What's Up 102: dormant lawn, lilies, oakleaf hydrangea, weevils

In this issue:

Testing the mettle of a dormant lawn

Hue new about lily color changes?!

Sneaky daylilies don't play nice

Oakleaf hydrangea: Not your fault!

Taking up arms against weevil

Amazing news in plant-pest wars


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Above: In high summer its tough to say which is prettier, Crocosmia or rain drops. Want this gorgeous combination of hot color and cool water as a refreshing decoration for your wall?


Lily color changes


Above: True lilies (Lilium species and hybrids) are mid-summer delights. However, they are not always aesthetically pleasing after blooming. We deadhead them as the blooms fade and then, several weeks later we cut back the established plants -- those with multiple stems -- if they are cluttering a scene. We have no qualms about cutting them down to the ground long before they would have faded on their own. They come back.

Below: A Lilium bulb increases in size; here, a year of moderate growth. If a lily is a genetically unstable variety, it can be making big changes here that you won't notice until some time in the future. As new "daughter bulbs" grow, each develops its own stem and eventually blooms -- which is when you might first notice significant mother-daughter differences. Especially vigorous daughters or those with genes for greater height or bigger leaves than their mother may reach blooming size pretty quickly and even crowd the mother plant so that the original bulb dwindles over time. Notice that the daughter bulbs form at the outside edge of the motherb bulb. Their roots able to enter soil as yet unclaimed by the mother's roots. We think of this as an offset's positional advantage, giving it the chance to exploit new sources of water and nutrient.



Roadside daylilies untrustworthy among their own kind

Below: Hybrid daylilies increase by mannerly, short offset. The blue line shows this hybrid's average extension.


Below: The wild "ditch lily at the far left edge of this photo sent a runner 24" to the right, where it came up snug against the crown of a neighboring, hybrid daylily. Janet's loosened the soil with a fork and lifted out the running root (orange line parallels the runner root she's exposed). The leaves of this aggressive running daylily are wider and usually paler in color than the hybrids around it, but that distinction is all too easy to overlook as the wild thing takes over.



Black vine weevil fodder



Above: Black vine weevil and the notch it ate from a coral bell (Heuchera) leaf in one night.

Below: Learn to recognize the notching. It's on plumbago (left) and Lenten rose (right, below).

WeevilCeratoN5908s.jpg WeevilHellebN5910s.jpg

Thank goodness for small favors. In the case of black vine weevil, that the adult's damage is distinctive and the insects do not move far in their feeding and egg-laying. Look for notches as shown above, checking new foliage low on the plant to begin with since these insects are shy, slow and night-feeding. Where you see the damage, take action. Don't treat undamaged plants because the products that work on black vine weevil are potent, long lasting and very likely to cause serious collateral damage in local beneficial insect populations -- which can lead to more trouble. Best to limit that fall-out!



















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