|Red, white, blue and green!
Our counties have gone to the Green Phase in the COVID Pandemic. According to Governor Wolf, "this phase facilitates a return to a "new normal." " We're all eager to go about our usual business - shopping, see our hairstylists, nail technicians, and the local nurseries and garden centers have been flooded with customers. That's what I call going green!
I've been fielding lots of questions about the Spotted Lanternfly nymphs and now the Japanese Beetles are emerging. I have noticed insects both on my hardy Hibiscus, Joe Pye Weed, and roses. I was almost going to cover my blueberry bushes so I could enjoy a handful of home grown fruit, but in the end, I decided not to - I enjoyed watching the birds eating them instead.
This month we celebrate our country's 245th birthday. While we probably won't be celebrating as we have in the past, we can certainly count our blessings that we live in the greatest country in the world. It's not perfect, but, it is our home. As Lee Greenwood says in his hit song:
And I'm proud to be an American
Where at least I know I'm free
And I won't forget the men who died
Who gave that right to me
And I'd gladly stand up next to you
And defend Her still today
'Cause there ain't no doubt
I love this land
God Bless the U.S.A.
If you are able, spend some time with your friends and families and celebrate our country's 245th birthday!
Although we are all anxious to get together, there are still few "in person" events being scheduled. When you do go out, please keep the following things in mind with the relaxed quarantine guidelines:
1. Wear a face mask, especially when signs are posted. Businesses that are allowed to be open are counting on their customers to follow the rules so they can remain open. The mask is NOT to protect you from getting germs, it prevents your germs from being spread.
2. Use hand sanitizer.
3. Wash your hands often.
Our Declaration 2008
By Leslie Clement
July 4th 2008
It may be the last July 4th party we would have at my parents home overlooking Lake Union in Seattle Washington. The place has probably been sold, and the whole family will be moving to different places around the country or even the world.
I have been wanting to keep peoples mind on the reason for the 4th of July holiday foremost for the celebration. So, I decided that we would do a reading of The Declaration of Independence. I searched the web for the text and printed it out.
As I read it over - once again I was overwhelmed by the passion and commitment within those few short pages.
I worked out a division of ten approximately equal or at least logical parts to be read aloud by the guests at our party. My plan was to have the reading shortly before the fireworks show started on Lake Union.
We had Red, White & Blue punch, A Red, White and Blue cake. We had best patriotic music playing on the stereo. We had a large military US flag hanging from two separate balconies overlooking the lake, as well as our state flag of Washington hanging between.
Almost all of our guests were wearing red, white and blue, and as we settled into party mode I mentioned that we would have a reading of the Declaration of Independence before the fireworks show, and if they would like to be part of the reading they were all invited.
I did not choose whom would read until just moments before I handed out the copies of the Declaration.
The surprises started then - everyone read with a voice I had not expected to hear. Some who had been sitting - stood up to do their section of the reading, others slowed down their speed and enunciated every word, another - a very mild mannered widow - who seemed to me a bit frail, read her section with a voice I could have imagined was from Ethyl Merman. Everyone read their parts as if it belonged to them. Everyone read with obvious respect and a heightened force than their normal speaking voice - no one made any side comments or jokes and everyone tried to make sure they were reading from the intent of the document.
Since I was the one who handed out the copies - I kept the last paragraph for myself - but as I started reading I choked up and became misty and though it is only a few short sentences, I was shaking a bit and almost crying by the time I made it to the part where I read ... we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
Everyone was still for a moment - then, about half of the people in the room said simultaneously - God Bless America!
The room was full of many generations, many backgrounds, many political persuasions, and very different income levels - yet we all felt the importance of the July 4th 1776 Declaration - the risk those 56 men had put on the line and we all felt the promise of the great experiment of democracy.
Will it make any difference that I tried to focus for a few moments only a few peoples hearts and minds on the reason we have a holiday and watch millions of dollars worth of fireworks sent up for our entertainment?
I can only hope that the ripple effect of this little pebble in the pond of our party will keep us all aware of what it takes to keep honest patriotism alive and well.
July In Your Garden
- Monitor irrigation system for efficiency and proper performance.
- Weed as necessary.
- Monitor for pests.
- Enjoy your garden!
