Page 1

Gifted Gardener S E P T E M B E R


INSIDE THIS ISSUE: Health Tips 2 Needle Cast Disease Hitting Blue Spruce Hard


Fall is by 6 far the best time of year to fertilize your lawn Chemical 8 Clocks Unmasks Trees’ Vibrant Fall Colors Sunn Hemp 10 As A Summer Cover Crop That’s An Idea

2 0 1 6


Calendar of 11 Events

I know the headline is a repeat from last time but we have pushed back the start time for the Master Gardener program. We have six really enthusiastic students signed up but need more to make a really strong class. If you have considered becoming a Master Gardener in the past this will be your last opportunity for at least 18 months. Master Gardener Classes are forming now and you should consider this opportunity. The classes will begin on November 2nd and be held weekly on Wednesdays until the first of March. We will take some time off during the holiday season and pick back up in mid January. We will meet at the Nelson County Extension Office at 5:30 pm each time and study a different topic. Each class will be approximately two hours in length and will include in many cases lab work for better understanding. The Master Gardener Program is a leadership-rearing organization that helps you become knowledgeable and well versed in many aspects of 1

Horticulture. We will instill in you the confidence and ability to answer horticulture questions of your peers and better your problem solving skills. During the class series we will study botany, entomology, pathology, soils, fertility, fruits, vegetables, ornamentals, and several topics of your choosing. Once you become a trained Master Gardener you will then be asked to give back volunteer time to the Cooperative Extension Service by helping in ways you already enjoy. Giving back to the community is a vital part of this program and if you don’t have time to volunteer 40 hours in the first year, this program isn't for you at this time. If this is something that interests you please request an application from our office and have it returned along with $60 by Oct 28th . We would love to have you.

HEALTH "Every food choice has a healthier alternative"


The pictographs on these two pages come from a twitter account I follow called Daily Health Tips : Ask a Doctor. I find these pictures easy to understand and help me make better decisions in my food choices. Every food choice has a healthier alternative.


WOODY PLANTS “Consider blowing out the base limbs after mowing to avoid long term moisture in the branches of evergreens.” Robbie Smith, Agent

NEEDLE CAST DISEASE HITTING BLUE SPRUCE HARD by Nicole Gauthier, Extension Specialist for Plant Pathology Spruce trees, particularly blue spruce (Picea pungens) and Norway spruce (Picea abies), are popular specimen trees and screening conifers in Kentucky landscapes. Unfortunately, they can present problems for homeowners as a result of poor vigor, dieback, or needle drop. A combination of infectious disease and environmental stress is often to blame. These popular spruce species have a native range that is much cooler than Kentucky’s climate, and Fig 1 they prefer lighter, rockier soils. Kentucky’s high summer temperatures and persistent winter rains can create excessive stress to trees. Ultimately, stress may lead to susceptibility to diseasecausing pathogens. Common indications of plant disease include lower canopy needle loss, scattered branch dieback, rapid top-down browning, and tree death. These symptoms can result from needle cast, canker, or root rot diseases. 4

Needle Cast ,Symptoms & Signs Needle cast disease, caused by the fungus Rhizosphaera sp., results in purple to brown discoloration of scattered needles and eventual needle cast (needle drop) (Figure 1). Symptoms develop on older needles and on lowermost branches first, and then progress upward. Infected needles are cast, but stem tissue remains supple and green; younger needles are not affected. Repeated needle loss may eventually lead to twig dieback and tree decline. Rhizosphaera fungal fruiting bodies (pycnidia) appear on needles as tiny, raised, grayish bumps topped with white waxy caps. They protrude through stomata (pores in needles), lining up in rows along the length of needles (Figure 2). Pycnidia are visible with a hand lens or magnifier. Other fungi, such as Stigmina sp., have been implicated in

as needed.

Fig 2

Avoid pruning wet foliage to reduce spread of pathogens.

Practice good sanitation; rake and discard dropped needles from beneath trees.

Fungicides are seldom recommended, but applications may be justified for specimen trees and young plantings. Apply fungicides in spring as new shoots begin to expand (usually mid-April), and follow with a second application 3 weeks later. Chlorothalonil or Mancozeb are the Chemical options for spray applications.

spruce defoliation in a similar pattern as Rhizosphaera needle cast. If Stigmina is present, tiny, brown to black, brush-like tufts emerge from infected needles through stomata (Figure 3). Disease Development Needle cast fungi overwinter as pycnidia in diseased needles, with new infections occurring on emerging needles during wet weather in spring and early summer. Once infection takes place, the fungus colonizes needles, eventually leading to needle cast. Needles begin to drop in late summer or autumn within the same year as infection, but more often, symptoms develop 12 to 15 months after initial infection. Fallen needles and debris serve as a source of inoculum for new

Pesticide Safety Remember that the label is the law. When applying pesticides always follow the directions precisely as they are written on the label. Never consider that when a little is good more is better. The chemical is designed to work and do its job when applied according to it’s directions. Usually that means that you apply to a glisten on the leaves and not to run off. When runoff occurs you are wasting chemical, wasting money and polluting the environment.

