Volume 5 May/June 2015

This is one of the busiest springs I can remember - we have spent a lot of time dealing with shrubs and trees broken by snow and ice and in some cases are replacing them.  Compounded with a late start and a bit short-staffed, we are running as fast as we can to keep up with the season that marches relentlessly on!  Luckily, we have been enjoying an extended bloom time for fragrant plants such as lilacs that makes our long days worthwhile.
Plant Pick - A Beautiful Viburnum Resistant to Viburnum Leaf Beetle
Viburnum plicatum tomentosum 'Mariesii' 
Viburnum plicatum tomentosum 'Mariesii' (Double File Viburnum) almost acts like a tree.  Reaching 10'-12' tall and up to 15' wide over time, it is notable for the double rows of blossoms that march up and down its horizontal stems in late May and early June.  The stunning white flowers are sterile so do not produce berries.  Its dark green pleated foliage turns vivid shades of red, fuschia and bronze in the fall and linger on the shrub through November.  Densely twiggy, double file viburnum provides good screening all through the year.
Watering Alert
Al Spray
Al spraying Stress X
This has been one of the driest springs in recent memory.  We all were complacent after the high snowfalls of winter melted, leaving a high water table. About two weeks ago we began to notice very dry soil as we planted.

So as May draws to a close, please be sure to water deeply any woody plant installed within the past three years.  Two to three times per week is adequate.  Then let the soil dry out between waterings for air exchange.  

Young perennials, annuals and vegetables newly planted this spring will need water every other day until they can put on new roots.  Don't forget your windowboxes and containers, too.

Be sure to follow any guidelines set by your town for even-odd watering days or hours when watering is banned.  In general, it is best to avoid transpiration by watering either early in the morning or late in the afternoon.

Please let us know if we can help you with your specific watering needs.  We have been known to fill our 200 gallon spray tank with water and bring it to your plants!  Wilting plants can be revived with a dose of Stress X in that water, a kelp and seaweed solution that helps ease shock from transplanting or drought.

  Summer Watering Instructions
Priscilla's Gardening To-Do's for late May/early June


Summer blooming dahlia
  • Finish pruning hydrangea, clethra and itea
  • Train clematis to its support and tie lightly with fishing line as needed
  • Stake peonies and bearded irises (if needed)
  • Plant dahlias, gladioli and other tender summer bulbs
  • Edge beds and mulch plantings to help conserve moisture and reduce weed pressure
  • Plant containers of summer annuals
  • Plant warm weather vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, squashes
  • Final edit of spreading perennials such as bee balm, aster and hardy chrysanthemum
  • Deadhead and fertilize bulbs
  • Make notes about new bulbs to order around Labor Day time
Pruning Notes
Prune after flowering
Many of you have asked about pruning shrubs at this time of year.  We see all shrubs now beginning to push out new growth, and some are blooming profusely right now.  It's best to wait until late June or July when the flowers are over and this new growth has "hardened off," or turned a deeper green and toughened up, before pruning extensively.  So you may have to endure a few weeks of that shaggy look before pruning season begins. 
Pest Alert
Roseslug Sawfly
Rose Slug Sawfly
This pest causes damage to leaves of roses.  For more info, see our May 2012 newsletter.
Winter Moth Feeding
Winter Moth
If you had Pumpkin Brook place a winter moth band on your trees last winter, you may not see the damage they are causing.  For more info on what to do this Spring, see our May 2012 newsletter.
Viburnum Leaf Beetle
You may not see the little green bugs but you will see the damage they cause.  More info on this pest in our   May 2014 newsletter.
Please let us know right away if you see any of the pests mentioned above.  We will do our best to provide a solution.

Priscilla H. Williams
Pumpkin Brook Organic Gardening

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