- Water frequently enough to prevent wilting. Early morning irrigation allows turf to dry before nightfall and will reduce the chance of disease.
- By this month, bare patches appear in lawns. Loosen the surface with a fork, gently re-firm and scatter lawn seed at ½ cup/square yard. Water lightly and cover with clear plastic until seedlings are about 1 inch high.
- Cut lawns regularly. If grass allowed to become high, cutting is difficult and after mowing may leave yellow patches that take many weeks to regain a rich green color. If the weather is very hot, do not cut the grass short.
- Provide water in the garden for the birds, especially during dry weather.
- Remove infected leaves from roses. Pick up fallen leaves. Continue fungicidal sprays as needed.
- While spraying roses with fungicides, mix extra and spray hardy phlox to prevent powdery mildew.
- Newly planted trees and shrubs should continue to be watered thoroughly, once a week.
- Fertilize container plants every 2 weeks with a water soluble solution.
- Keep weeds from making seeds now. This will mean less weeding next year.
- Keep deadheading spent annual flowers for continued bloom.
- Perennials that have finished blooming should be deadheaded. Cut back the foliage some to encourage tidier appearance.
- Spiderwort (Tradescantia) begins to look untidy by this time of year. Cut plants back to the ground and let them flush out with fresh, new growth and blooms.
- Herbaceous perennials to sow outdoors in a seedbed: Common Yarrow, Dame's Rocket, Fernleaf Yarrow, Red Valerian and Shasta Daisy.
- Softwood cuttings can be taken from trees and shrubs as the spring flush of growth is beginning to mature.
- Continue spraying roses with a fungicide to prevent black spot disease.
- Pruning of spring flowering trees and shrubs should be completed as soon as possible so there is time to form next year's flower buds.
- Apply no fertilizers to trees and shrubs after July 4th. Fertilizing late may cause lush growth that is apt to winter kill.
- Plant zinnia seed by July 4th for late bloom in annual border.
- Biennials to sow outdoors in a seedbed: Alpine Wallflower, Canterbury Bell, English Daisy, Forget-me-not, Foxglove, Hollyhock and Honesty.
- Biennials to sow outdoors in a seedbed: Pansy, Siberian Wallflower, Sweet William and Wallflower.
- Don't pinch mums after mid-July or you may delay flowering.
- Herbaceous perennials to sow outdoors in a seedbed: Alpine Poppy, Candle Larkspur, Iceland Poppy, Mullein, Oriental Poppy, Tickseed and Oregon Fleabane.
- Hot, dry weather is ideal for spider mite development. With spider mite damage, leaves may be speckled above and yellowed below. Evergreen needles appear dull gray-green to yellow or brown. Damage may be present even before webs are noticed.
- Apply final treatment for borers on hardwood trees.
- Prune climbing roses and rambler roses after bloom.
- Spray hollies for leaf miner control.
- Biennials to sow: Forget-me-not and Pansy
- Divide and reset oriental poppies after flowering as the foliage dies.
- Fall webworms begin nest building near the ends of branches of infested trees. Prune off webs. Spray with Bt if defoliation becomes severe.
- If water is becoming scarce, install rain collectors.
- Blossom-end rot of tomato and peppers occurs when soil moisture is uneven. Water when soils begin to dry; maintain a 2-3 inch layer of mulch.
- Cover grape clusters loosely with paper sacks to provide some protection from marauding birds.
- If potatoes were attacked by potato blight, next year use blight resistant varieties. Potato blight is prolific in wet summers and damp weather.
- Protect fruits from birds by spreading nets over them.
- Green manuring helps to improve a soil's fertility and to prevent the growth of weeds. Crops such as red clover, Lucerne and annual lupines are sown and later dug into the soil.
- To maximize top growth on asparagus, apply 2 pounds of 12-12-12 fertilizer per l00 sq. ft., water well and renew mulches to conserve moisture.
- Control corn earworms. Apply several drops of mineral oil every 3 to 7 days once silks appear. Sprays of Bt are also effective.
- Lift early potatoes. Avoid damaging the tubers - dig under them with a fork, preferably a broad-tined type. Remove soil, wash the tubers and allow to dry.
- Prune and train young fruit trees to eliminate poorly positioned branches and to establish proper crotch angles.
