Thursday, September 06, 2007

As you all know this will go down as a summer to remember (or forget). Not only has the summer been unbearable lest we forget about the April cold blast that left our plant material in tatters. Our hope then was to have a normal summer so that trees and shrubs could recover their stores of carbohydrates before the onset of winter. That has likely not happened. Unfortunatley we will be dealing with the loss of old and young trees for several years to come as a result of the this most unlikely weather.

This fall you should prepare to fertilize all plant material once a killing frost has occurred. A soil sample will help deterimine what we need to apply however if that is not done 10 lbs of 10-10-10 per 1000ft2 twice this fall six weeks apart will help significantly. If you have the water resources it will only benefit if you can apply 1inch of water per week to any and all trees and shrubs.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Blossom end rot of Tomato

There has been a lot of calls in the last couple of weeks regarding Tomato fruit rotting prior to harvest. This is called Blossom end rot and occurs every year to varying degrees. This problem is associated with the fluctuation of wet and dry conditions in the soil. Sprays after the fact are not affective for this disorder and actually sprays are not effective prior to this problem. The key to this situation is to maintain soil moisture and not allowing the plants to dry out.

The following link is an article written by Dr. William Nesmith and Dr. Paul Vincelli.

Take a look I think your questions will be answered.

Blooming Bardstown Garden Tour

The Garden tour was a great success. I would like to thank the gardeners who graciously accepted us into their yards and exposed other Nelson county gardeners to the hidden treasures around them. I am surprised each year with the quality and beauty of our neighbors properties. This year we featured elaborate water features, outdoor living areas, creative oasis' and so much more.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Bagworms on the Move

I have been receiving calls this week about Bagworms devouring evergreens. First, we need to describe what it is we are looking for and its damage. Unfortunately the damage at this time is more noticeable than the insect. The appears as defoliation at the top of the tree leaving nothing bu the stem. The insect is a caterpillar that lives its entire life inside a bag. The bag is fashioned out of whatever is on the tree. It could be pieces of leaf, berries, or twigs and the results are a very camouflaged appearance. They start out very tiny and result in a capsule over an inch in length. For much more information and control recommendations please use the link below.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The beginning of DRY

It seems to be hitting us a little early this year. Lawn and gardens look a lot like they would in mid to late July not the first of May. We are currently in a abnormally dry period in central Kentucky however, our neighbors in southern Kentucky are already in the middle of a drought.

For me water conservation is of the utmost importance. When watering your lawn or garden take measures to conserve water when you can. For example in the garden use soaker hoses or drip irrigation to deliver the water at the root system where the plant needs it most. Even better cover the soaker hose or drip tape with a nice layer of mulch to help keep the water in the ground.

Generally we want to deliver about an inch of water per week (when Mother Nature is not) to the lawn and landscape materials. Do this in one good soaking and not several little dribbles. The plants will benefit to a greater degree to this type of watering. I like to use spot sprinklers to deliver the water to particular plants and I use a mason jar lid sitting level under the sprinkler. When that jar lid is full you have delivered about an inch of water.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Orange Rust on Blackberries

Last week I found the first outbreak of Orange Rust in Nelson County this year. Orange Rust is a big threat to the commercial Blackberry industry in Kentucky. Nelson county has about ten acres of Blackberries planted and that is expanding yearly.

The main problem associated with Orange Rust is the fact that once the plant becomes infected with the disease it can't be healed. Orange Rust moves systemically within the plant infecting the roots, crown, stem, and foliage. The plant will become less vigorous and decline with time. It is easily recognizable this time of year due to its large orange pustules that populate the underside of the leaves. For more information on how to control Orange Rust on Blackberries visit:

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Twenty New Master Gardeners have just recently hit the ground running. After successfully testing on Monday, May 7th they are full of knowledge and ready to help. Pictured to the left is this Master Gardener Class at their field trip to the Yew Dell Garden. They all fully participated in all the classes and learned extensively about the botany, pathology, entomology, landscaping, wildflowers and natives, woody ornamentals, annuals a perennials, soils and fertility, turf care, vegetable production, and fruit production. So as you can see they are well rounded and ready to answer questions.
To learn more about becoming a Master Gardener you can email me at

Friday, May 04, 2007

Vegetable Production and a trip to Yew Dell Gardens

It is time to catch up. Last week we installed, at two county locations, raised row black plastic for vegetable production. Chris Coulter and Adam Wheatley are participating in a program this year to experiment with the production of vegetables on black plastic. The idea is to conserve water, reduce weeds, increase yields, and increase plant vigor. This is by no means a new idea folks around the state and this county have been doing this for some years now with great success. I will supply you some pictures of the process in a future post.

Earlier this week the new class of Master Gardeners visited the gardens of world renown plantsman Theodore Klein. His garden is known as Yew Dell Garden and is located in Oldham County. It has only been functioning as an arboretum for the past few years but oh what a job they have done. It has really interesting architecture and wonderful old specimen plants. Dr. Paul Cappiello is the curator of the collection. Visit their site if you like:

Friday, April 27, 2007

Most Plants are Looking up but some still have a long way to go

Most plants are recovering nicely from the big freeze around Easter. Hosta plants are beginning to show new life and several of our shade trees are beginning to show new life. However there are some plants that we must wait to see what will happen.

The plant stressing me the most is 12 year old specimen Japanese Maple that is showing very few signs of life. I don't fear so much about losing the tree as I do the overall shape that has taken the twelve years to get the way I wanted. For many of these type plants we must wait to what Mother Nature will accomplish.

Things that would benefit from a haircut are:
Some Hollies
Hosta's (remove the browned leaves)
Monkey grass

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Freeze Damage to Ornamentals

It has been eleven days since the Easter freeze and we are still in a wait and see pattern. Many plants were very successful, an example would be the Hawthornes on Stephen Foster that are in full bloom today. I received word this morning that apples may end up with a crop after all. Flowers were open yesterday and Bees were in a flurry of activity.

For most ornamental plants we need to wait and see what happens before we take action. Do not fertilize this spring that will only make the problem worse however fertilization will be important this fall. There will be some plants like Japanese Maples that will likely have stem dieback which will require heavy pruning and as I said before other plants weren't affected in the least.

For much more information on this subject see the following link: