GNO Gardening January 2020

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GNO Gardening MagazineJanuary 2020In This Issue:Super Plant SpotlightRabbiteye BlueberriesBy: Anna TimmermanInsecticidal SoapsBy: Dr. Joe WillisWhat’s Bugging You?Citrus LeafminerBy: Chris DunawayProper Balled-andBurlaped Tree and ShrubCareBy: Dr. Jeb FieldsJanuary Planting GuideFarmer’s Markets in the GNO AreaIn the Kitchen with AustinUpcoming EventsJanuary Garden ChecklistLawn Do’s & Don’t’sCover Photo: Ripe rabbiteye blueberries.

Super Plant Spotlight – Rabbiteye BlueberriesEdible landscaping has become a gardening trendas people become more interested in wheretheir food comes from and producing fresh fruits,vegetables, and herbs at home. South Louisiana is agreat place to attempt this and the Rabbiteyeblueberry is an excellent addition to either existinglandscaping or as a standalone counted on to produce lots of delicious berries.Growing Requirements:- Acidic soils. Soil pH of 4.2 to 5.5 recommended.New Orleans soils are usually 7.0-7.8, try plantingblueberries in large containers full of soil and pinebark. Adjust pH by following the recommendations ofan annual soil test.Rabbiteye blueberry- Full sun throughout(Vaccinium virgatumthe day will ensure aor V. ashei) is nativegood the southeasternAfternoon sun,United States.however, can be a“Rabbiteye” refers todetriment in thethe pink coloration ofsummer months.the berries before they- Well drained soilsfully ripen to a blueare a must. Rabbiteyecolor, similar to theblueberry, like mostcolor of the eyes of anwoody perennials,albino rabbit. It is aneeds good drainagedeciduous shrub that“Rabbiteye” refers to the pink coloration of the berries before they fully to thrive and is veryexhibits bright redripen to a blue color, similar to the color of the eyes of an albino rabbit.shallow rooted. Raisedand orange fallbeds and containerized plantings can help overcomefoliage, adding some visual interest to landscape beds.this. Mix soil with sand and aged pine bark, thenRabbiteye blueberries produce bell-shaped whitemound soil to a height of 6-10 in the spring and are a pollinator favorite, andbirds will enjoy any berries not protected or picked in - Rabbiteye blueberries produce best through crosspollination. Have at least two or three varietiestime. The berries are high in antioxidants, vitamins,planted together to ensure adequate pollination canand nutrients and are delicious fresh.take place. This also extends your harvest season asRabbiteye blueberries grow to a height of up to sixnot all berries will ripen at the same time.feet tall and can be up to six feet wide. Plan onRecommended varieties include Premier, Climax,planting them where they will have plenty of room toBrightwell, Tifblue, Delight, and Powderblue. Princereach their potential. Space plants 4-6 feet apart, theyis a variety with very low chill hour requirements thatcan be grown as a hedge to save space. Plant in thedoes well in extreme southern Louisiana.dormant months to allow the roots to becomeestablished before the springtime. December through Care and Maintenance:-Ensure proper, even moisture. During drought,the end of January is a great time to plant anyblueberry variety. Rabbiteyes are hardy from Zones 8- irrigate at least weekly with a slow trickle of waterthat reaches the entire root zone.10. The extreme southern part of Louisiana at timesmay not get enough chilling hours to set bumpercrops, but in average years Rabbiteye blueberries can-Mulching helps to prevent weeds from competingwith the blueberries for water and nutrients.(Continued on Page 4)

January Vegetable Planting GuideCropSome Recommended VarietiesBeetsDetroit Dark Red, Kestrel, Red Ace F1, Ruby QueenBroccoliCauliflowerCabbageChinese CabbageCarrotsSnow peasCollardsKaleArcadia, Diplomat, Gypsy, Packman, Premium Crop, Windsor Greenbelt, PatronCandid Charm, Cumberland, Freedom, Incline, Majestic, Snow Crown, WentworthBlue Vantage, Platinum Dynasty, Stonehead, Cheers, Blue Dynasty, Emblem, Rio VerdeNone GivenDanvers 128, Purple Haze, Thumbelina, Apache, Enterprise, Maverick, Sugar Snax 54None GivenChampions, Flash, Georgia Southern, Top Bunch, VatesNone GivenKohlrabiEarly Purple Vienna, Early White, Vienna, WinnerLettuceEsmeralda, New Red Fire F1, Nevada, Tall Guzmaine EliteMustard GreensFlorida Broadleaf, Greenwave, Red Giant, Southern Giant Curled, Savannah, TendergreenOnionsRed: Red Creole, Southern Belle; White: Candy, Savannah Sweet; Vidalia: Candy Ann, Caramelo, Century,Georgia Boy, Mata HariSpinachBloomsdale Long Standing, Melody, Tyee, Unipak 151RadishesCherriette, Champion, White Icicle, April CrossShallotsMatador, PrismSwiss ChardTurnip GreensTomatoes(seeds)None GivenAlamo, All Top, Purple, Top White Globe, Seven Top, Southern Green, Top Star, Tokyo CrossBella Rosa, Fletcher, Tribute, BHN 1021, Amelia, Dixie Red

