Don't mow the daffodils

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 15, 2011

By Darrell Blackwelder
For Salisbury Post
SALISBURY — Dodging hail and stormy weather seems the most difficult situation for gardeners over the past few weeks.
Retail garden and farm outlets are very busy with customers anticipating the chance to plant vegetable transplants and maintain their landscapes. Many have questions about their gardening chores. Some of these queries may relate to your situation.
Q: When can I mow the leaves off of the spent daffodils?
A: It’s not a good idea to mow the leaves of this bulb. The leaves are necessary for the plant to develop flowers for the next season. They will eventually turn yellow and fall over. You can clip or mow them at this time. Bulbs should be fertilized and irrigated to maximize growth for showy blooms.
Q: My peaches rotted last year right before they got ripe. Is there anything I can spray on them to control this problem?
A: Spraying peach trees and other fruit trees is important for insect and disease control. Start the process after petal fall, which has already occurred, and spray on a regular basis every 10-14 days. It’s best to use a premixed home orchard spray. These sprays contain both fungicides and insecticides that will control most pests throughout the summer. Visit farm supply stores and garden centers for these sprays and other application equipment.
Q: Can I control ants or grubs in the soil now?
A: Yes, the soil is warm enough to apply recommended soil insecticides. Soil insecticides reduce grubs which in turn drives moles to other grub-infested locations. Grubs can be controlled in the spring, but the best month for grub control is early October.
Q: My mother gave me some pecans and when I cracked them the kernels inside has black spots that give them a bitter taste. What can I do for this problem?
A: The problem is stinkbug damage. Stinkbugs damage the kernels when they pierce the outer shell and feed on the kernels. Weed control in and near the orchard helps suppress stink bugs and lower the possibility of their moving into pecans.
Q: What are the caterpillars in my cherry tree? How do I control them?
A: Those are tent caterpillars. The annual infestation will vary, but it looks like a heavy number this spring. Control by disturbing the nest, opening to birds and other prey. Bacillus thuringenisis sprays (Dipel, BT’s) will control them.
Darrell Blackwelder is the County Extension Director with horticulture responsibilities with the NC. Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County. Learn more about Cooperative Extension events by calling 704-216-8970 or