you a tentative yes, but if you could send me a picture, I could be more specific. If it is annual spring weeds, you could apply a pre-emergent in the fall and control many of them, and reduce what has to be hand pulled. If it is grass, vines, and woody types of weeds, you can paint them with Roundup on a sunny warm day being careful not to get any of the Roundup on the Vinca. I do this by using a sponge brush dipped into the concentrated Roundup. Be sure and wear gloves and do not splatter. Remember the results are not instant but will take a few day to start dying.
Mixed types of turf and large yards are tough to handle. First and foremost, cut the weeds and turf lower than usual now, and keep it cut until the good grass starts turning green. I would recommend you use a pre-emergent herbicide for mixed turf types on an area that large, instead of spraying. I would go to your local farm supply or feed and seed store, tell they the type of turf you have, and ask for a herbicide that would control summer weeds and not hurt the grass. Apply when the grass, not the weeds, greens up. Apply at the recommended rate shown on the bag, and they can help you with this. Again in September go and ask for what they have that will control Poa annua and other winter weeds, and apply in early October at the recommended rate on the bag. By doing this year after year, and good grass cutting and fertilization practices, you should be able to maintain a nice looking lawn, but it is going to take time to get the weeds under control.
Funny you should ask this. I was in Lowe’s – Trussville yesterday, and they had several flats for sale. High filtered shade with well drained soil that can stay moist but not wet are excellent conditions to grow this plant. Mine never last a long time, so good luck and let me know how yours perform.
Variegated pittosporum is an excellent plant and does best in sun. The plants can get large so spacing should be around four feet apart, so buying tiny plants will not make the landscape attractive initially. But before you buy, these pittosporum can be severely injured in a cold winter. If you want another plant that might give you a similar effect, you might want to try the variegated dwarf osmanthus.
My first thought was a camellia or a sasanqua camellia. Bloom color of your choice, and you could underplant it with hosta for summer color. A very sculptural red stemmed semi-weeping Japanese Maple would work, under planted with pansies in winter, too. Other evergreens to consider are Osmanthus (including the variegated one), Gardenia, Chinese Fringe (loropetalum), and Japanese Aucuba. Pieris would be fine, except they do not get tall.