Super Plant Spotlight – Rabbiteye Blueberries(Continued from Page 2)over several weeks. All fruits will not ripen at theMulch yearly with a layer of 3-4 inches of pine bark or same time, so plan on picking a little each day.pine needles. Be sure to mulch in a 3-5 foot radius- Well-maintained Rabbiteye bushes can producefrom the base of the shrub.around ten pounds of fruit per year. Some older- Fertilize by following your annual LSU AgCenter soiltest results. Rabbiteye blueberries need a low pH andnitrogen can be applied in the form of Ammoniumnitrate using several smaller applications spacedthroughout the growing season. Young blueberries arevery sensitive to over-fertilization, so only apply whatis needed. Complete fertilizer formulations for otheracid loving plants like azaleas can also be used.shrubs may produce up to thirty pounds of berries ifcared for properly.- Phytophthora root rot is an issue in Rabbiteyeblueberry, ensure that the roots are not saturated anddry out adequately. This is one reason why gooddrainage is key.-Iron deficiency can occur in blueberries when thesoil pH is too high. Yellow leaves will appear on the- Pruning can help to keep the bushes a manageable younger growth points of the shrub. Check the pHsize and harvesting easier. Trim immediately after the and adjust it if you observe this. A soil test willfruit has finished being harvested, this will allowprovide information on how much sulfur is needed toample time for new growth and bud set for next year’s reach an ideal low pH range.crop. Prune out any dead sections in late winter orFor information check out the Home Blueberryearly spring, and remove any branches that touch the Production in Louisiana publication from the LSUground.AgCenter. Anna Timmerman- Harvest berries as they ripen. This will take placeA homeowner in Metairie, LA has no problem growing blueberries in his yard. He amended the soil heavily with pine barkmulch and sulfur to get it right for growing. Photo by Chris Dunaway

Insecticidal SoapsWhat is a soap? Chemically, soap is a salt of afatty acid used in a variety of products. Soapsare key components of most lubricants and greases.That may seem paradoxical since soap is what we useto wash grease off. What we usually call “soap”, arewhat the industry terms “toilet soaps”. These soapsare made by mixing oils or fatswith a strong alkali (potassiumhydroxide or sodium hydroxide).This results in saponification – fatsare converted to fatty acid saltsand glycerol is released. Okay.Enough with the chemistry.or RTU (ready-to-use). RTU’s typically contain 1-2%active ingredients. Concentrates are usually diluted tosimilar rates for use. Insecticidal soaps are strictlycontact insecticides. That means that you need toachieve virtually 100% coverage to get good control.Be sure to apply to both sides of all leaves, plus thetrunk, stems, buds and developingfruit. There is also no residualactivity. If the insect isn’t presentand covered when you spray, thenyou get no control. Lack ofadequate coverage is usually thereason users are disappointedwith the results of usingSoaps have been used in variousinsecticidal soaps. Insecticidalways for insect control for oversoaps are most effective if applied200 years. Their popularity wanedwhen conditions are favorable foras the production and use ofslow drying (e.g. early morning).chemical insecticides gainedThe longer they persist in a wetpopularity. Recently, the concernscondition on the plant, the betterabout overuse, environmentalcontrol you’ll get (don’t use onimpact and development of insecthot sunny days). Water conditionsresistance with these chemicalof diluting a concentratedinsecticides has led to an increaseinsecticidal soap can alsoin the use of softer ways ofinfluence effectiveness.controlling insect pests. ThisInsecticidal soaps work best ifincludes horticultural oils, Neem,diluted with soft water; harddiatomaceous earth (see nextwater (high mineral content) willmonth’s GNO Gardening) andInsecticidal soaps can be applied using a handinsecticidal soaps. Commerciallypump sprayer, compressed air sprayers or hose lead to reduced effectiveness, mayincrease the chance ofend applicators like the one pictured above.available insecticidal soaps willphytotoxicity and could result inusually list potassium salts of fatty“soap scum” (a precipitate formed when the metals inacids as the active ingredient. These are long-chainthe water react with the fatty acids). Becausefatty acids (10-18 carbon atoms). Shorter chain fattyinsecticidal soaps have zero residual activity, theyacids tend to be phytotoxic meaning that they canmust be reapplied frequently. This lack of residualcause damage to plants. This is a good reason toactivity during high insect pressure can also leadpurchase commercial insecticidal soap productsrather than going the homemade route. Supermarket users to believe that the product is not working. Theysoaps don’t tell you how long the carbon chain is and spray their plants one day and two days later they arestill covered with aphids. Because there is no residualit can be challenging and costly to find out. Besides,activity, as soon as the product dries, new pests cancommercial insecticidal soaps aren’t very expensive.Commercial insecticidal soaps come as concentrates move in to replace the ones killed by the insecticidal(Continued on Page 6)