Fig 3 infections the following spring. Disease Management 

Improve air circulation by providing adequate tree spacing and thinning 5



“Without question, the best time to fertilize coolseason lawns (Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue, perennial ryegrass, fine fescue) in Kentucky is during the autumn. These grasses all grow optimally during cooler weather and can best utilize nutrients at this time of year. ..”


When to Fertilize Without question, the best time to fertilize coolseason lawns (Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue, perennial ryegrass, fine fescue) in Kentucky is during the autumn. These grasses all grow optimally during cooler weather and can best utilize nutrients at this time of year. The turf develops a better root system, becomes very dense, and has much better late fall and early spring color if nitrogen is applied in the fall. During mild winters, good color may be maintained all winter following a fall application of nitrogen. By eliminating or minimizing spring fertilization you: • Prevent the heavy flush of growth that occurs with spring fertilization. • Reduce frequency of mowing during spring. • Develop a better root system and promote better drought tolerance in summer. • Reduce disease. 6

• Develop a more heattolerant, weed-free turf. If the window to apply nitrogen in the fall is missed, an application during the following spring will improve greenup. Even if some fall nitrogen was applied, applying a half rate of nitrogen in late May or early June in years with heavy spring rainfall may help improve or maintain color. If color is not a major concern, it is best to not fertilize in the spring because crabgrass, goosegrass, dallisgrass, bermudagrass, etc. respond to the nitrogen much more than do coolseason grasses. If you increase nitrogen fertilization of cool-season grasses in spring and summer, the need for irrigation, thatch control, and chemicals for weed control also increases. A lush summer lawn may not be worth these potential problems. Weed and feed products (fertilizers and herbicides in the same product) are usually not recommended as the optimum time to use a herbicide for controlling weeds, may not match up to the optimum time or

applying fertilizer. For instance, grassy weeds such as crabgrass and goosegrass are normally controlled with a preemergent application applied in April. If a weed and feed product is used to apply the herbicide, the fertilizer applied can lead to the problems mentioned above.

fertilizers. The main advantages to the specialty fertilizers are:

Late spring into summer is the best time to fertilize warm-season grasses such as bermudagrass and zoysiagrass, since they perform best during hot summer months.

• Low burn potential.

The number of times you should apply nitrogen depends upon the lawn quality you desire. Low and medium maintenance levels are best for general lawns that get little or no summer irrigation—this includes most Kentucky home lawns. High maintenance levels usually require some irrigation, high mowing frequency, and often more pest control. Timing of fertilizer applications for various maintenance levels are shown in Table 2. Lawns can be fertilized with specialty turf fertilizers (normally available at local garden centers) or with many farm

• Normally good nutrient ratios for turf (turfgrasses often require a ratio of 4:1:2 N:P:K). • Uniform and small particle size.

• Calibration and application rate information for applying to small areas printed on the bag. Most farm fertilizers do not have these advantages, but farm fertilizers are usually three to five time less expensive. Farm fertilizers such as urea and 10-1010 must be used with caution. Because of their potential to burn foliage, you should not apply them during extremely hot weather or when moisture is on the grass leaves. However, if these fertilizers are applied during cooler times of the year, burn is seldom a concern. It is critical that correct rates of farm fertilizers are applied to avoid burning.

Table 2. Timing and amounts of nitrogen applications for various levels of maintenance of cool season lawns (fescue and bluegrass). Maintenance Level

September October November


Pounds of N/100ft2 Low












Very High



WOODY PLANTS “Fall color typically peaks in mid-October. Because we in Kentucky have such a diverse climate and soil composition, many tree species common to both northern and southern states grow here..�


All summer they've remained hidden beneath a green cloak. But as fall approaches, the parade of brilliant tree leaf colors will slowly begin its spectacular show across Kentucky. The fall colors have been in leaves all along, but they were masked by chlorophyl, a green pigment that combines with sunlight to produce food for tree growth. This rebirth of color is caused by fewer hours of daylight, not "Jack Frost." A "chemical clock" activated by shorter days tells trees to shut down chlorophyl production in preparation for winter. So trees use chlorophyl faster than it's produced. This removes the green mask and the brilliant fall color show begins.

ests. Our nature sanctuaries and arboretums also have many tree species that put on a brilliant fall color show. Maple, dogwood, black gum, oak and sassafras trees produce various shades of red color. Trees that provide a range of orange and yellow colors include yellow-poplar,

birch, hickory, beech and white oak. Since black gum Fall color typically peaks in mid-October. Because we in and sumac trees shut down Kentucky have such a diverse chlorophyl production early, climate and soil composition, they are the first to reveal fall color. Both change from many tree species common to both northern and south- green to red leaf by leaf. No one leaf seems to be all ern states grow here. This provides a variety of fall col- green or all red at the same ors for us to enjoy as we walk time, giving a spotty appearance throughout the trees. or drive through state and local parks and national for8

