Tips Learned From Others

A unique way to apply Roundup

Containerized Pieris suffering from some type damage

One of the best things about volunteering with other folks that garden is that you learn so much. Or if you visit private gardens you can observe many tricks that work for themselves. And finally just simply asking questions to professionals can extend your knowledge. One of the best tricks to get rid of tiny trees that cannot be pulled out, or to remove things that cannot be dug out of ground covers or just weeds that simply if pulled you never seem to get all the roots is using Roundup. Purchase Roundup concentrate (41% or better concentration rate). Get a bottle like the one above. I like a shoe polish bottle with a sponge tip and has a good cover that seals it when not in use. Put on waterproof gloves and carefully open the bottle you plan to use, make sure it is empty and clean. Fill the bottle with concentrate and replace the cap and cover the sponge applicator.
Now the product is ready to use. There is the one thing you have to do to get maximum effect. Once you cut the unwanted plant you must apply it quickly to the cut, so I suggest that you cut one stem at a time. This is extremely effective on privet, small tree seedlings that pop up in our gardens, and poison ivy. This to me is so easy if you take proper precautions to protect yourself.
I have two pots on my front porch that are big and have beautiful Japanese Pieris in each pot. When they finished blooming this year I realize they did not look so good. My first thought was iron deficiency; but since they were five years old and have been so pretty I decide to write James Jacobi at the Hanna Center at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens and ask him just to be sure. Remember if it is iron chlorosis I would apply something to release the iron or give the plant some iron supplement. Boy did he give this gardener a different answer than I thought. He said that since it had been potted so long that it was probably due to water stress or being root bound. Since they were in big pots I never thought of being potbound, and I hand water these and have someone do it while I am away. But let’s face it, I am sure I am not consistent. While it might be iron deficiency because of the new growth, he suggested that I check the pH because it might have drifted up over the last five years. Boy was he a help. I now think it is stress and pH verses iron deficiency and am treating the plants accordingly.
And finally here is a tip from me. This year as always I grow my eggplant in pots; always using clean pots and fresh potting soil. This year I planted a large fruit type instead of the egg size fruits. It was growing beautifully and had already set a nice fruit. Then I notice that if I watered it in the morning it would be wilted again by late afternoon. And watering did not seem to perk it up. Well there was a very good chance I was going to lose it with the combination of early summer rains and my watering. I simply stopped watering it until the soil was dry if I scratched down in the soil with my fingers. Over the next several weeks the bigger leaves were always droopy, but I noticed the small leaves were perking up. Eventually it recovered and is now watered like the other containerized vegetables. So if yours are not responding to watering it may be over watering. So don’t assume all plants are dry and need water in these hot days.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

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