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Nationally renowned garden expert Melinda Myers helps everyday gardeners find success and ease in the garden through her Melinda’s Garden Moments radio segments. Melinda shares “must have” tips that hold the key to gardening success, learned through her more than 30 years of horticulture experience. Listeners from across the country find her gardener friendly, practical approach to gardening both refreshing and informative! On this page, Melinda shares some more extensive garden tips, which expand on the information provided in her one-minute radio segments.
New tips are added throughout each month, providing timely step-by-step tips on what you need to do next in your garden! Visit Melinda’s website www.melindamyers.com for more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and answers to your questions.
Clematis Stem Wilt
by Melinda Myers,posted May 13 2013 11:38AM
Clematis Stem Wilt
Your clematis looks beautiful until suddenly the stems and leaves start turning black. Though it looks bad your clematis will survive.
The fungus that causes this disease enters your plant through wounds and cracks in the stem near ground level. Fortunately new growth arising below this point will be disease free.
Reduce future problems by pruning out and destroying infested stems. Disinfect tools between cuts to reduce the risk of spreading this disease.
As new growth emerges from the soil carefully secure it to the support to reduce the risk of cracking and damage. Eliminating the entryways for the fungus will reduce the risk of disease.
In the future consider planting the crown of the clematis below the soil surface. This allows the plant to produce new shoots below the point of infection.
Try growing small flowered clematis that tend to resist this disease. Alpina, macropetala and the viticella types are a few to consider.
A bit more information: For a disease to occur you must have the causal organism (fungus, bacteria, virus) present, disease-promoting weather and susceptible plants. Remove one of these factors and you eliminate the disease. Keep this in mind when managing clematis stem wilt and other plant diseases in your garden.
Eco-friendly Control of Thrips
Poorly developed flowers, stunted plants and silvery streaks on leaves are indications thrips may be feeding on your plants.
These tiny insects have file-like mouthparts they use to puncture the outer surface of leaves, stems and flowers and suck out plant sap. They are very small and difficult to detect. Hold a white piece of paper under the plant and shake. Or remove the petals of damaged flowers, place in a sealed jar with 70% alcohol and shake the jar to dislodge and detect the pests.
Control is difficult and often not needed as the damage is discovered after the thrips have finished feeding.
Provide the proper growing conditions and care for your plants. Avoid excess nitrogen that promotes lush succulent growth these pests prefer. And remove spent flowers that tend to harbor the insects. Manage weeds in the garden and keep thrip-susceptible plants away from weedy areas where the pest populations tend to be high.
A bit more information: Beneficial insects like predatory thrips, green lacewings, minute pirate bugs and some parasitic wasps feed upon plant damaging thrips. Invite these good bugs into the garden by planting a diversity of plants and avoiding persistent pesticides. Visit the University of California IPM online for more details on this pest.
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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