This week, I have been in Manhattan for New Agent Training and it was wonderful to meet and to learn from the experts in their various fields. One person I had the pleasure to meet was Ward Upton. He is a specialist for the Horticulture Department with a wealth of knowledge about his subject. This week, I thought that I would share a couple of his pieces from the most recent Horticulture newsletter. I hope you find them as informative as I did.
Controlling Grassy Weeds in Broadleaf Plants
Most gardeners are familiar with herbicides that can be used to eliminate broadleaves (i.e., dandelions) from grasses (i.e., lawn). They may not be as familiar with herbicides that can take grasses out of broadleaf plants like shrubs. There are two major weed killer types that are used by homeowners to kill grassy weeds in broadleaf plants. On the commercial side, the trade names for these products are Fusilade and Poast. Homeowner labeling is more diverse. I have seen Fusilade sold under the name of “Grass-B-Gon.”Poast is sometimes sold to homeowners under the Poast label but I’ve seen it more commonly sold as “Hi-Yield Grass Killer” and “Monterey Grass Getter.” There may be other trade names, as well. Fortunately, you can identify the product by the common chemical name listed on the label. Fusilade’s common chemical name is fluazifop, and Poast’s is sethoxydim. If you decide to use one of these products, read the label carefully. Often, a crop oil must be added to the spray solution for the herbicide to work well. Some grassy weeds are harder to control such as brome grass and sandbur. Though both of these products can be used over the top of numerous broadleaf plants (including iris and daylilies), there are some differences in labeling. For example, if you need to control grasses in strawberries, choose Poast because it has a seven-day waiting period before harvest. Fusilade cannot be used within one year of harvest. Contributors: Ward Upham, Extension Associate
Accumulated Stress Taking a Toll on Trees
We have received reports of evergreen trees in numerous areas of the state dying suddenly. Probably the most common tree to go down has been blue spruce but pines and even some eastern red cedars are expiring as well. The cause in most of these cases seems to be stress related. Not just stress from recent events but accumulated stress from the last several years. We have had two very hot, dry summers as well as a warm and very dry winter in 2011-2012. Even if we have excellent growing conditions from now on, we still may lose trees, especially in areas where factors other than the weather are stressing trees. For example, most of the red cedar and pine deaths are in windbreaks where competition for water has weakened trees. If you suspect you have stressed plants, try watering if conditions are dry and outside watering is allowed in your area. Trees should be watered every two weeks. Trees transplanted within the last couple of years should be watered every week. Do not water every day as tree roots need oxygen. Overwatering can be every bit as damaging as under watering. Water to a depth of 12 to 18 inches, if possible. Though this will not reach all the roots of a tree, it will reach the majority of them. Trees normally have at least 80 percent of their roots in the top foot of soil. Shrubs should be watered every week to a depth of 8 to 12 inches. Check depth of watering by pushing a wooden dowel or metal rod into the soil. It will stop when it hits dry soil. (Ward Upham)