Insecticidal Soaps(Continued from Page 5)unrooted cuttings and plants with soft young growthare more likely to develop phytotoxic symptoms andsoap application and it looks as though theshould not be treated with soap. Do not apply to veryapplication had no effect. If you want to usesensitive plants such as horse chestnut, Japaneseinsecticidal soaps, be prepared to reapply.maple, mountain ash,Insecticidal soaps are mostbleeding heart or sweet peas.effective against soft-bodiedBegonia, chrysanthemum,insects such as aphids,Crown of Thorns, cucumber,adelgids, lacebugs,delicate ferns, narrow leafleafhoppers, mealybugs,evergreens (especially whenthrips, sawfly larvae, scalestressed or when tender newinsects (particularly scalegrowth is present),crawlers), plant bugs,dieffenbachia, fuchsia,psyllids, spider mites andgardenia, impatiens, jadewhiteflies. Differentplant, lantana, ornamentalproducts will have differentivy, palms, poinsettia,lists of insects controlled onredbud, river birch,the label. Insecticidal soapsschefflera, Zebra plant andhave little effect on insectsome succulents may beeggs or hard-bodied insects.sensitive. The open bloomsThey have no mammalianor flowers of many plantstoxicity but are toxic to fishmay also be injured.and aquatic organisms andGlaucous bloom on sprucesshould not be used nearAphids like these feeding on a plant can be easily controlledand waxy bloom on grapesbodies of water. There arewith insecticidal soaps.Photo by Katrina Dunawaymay be altered.several modes of actionassociated with insecticidal soaps. The fatty acidsdisrupt the structure and permeability of the insects'cell membranes, the cell contents leak from thedamaged cells, and the insect quickly dies. They canalso block the insect breathing holes (spiracles) andsuffocate the insect. They may also wash off the waxycoating on some insects which leads to dehydration.When uncertain, spot treat a portion of the cultivar,and wait at least 24 hours to see if any phytotoxicsymptoms develop before treating an entire group ofplants. Rinse plants with a clean water spray if theyshow signs of wilting or leaf edge browning within afew hours of treatment.Insecticidal soaps can be a very effective alternative toInsecticidal soaps may cause phytotoxicity symptoms, chemical insecticides if used properly and insectresistance will not occur. But remember: 1) they aresuch as yellow or brown spotting on the leaves,burned tips or leaf scorch on certain sensitive plants. contact insecticides and full coverage is requisite forgood control: 2) there is no residual activity andPlant sensitivity can be influenced by pest pressure,cultivar, plant vigor, environmental conditions, spray reapplication will most likely be needed and 3) someplants are sensitive. There are a number of productsconcentration, pH of spray mixture as well as thetiming, number and frequency of applications. Plants available from Safer Brand, Espoma, Natria, Montereyunder stress such as those in hot (greater than 90 F), and Bonide to name a few.humid or drought conditions, young transplants, Dr. Joe Willis

What’s Bugging You? Citrus LeafminerSpoiler Alert! It’s a moth.weeks to develop during which time the immaturelarvae will molt 4 times. When they are ready for thefinal transformation intoadulthood the caterpillar willemerge at the leaf margin where itwill use silk that it produces tofold over the edge of the leaf tocreate a shelter to protect itselfwhere it pupates to undergometamorphosis into an adultmoth.That’s right. The silvery trails and the curledcitrus leavesare both causedby the sameinsect; thecitrusleafminerPhyllocnistiscitrella. Theadults of thecitrusTypically the damage caused byleafminer arecitrus leafminers is not harmful tominisculethe tree and treatment is notmoths. With a Adult citrus leafminer, Phyllocnistis citrella. Photo by Lyle J. Buss,necessary. However, young treesUniversityofFlorida.wingspan ofand years with abnormally heavyonly 4mm and a much smaller profile when resting,infestations can have a negative impact and treatmentthe adult leafminers are actually difficult to detectmay be warranted. Citrus trees typically have threewhen they are active. In fact most of us will never see distinct flushes of growth each year, all of which canan actual leaf miner in any stage of host to the larvae. The first flush in early springWhen active, the adults will mate and the females will is usually not heavily infested due to low adultdeposit their eggs on the surface of the undersidepopulations following winter. It typically takes springnear the midvein of ayoung citrus leaf.Immediately afterhatching, the youngcaterpillar will borethrough the epidermallayer of the leaf and beginfeeding on the interiorplant material of the leaf.As they move forwardthey eat all of the plantmaterial in their pathleaving behind only thewaxy cuticle layer. ThisSilvery serpentine trails on citrus leaves are a sure sign of leafminer infestation. Notice how the trail getscuticle layer actuallyprogressively wider as the young caterpillar grows.Photo by Chris Dunawayprotects the tiny larvaefrom predators as well as pesticide applications. The and early summer for populations to increase to thepathway will twist and turn as the larvae moves andpoint where gardeners see the damage. For very small(Continued on Page 8)feeds and grows to maturity. It takes between 2-3trees you may examine the

