• 39°

It’s OK to trim crape myrtle now

By Darrell Blackwelder
For the Salisbury Post
SALISBURY ó Weíve experiencing typical summer weather of hot days with scattered showers in the afternoon. Many have called with questions about lawns and gardens. Below are a few questions from Rowan County residents that may be of interest.
Q: I have a crape myrtle tree that has limbs with heavy blooms that are getting in the way when I mow. Can I prune them now?
A: Yes, these trees can be pruned without damage in late summer and early fall. Light pruning will not kill these established trees.
Q: My tomatoes wonít ripen as they should and have a big core. What causes this?
A: Gray wall is one of the problems associated with poor nutrition and cloudy weather. It is also associated with excessively hot weather. With the weather weíve had over the past few weeks, this type of problem can be expected.
Q: I have yellow jackets in a couple of places in my lawn. Whatís the best way to get rid of them?
A: Wait until early morning, just before sunrise; all the insects should be inside the nest and calm. Empty an entire aerosol can of wasp and hornet spray into the hole with one stream. Place a brick or rock over the hole and walk away. Do not use gas to control yellow jackets.
Q: I have fresh mulch given to me by a tree company. Can I use it vegetable garden?
A: I would not. Compost the material for a year or so and make sure it is well rotted. As the material decomposes, bacteria use the nitrogen in the soil, taking it away from the vegetable plants. Plants often suffer nutrient deficiencies when raw wood is placed near growing plants.
Q: When do azaleas and other spring blooming trees and shrubs set their flowers?
A: Generally late August and September is the month when these shrubs set their blooms. Be sure to keep them properly irrigated to help them in the process.
Q: Are you going to sell rain barrels again?
A: Yes, we are taking orders now and expect delivery on Aug. 31. Contact the Extension office at 704-216-8970 to place order by Aug. 26. More information and a description of the rain barrel can be found at the Rowan Master Gardener website www.rowanmastergardener.com
Darrell Blackwelder is the County Extension Director with horticulture responsibilities with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County. Learn more about Cooperative Extension events and activities by calling 704-216-8970 or online at www.rowanextension.com

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