Question and Answer
Q. I transplanted and divided some peonies last year. This year, the
foliage looks good but some of the buds are small and black and have never
fully developed. What's wrong with them? -- Cindy Polley,
West Lafayette, Ind.
A. Peonies have few pests or problems. The most frequently occurring
pests are botrytis blight and leaf blotch, both fungal diseases. Especially
prevalent during wet springs, botrytis affects leaves, stems and flowers.
Spots appear on leaves, stems soften and decay, and flowers either rot
or buds blacken and fail to open.
Sanitary measures offer the most effective means of control. Start with
a thorough cleanup of old, infected stems and leaves and other plant debris
in the fall. This reduces the overwintering site for the fungus. Pull
the soil away from the crown, without injuring the buds.
In the spring, remove and destroy any wilted or rotted shoots as soon
as you detect them. If mulch or another covering is used for winter protection,
remove it in the spring before the new shoots emerge from the soil.
Improving air circulation and penetration of sunlight to peony plants
often solves the problem. Sometimes, however, chemical control is necessary.
If so, spray with a fungicide labeled for botrytis blight, when new shoots
appear in the spring. Follow label instructions. Thoroughly soak the surrounding
soil. Repeat the procedure a week later and again when the shoots are
3-6 inches tall.
Q. A few months ago, you had an article
on protecting trees. I would like to obtain some (protectors) for a tree
plantation I've put on 10 acres of my farm last spring. Could you tell
me where to get some of these? -- Cheers, Rita
A. There are many tactics to reduce deer
damage. Individual tree protectors (woven wire, plastic cylinders, plastic
netting or plastic wrap) can be useful for protecting young trees; however,
since you're dealing with a 10-acre tree farm, you will want to research
all your options. Purdue's Wildlife Conflicts Information Hotline Online
Information Site http://www.entm.purdue.edu/wildlife/wild.htm
is full of helpful links and information. You can find help on topics
ranging from orphaned bunnies to coyote conflicts. There are excellent
articles on deer control as well.
If you decide to pursue individual tree protectors,
you will probably find them at a local garden center. Or, you can order
them from many nurseries, including Greenwood Nursery (1-800-426-0958
or learn about another option at http://www.treepro.com.
See their distributor page. These are only a few of the companies that
sell these products, and I encourage you to do an Internet search for
Q. I have daylilies, and I have no idea
how to divide them, although I've heard it's easy! Maybe some other people
would benefit from this information, as well. -- Joan Shea,
A. Division is an easy way to inexpensively
fill your garden with new plants. Early spring is the best time of year,
but daylilies are incredibly tough and will survive division in the summer,
if you keep them watered until they are established.
Dig the plants, preferably with a spading
fork, and lift as much of the roots as possible. Use a large, sharp knife
to cut the larger roots into smaller pieces. Each new piece should have
roots and shoots. Daylilies are usually divided into single fans or clumps.
Replant the new pieces in the desired location,
and be sure to space them with the mature size in mind. If you have no
room for them in your garden, friends and neighbors will probably welcome