Congratulations to Carol Feldman
After countless hours and years of study Carol has graduated from The University of Texas at Arlington. This May Carol received her 3rd college degree, a Master of Landscape Architecture.
Things to Do in June
With the lack of rain you must water more often. Do not let things dry out. It is times like this when you must mulch and apply more lava sand or polymers such as “Solid Water.” Check out our on-line catalog for more information.
Now is a great time to fertilize the lawn again. Nights are warm and grass is growing vigorously. Apply a complete lawn fertilizer like Green Sense 5-2-4 or 6-2-4. This is also an excellent time to eliminate lawn weeds. It's not too late to reseed or overseed the lawn with bermuda seed. This will help fill in paths that dogs made during winter months and crowd out weeds. A lot of the weeds you have in the lawn should start to die now that it is getting hot, if not, apply 10% Pickling Vinegar. It is a good time to aerate the lawn and apply a thin layer of compost and a rock powder like Humate.
Roses & Crape Myrtles
Many customers are bringing in foliage from roses and Crape Myrtles that have mildew, aphid, black-spot or other insect or disease problems. Use Foliar Juice or Garrett Juice and add Neem Oil to your spray. The foliar spray will help fertilize and the Neem Oil will kill any insects, as well as control fungal problems.
Color in the Garden & Perennials
A great selection of annual color or, better yet, perennial color, is available now. Annuals are an ideal way to create instant color in the garden. In recent years growers have introduced large size, blooming, annual plants that they call 'Color Pots.' If you are like me and do not like spending money, perennials are the way to go, and if you do your homework, you can choose a selection that will bloom throughout the year. This is an ideal time to select and plant the spring, summer and fall flowering varieties of perennials.
Slugs, Snails & Rolly Pollies
The warm, wild and wet winter brought out the slugs, snails and rolly pollies (“pillbugs”). It is important to take action to control them before they cause to much damage.
The cool, wet weather this spring has also encouraged the germination of weed seeds, so they are a real problem in many gardens. It is critical that these weeds be pulled, cultivated or eliminated in some form before they have a chance to flower and go to seed again. Otherwise, you will be fighting newly germinated weed seed for the next several years.
If you planted too many veggies, now is the time to thin out the weaker ones so that they do not compete for nutrients and light. Enjoy your strawberries and raspberries now and remember that if you purchased them at Rohde’s we want some. The best way to avoid pest problems in the garden is to carefully choose what you plant. Purchase resistant and disease-free stock.
Bacillus thuringiensis is safe to use on food crops. Use according to label directions. You can make whitefly traps by spreading a thin coat of Vaseline on yellow poster board squares. Mount the cardboard traps on sticks and place them at blossom height.
Flowers & Fruit Trees
Stake tall flowers to keep them from blowing over in the wind or being weighed down by rainfall or the weight of the flower. Add a stake to each planting hole as you're transplanting, and loosely tie the stem to the stake as the plant grows. Use a product that expands with the growth of the plant like “Miracle Garden Tie™.”
Prune suckers and water sprouts from all fruit trees; pull suckers at base of tree that grow from below the graft.
Remove spent flowers from annuals and perennials to encourage more bloom. Cut off faded iris blooms and stalks.
When cutting roses to take indoors, cut to an outside facing bud to encourage growth away from the center of the plant. This increases air circulation and discourages mildew.
Worms & Caterpillars Don’t Worry Me!
Dipel or Thuricide are some of the brand names for Bt or Bacillus thuringiensis, a toxic crystal. This naturally occurring, soil borne organism is able to control certain insect pests in the larva stage only. It is during this stage in an insect’s life cycle where it feeds the most. The insect must eat Bt for it to work.
If you walk around your garden at least once a week and observe your landscape you will become familiar with the different pest that attack the different plants. When you observe worms on certain plants make sure that you want to control those worms. If you have caterpillars on fennel make sure that it is not going to be a butterfly. If you see detrimental worms or caterpillars on the foliage of your plants, apply Bt to the foliage of plants infested, preferably to the bottom side of the leaf. The wand on most pump sprayers can be adjusted to spray at different angles. If not, stand on your head and spray at night when your neighbors are asleep. The reasons for spraying the underside are because most larva feed from the underside of the leaf surface and Bt breaks down in sunlight.
Bt works by paralyzing the digestive tract of the larvae causing it to cease eating. This will cause the insect to die, but it can be a slow death depending on the amount of Bt ingested. Enjoy watching the results. If you go out and look at the area where you applied the Bt, you will see that the insect is still moving around but you will notice that it has stopped eating. Their movement then becomes slower, their heads seem to swell as their bodies shrink up, and then die.
There are several varieties of Bt for the control of specific insects. The most commonly sold is kurstaki for control of tomato hornworms, fruitworms, cabbageworm, cabbage looper and other worm larvae. The newest one that I am aware of is israelensis and it is used for control of mosquitoes and fungus gnats. A sure fire way of controlling mosquitoes is to eliminate standing water from gutters, cans, tires wheelbarrows, low lying areas next to the foundation of the house and crotches in trees and by trimming weeds by creeks and at the edges of ponds.
When you read about Bt products, you find that you can control insects safely as long as you follow the instructions on the label. Always wear proper clothing and avoid contact with eyes. Make sure you blow with the wind and not against it. If you use Bt on food crops, it is so safe that it can be used on the same day of harvest, but I would not do that.
Because the variety of Bt targets only specific worms or mosquitoes, birds that eat worms or other beneficial insects like wasp, green lace wings, lady bugs, etc. will not be killed.
Now I know that the following article is related to caterpillars and I want to make sure that you pay attention to the caterpillars that you are about to spray. The main thing that I want you to realize is that not all caterpillars are bad and some will delight you all summer long.