What’s Bugging You? Citrus Leafminer(Continued from Page 7)fledgling leaves for the tale-tail trails and simplypinch the leaf at the distal end of the trail to squishthe developing caterpillar inside. Homeowners mayalso obtain excellent control of citrus leafminers byusing products containing spinosad formulated foruse on citrus. These products may be found at localgarden centers under different commercial namessuch as Conserve, Naturalyte Insect Control, GreenLight Spinosad, Success, Fertilome Borer, Bagworm,Leafminer & Tent Caterpillar Spray, etc. Maximumprotection for citrus leafminer on both commercialand home garden trees is obtained if sprays areapplied when the new foliage is only half emergedand the first affected leaves are just beginning to curl. Chris DunawayBefore you buy or use an insecticide product, first read An immature citrus leafminer feeding in a citrus leaf. Photo by JakePrice, UGA Extensionthe label and strictly follow label instructions.January Checklist/Garden TipsRoses are generally pruned twice a year. In late January to early February and again in late August to earlySeptember. The classic pruning technique for hybrid teas and grandifloras is designed to encourage theproduction of, high quality flowers with long stems for cutting. This involves rather hard pruning, back to 18to 24 inches, in the late winter. For most other types of roses recommendations are more relaxed and involveless severe pruning. Here’s how to do it. Cut the bush back to the desired height. Make your pruning cuts justabove a bud or new shoot, preferably facing away from the middle of the bush. Remove all dead wood,diseased canes and weak, twiggy growth. Floribundas, shrub roses, miniatures and old garden roses generallyrequire only moderate pruning to shape them. Some rose cultivars (ramblers, some climbers and some oldgarden roses) bloom prolifically in the spring and early summer and then stop. These once blooming rosesshould not be pruned now. These roses bloom on growth they made the summer before and should bepruned, as needed, in midsummer soon after they finish their bloom season.Seeds of tomatoes, peppers and eggplants should be started now through early February in trays in sunnywindows, hotbeds, under lights or in a greenhouse for transplanting into the garden in spring. Manygardeners do not have the facilities to properly grow transplants from seed. Providing enough light is themost common limiting factor.Hardy bedding plants can still be planted now for color through the spring. Choose pansy, sweet alyssum,viola, snapdragon, stock, dianthus, petunia, candytuft, lobelia, annual phlox and others available at localnurseries.

Proper Balled-and-Burlapped (B&B)Tree and Shrub CareWhat is B&B?for weeks to months if properly watered and cared forBalled-and-burlapped plant material is dug out of the prior to sale and planting. Once sold, it is importantto secure the branches of the trees to prevent damageground with the soil immediately surrounding theduring transportation.roots remaining undisturbed. The root ball with theoriginal soil intact is then wrapped in burlap. ThisLandscape Handling and Plantingprocess allows theNever handletransport ofballed-andhealthy trees andburlappedshrubs to thematerial by theconsumer ortop or trunk. Thislandscape withwill loosen theintact roots androot ball from thesoil. There is atrunk and reducecommonthe contactmisconceptionbetween the rootswithin theand the soil, whichlandscape industryis vital to thethat balled-andsurvival of theburlapped plantstree. balled-andtend to haveburlappedproductivity issuesmaterial should beafter transplantingmoved usingRootballs are wrapped in burlap and caged with a wire to hold in place.into the landscape.transportationWhen proper care is taken, balled-and-burlappedstraps or by carefully rolling the plants. Once at thetrees are extremely hardy in the landscape and canjob site, ensure that plant material remains in anexperience reduced transplant shock.upright position and in the shade prior to planting. IfNursery handlingshade is not an option, cover the plant material withAs with any growing style, starting with quality plant fabric to prevent leaf scorch. Keep the root ballwatered sufficiently prior to instillation. The plantingmaterial is crucial. B&B plants are dug from thehole should be dug two

diatomaceous earth (see next month’s GNO Gardening) and insecticidal soaps. Commercially available insecticidal soaps will usually list potassium salts of fatty acids as the active ingredient. These are long-chain fatty acids (10-18 carbon atoms). Shorter chain fatty acids tend to be phytotoxic meaning that they can cause damage to plants.

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