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  • Gardening questions: Brown Tipped Leaves, Bugs, Squash Growing, Euphorbia bulbs, Tomato tips

    1. What can I do about the browning of the leaf tips of my plant?

    Brown Tips is a symptom to several possible issues. Mostly water issues, too much, not enough, or salt build up. The pot shown most likely does not have any drainage, so it is very easy to get watering wrong.

    2. Can you confirm the white substance is bad for my plant and can't be fix?

    Mealybugs are not easy to control, but with dedication they can be defeated.

    Step 1 – Environmental control. Move specimen to outdoor covered location for summer. Like a porch or patio. Palms can be a good houseplant, but a stressed one will recover better if given a better source of light. Also, the outdoor environment can work against the insects.

    Step 2 – Physical control. Mix up a small bucket of soapy water using dishsoap. Soak an old rag in the soapy water and wipe all of the white fuzz and bugs off of the leaves. Get into all those little nooks and crannies. Repeat every 2 to 3 weeks until no more fuzz appears. The insects that this does not remove will have its protective wax removed and will be vulnerable to the drying sun and air.

    Step 3 – Chemical control – Apply Bonide systemic insecticide granules to the plant according to directions. The active ingredient will move throughout the plant and all chewing and sucking insects will be eliminated.

    3. Exactly what is that white substance?
    Mealybugs! The white substance is a wax produced by a small insect to protect itself from drying out.

    4. I have a potted Parsley plant that is infested with ants. They swarm every time I water it. Are they harmful to the plant and how can I get rid of them?
    Unless you're talking about fire ants, the ants are pesky to you but shouldn't harm your parsley. They are simply looking for a spot to construct their mounds. Since we've had drier conditions we're seeing more ants as they are out looking for water. If your container with parsley is inside leave it outside at night to try and get rid of the ants.

    5. I have trouble growing squash. They get big and beautiful but then the blooms look like someone has come by and cut them off the stem & they're lying in the ground. Then the next day or two the plants are wilting &/or discolored lying on the ground, dead. Is this cut worms? What can I do about this? I have used seven dust.

    There are two separate things going on with your squash plant:

    1. Blossom drop is typical behavior for squash plants. Vine crops produce separate male and female flowers on the same plant. In order for a squash to be produced, pollen must be successfully transferred from the male flower to the female flower. This pollen exchange is usually accomplished by bees. Early in the season, squash plants produce mainly male flowers. There may be 3 to 4 male blossoms opening for several days to a week before the first female flowers open. These male flowers will drop from the plant since they are not needed for fruit production. That is most likely what you are seeing in your garden.

    2. The plants may be dying for a number of reasons ranging from insects to diseases. This time of year, cucumber beetles, squash bugs and squash vine borers are very active.There are also several diseases that can develop from powdery mildews to bacterial wilts. Some of these diseases are spread by insect pests. Many of these diseases and insects can be controlled with an appropriate fungicide and/or pesticide. Bring in a sample of the plant or picture to Pike Nurseries and an Associate can more clearly define what's going on and can recommend a solution.

    6. I just got some Euphorbia bulbs. Can you advise the proper planting procedures?
    Euphorbia is a great addition to container gardens and outdoor gardens with its small flowers that seem to float on petite stems. First, you want to plant your euphorbia bulbs in an area that receives partial sun (3-6 hours of morning or early afternoon sun). If planting in a garden bed, amend the soil with Pike Planting Mix at a 50/50 ratio with the native soil. As a general rule of thumb, when you plant bulbs you want to plant them twice as deep as the height of the bulb. Place the bulb in the hole pointy side up and cover with the amended soil. Water thoroughly and wait for your euphorbia to emerge.

    7. We have a beautiful potted tomato plant that grows well, but never blooms or bears fruit.  It gets afternoon sun and I water daily.  Can you tell me what the problem is?
    Most vegetables and herbs, including tomatoes, need at least 6 hours of sunlight. If your tomato gets less sunlight it may need to be moved so it gets more sun. If your tomato is getting enough sun it may not be producing blooms or fruit if it's not getting enough nutrients. There are two key ways to ensure your tomato gets the right nutrients. First, amend your soil with a quality planting mix like Pike Planting Mix. For vegetables, or really compact soil it's helpful to also add in compost like Foothills Compost. Use the Pike Planting Mix, Foothills Compost and the native soil at a 33/33/33 ratio. Second, fertilize your tomatoes with an organic fertilizer like EB Stone Tomato and Vegetable Food.

    If you have specific questions of your own visit the contact us page or visit your local Pike Nurseries 

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