These two trees have characteristics that make them easy to identify. Black gum is one of the few trees that has right-angled branching. This means that the limbs come away from the main stem at a straight 90-degree angle. Other tree species have limbs with some angling. Sumac also is easy to identify because the leaflets growing along the stem resemble teeth on a saw blade from a distance.

purple, some yellow, some a combination of both  Pignut/shagbark hickories—Nice clear yellow. Not so good for small yards  Yellowwood—Very nice small tree  Katsura tree—Nice shape ORANGE  Sassafras—Underused small, native tree  American hornbean—same as above  Sugar maple—Probably the best orTrees do more than give us a spectacular ange color show. They also make an important RED contribution to an on-going ecological  Red maple—Choose the named variesystem. As leaves drop to the ground, ties, ‘October Glory,’ ‘Autumn Blaze,’ announcing winter's approach, minerals for example previously taken into trees are recycled.  Japanese maple—small and slow The leaves decompose and return nutrigrowing ents to growing plants and trees and add  Flowering dogwood— interesting all organic materials to year but finicky to the soil. establish  Sweet gum— bright, shiny red in Even as these leaves some varieties fall, next spring's leaves are wrapped  Black gum— tightly in buds. When Probably the best these buds unfurl, red next to maples they will replenish  Amur maple— the air by absorbing Pretty shape, small carbon dioxide and tree giving off oxygen. BRONZE, RUST OR MAROON  Chinese chestnut—Nut “cases” can be annoying YELLOW/GOLD  American beech—Tawny colored  Ginkgo (pictured) holds leaves well. leaves hold all winter on young trees One of the best.  Japanese maple—usually red but yel-  Bald cypress—A tough, adaptable tree low ones have better fall color  Downy serviceberry—often a shrub.  Willow oak—A different look for an oak, faster growing than most Native.  European beech—Lots of sizes and  Pawpaw—pretty little tree. You either shapes like the fruit or you don’t.  Sweet gum—(pictured) some are



SUNN HEMP AS A SUMMER COVER CROP One of the questions I received most often this summer was: “What is the crop that is growing in the field on Manton Road?” well, the answer is Sunn hemp. Sunn Hemp is a summer annual legume that is normally used as a soil building cover crop because of its biomass potential and nitrogen fixing.

“Sunn Hemp is a summer annual legume that is normally used as a soil building cover crop because of its biomass

after it because of the nitrogen production.

Sunn hemp has been used extensively as a soil improvement or green manure crop in the tropics because of its ability to produce large amounts of biomass in as little as 60 to 90 days. Because of this, it has the potential to build organic matter levels and sequester As a cover crop, sunn hemp carbon. Also, as a legume it can produce 5,000-6,000 can fix large amounts of pounds of biomass per acre nitrogen. Used as a cover in southern climates in 60crop, sunn hemp can im90 days. It also can produce prove soil properties, reduce 120- 140 pounds of nitrogen soil erosion, conserve soil in the same amount of time. water, and recycle plant It provides the benefits of a nutrients. cover crop such as erosion ‘Tropic Sun’ is also resistant control, soil improvement, plus resistance to root knot- to root-knot nematodes. nematode. It requires warm Other potential uses for weather for 8 to 12 weeks. It sunn hemp are forage, paper fiber, and as alternative will be advisable to grow fuel crop crops such as small grains

potential and nitrogen fixing.”



Calendar of Events

Broadleaf weed control should begin now to avoid big issues come spring.

Now is the time to go through the garden and orchard to remove diseased plants and fruits.

Soil to seed contact is the most important consideration for grass seed germination.

Mark perennials now that you intend to divide next spring, believe you me it takes the guess work out of finding them when dormant.

Pet Peeves:

Fall is the time for leaf drop. Every year I see mounds and mounds of leaves stacked on the curb for pick up. This is an antiquated practice. Leaves contain nutrients and carbon that is much needed in the lawn and landscape. Mulching them by simply mowing them up will not only replenish the nutrient supply in the soil but also give the soil flora and fauna something to do this fall and winter. A little trick is to mow the leaves up when they are moist, it cuts down on the dust.

Ongoing— Neighborly Nutrition: Remember when you have extra produce the Bread for Life (St. Vincent DePaul) Food Pantry. Will accept fresh produce most days of the week. More than 2000 pounds of produce has already been donated and it is so easy to do.

Season Long — Bardstown Farmers Market. The farmers will be providing you fresh produce season long on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday from 7:30 am until 12:30 pm

Robbie Smith County Extension Agent for Horticulture Phone: 502-348-9204 Fax: 502-348-9270 email: Website: @hortagentrob




University of Kentucky Nelson County 317 South Third Street Bardstown, KY 40004

Cooperative Extension Service


2016 10 gifted gardner  
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you