Bees, ladybugs, spiders, dragonflies and butterflies are about the only insects that I really care about. Until recently I thought that every worm on a plant should be killed with a Bt product such as Dipel or Thuricide. But since we have been selling herbs, I have noticed that on some specific plants, beautiful worm like creatures appeared that were not all gray and fuzzy. Some had beautiful markings and colors that would catch my attention and make me aware of their beauty. Butterfly larvae. I have been able to see butterflies come and go as they please and every once in a while they will alight softly on a leaf. Later on I have moved these plants to separate areas and have been able to observe the eggs and the beginning of a new life on a plant. As the city has grown up around our nursery we have been cautious of what we do to protect these beautiful “Flying Flowers” and have received certifications as a Wildlife Habitat. We have been able to show the average gardener that they can make a difference in their backyards, enabling butterflies to find shelter and food.
There I was working at the computer, inputting new items and codes, my guard dog, Alfred, resting at my feet but aware of every movement, every sound. I know this because I dropped a potato chip and before it hit the floor Alfred caught it, chewed once, swallowed and laid his head back on the floor. I heard someone clear his throat and I looked up startled to see a man standing in front of me with a badge in his hand. He introduced himself as an Inspector for the Texas Department of Agriculture, that regulates Nurseries and their stock. He told me that he was going to have to give me a citation because some of our herbs were infested with worms. He suggested that I apply an insecticide. He said he would come back in the next few days and re-inspect. I asked him to show me the problem plants and he took me out to the herbs and showed me the fennel and dill had hundreds of worms on them. I showed him the markings on these worms and came back into the store where I looked up the larvae of several butterflies and showed him the pictures. We also looked up the host plant preferred by these butterflies and sure enough fennel and dill were two of the preferred plants. Satisfied the inspector asked me to separate the infested plants from the rest of the group and keep them isolated until they hatched. I gave him two different plants and he took them home for observation.
When that ugly little caterpillar can transform into a beautiful butterfly, one is astonished at the process. Once a crawling worm, the butterfly can go where it wants, becoming a “Flying Flower.”
If you would like to share this experience with your children or loved ones, start creating a Butterfly Garden. Of course you could call Carol Feldman and have her design a garden for you, but the whole process is a little more difficult than that. You need to know what you are getting into. You need to plan your butterfly habitat.
Planning a Butterfly Garden
If you think that you may want a butterfly garden, look around your property. Do you have a favorite window where you can observe a part of your garden? How much sun does this area receive? Five to six hours would be ideal. Is it protected from heavy winds and passerbys? Is there a water supply? Can you build a shallow pond or place a stone that will accumulate water to make the area more natural?
As noted earlier, the butterfly flies around lazily and deposits eggs on certain plants, but it also needs to survive so it looks for plants with nectar. A butterfly garden consists of two different types of plants; larval food plants and adult nectar plants. Larval food plants are those on which the eggs are laid and the caterpillars feed. Nectar plants provide nourishment for the adult butterflies. When your garden includes larval food plants you give the butterflies a reason to stay. They will do the wild thing! The nectar plants will give them the energy to do more of the wild thing!
The best butterfly nectar plants require more sun and are bright in colors such as purple, pink, yellow or white. Butterflies will seek nectar from petunias, verbena, zinnias, butterfly weed, coneflowers, daisies and butterfly bush, to name a few. Plant in massive groups of one color rather than single plants of different colors and plan for a continuous bloom through the entire growing season with spring, summer and fall blooming plants. Do not forget that they will need protection. Shrubs can offer shelter and food. In choosing plants, start with native species, because native plants are adapted to the climate and soil, however the most popular attractant, the Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii), is a native of China. I have the Black Knight growing at my house. It has beautiful purple blooms that seem to be alive with “Flying Flowers.”
While adult butterflies will sip nectar from many flowers, egg-laying females may be looking for one specific plant to feed their offspring. Your herb garden may already provide fennel, dill, and parsley for swallowtails. Transplant some of these into your butterfly garden.
Check a guidebook for preferred native plants for butterflies in your region.
Texas Monthly: A Field Guide to Butterflies of Texas
Xerces Society/Smithsonian Institute: Butterfly Gardening
Geyata Ajilvsgi: Butterfly Gardening of the South
Suggested Plant List
Herbs are used for flavoring food. Butterflies are also attracted to them as a nectar source as well as a larval food source.
Catnip, Chives, Dill, Lavender, Mint, Parsley, Fennel.
Most shrubs have a limited flower duration. However, they can provide good, short-term nectar sources, as well as butterfly habitats.
Butterfly Bush, Cotoneaster, Mock Orange, Privet, Spirea and Viburnum. Abelias bloom all summer and are great for butterflies.
Perennial plants are non-woody plants that live and flower for more than two years.
Aster, BeeBalm, Butterfly Weed, Coreopsis, Daylily, Gayfeather, Goldenrod, Hollyhock, JoePye Weed, Mallow, Milkweed, Phlox, Purple Coneflower, Rudbeckia Sedum, Shasta Daisy, Yarrow and Lantana.
After you have done your homework and determined all the possibilities come visit Rohde’s Nursery!!! Let us help you.
A few months passed and the inspector came back. He had retired and had found time to observe the different stages of the butterfly life cycle. He built himself an enclosure where he has over a 1000 chrysalis and adult butterflies. He says that he is the talk of the neighborhood, that all the kids come by to see his display and that he has never been happier. Before he left he said thank you and asked me to give my guard dog a gift. A rubber butterfly. When I got home that night, Alfred met me at the door as he always does. I gave him the present from the inspector. He smelled it and started to growl, the growl turned into a vicious bark. He sank his teeth into it and within seconds the plastic butterfly was nothing but shreds. I know that he was just sharpening his teeth so when they were really needed they would be sharp enough to cut through a cheeto.