Do You Want Healthy Plants in Your Garden?

— Written By Bill Hanlin and last updated by JoAnne Gryder

garden toolsMany people have their gardens in by now and plants in the landscape are beginning to bloom. As the weather has warmed up, so has the number of tasks that need to be done in the garden. Most of these chores are critical for the survival of our plants and important for food production.

Newly planted transplants and seeds should be watered daily during this warm weather we are having. Vegetable plants like cucumbers, squash and tomatoes will wilt rapidly if water is not available. Try watering in the morning so that the plant can have access to it in the heat of the day.

Now is a time when cutworms normally start to show up. These caterpillars hide in the soil during the day and come out at night to feed. Seedlings with their tops cut off are signs that you have cutworms. An insecticide can be applied to the soil or cardboard toilet paper tubes can be placed around the young plants.

Very soon, if not already, strawberries should begin to ripen. As they ripen, slugs and diseases, like rots, can severely reduce the harvest. Slugs can be controlled with slug baits or a natural product called diatomaceous earth. If the weather turns wet then a fungicide spray will be needed to control the rots.

Gardeners with apple trees still may have some fruit even after the freeze we had in mid April. Apple trees should be sprayed on a 10 to 14 day schedule with a recommended fungicide and insecticide in order to have edible fruit at harvest. Fire blight, which is a disease that kills twigs, should be pruned out as soon as it shows up on the tree.

The list of tasks goes on and new problems can pop up overnight. The key to having a successful garden and healthy plants is to monitor them on almost a daily basis.