- Lettuce can still be sown - until late July. Sow seeds ½ inch deep in drills 12-15 inches apart. ---
- Radishes can also be sown now.
- Support peas with pea-sticks or wire-netting. Keep the plants well watered, especially when the pods start to form.
- Keep grass short in orchards, especially around young fruit trees. The grass deprives plants of nitrogen, an essential growth-promoting fertilizer for young trees.
- To minimize insect damage to squash and cucumber plants, try covering them with lightweight floating row covers. Remove covers once plants flower.
- Prune out and destroy old fruiting canes of raspberries after harvest is complete.
- Blackberries are ripening now.
- Transplant winter cabbages from their seedbed to cropping positions, setting them 18-24 inches apart each way.
- Thin beets, carrots and lettuces. Congested plants never produce good crops.
- Dig potatoes when the tops die. Plant fall potatoes by the 15th.
- Plant new strawberry plants from now through mid-August, as well as in early spring.
- Buy plants certified free from disease. Plant them 15-18 inches apart in them and water thoroughly.
- Apply second spray to trunks of peach trees for peach borers.
Keep a watch out for insects and diseases that may affect your garden.
Spotted Lanternfly nymphs are out. At this time of year, tree banding and insecticides are effective control.
To aid homeowners in reducing spotted lanternfly populations, Penn State Extension has developed a free webinar series. These how-to videos can be found at
- Continue to monitor for plant bugs on phlox and treat if required. Mildew is another common problem of phlox. Aster yellows is distinctive and can affect many different plants.
- Bagworms have hatched and are actively feeding on arborvitaes, spruces, and many other plants. Check out this short article for more information. Bug In A Bag
- Mildew on lilacs is common but rarely requires treatment.
- Check iris for iris borers and perennials for southern blight.
- Continue to monitor for black spot on roses and treat as required. C
- Continue to monitor lace bugs on azaleas. Treating this late in the season, however, may have little value. In following years learn how to detect them earlier and treat them.
- Be alert to the flight of peachtree adults that are active from July - September. See August and May for control measures. Monitor plants for leafhoppers.
- If you are treating grubs with Merit, do so early in the month as it takes several weeks to be effective. Many galls affect the leaves of trees and shrubs and do little if any damage.
- Blossom-end rot of tomatoes and vine crops is a common occurrence as summer gets into full swing. Control squash vine borers early before they do serious damage.
- Other tomato problems to be aware of and treat if necessary are septoria leaf spot, early blight, and spider mites, which affect many plants.
- Common problems of cucumbers, melons, and other cucurbits this time of year include bacterial wilt, cucumber beetles, and pollination problems.
- Very common problems of plants during the heat of the summer are drought, scorch, and heat stress. During dry spells water as needed. Plants that regularly scorch even when given ample water may benefit by being relocated to a more shaded location. In mid- to late summer fall webworms may also be seen.
- Watch for signs of oak wilt and be prepared to remove roses that are affected by rose rosette. Apple scab is a common fungal disease of apples that results in yelllowing and dropping leaves.
- If holly leafminer has been a problem in the past, spray in the first two weeks of July with a registered insecticide for control.
- Japanese beetles will continue to cause damage the first part of the month but will then taper off. DO NOT use beetle bags. They ATTRACT more beetles to your yard-it even says so on the box.
- Verticillium wilt is a destructive wilt that can quickly kill many tree, shrub, and herbaceous plant species.
- Cicadas start appearing this month.
- Reduce problems with weeds by keeping them from making seeds by cutting or pulling before they flower.
- Sycamore trees are still struggling to leaf out. Fungal anthracnose is currently affecting leaves, causing leaf drop, and stress will continue if drought occurs.
- Swallowtail caterpillars are active. No treatments needed.
- Waxy covering on stems of Echinacea, hosta, hydrangea and others is most likely due to flatids - no treatments.
- Assassin bug nymphs (beneficial generalist predator) are active.
Indian wax scale crawlers are probably still active, but its getting late for control. The adult scale
looks like someone stuck their white chewing gum in the crotch of the plant's stems. If you remove the "gum" the underside of the scale is pink or red. The white substance is the wax the insect secretes to protect its body. The pink or red underside is the actual scale. Scale most often chooses hollies, euonymus, boxwood, pyracantha, and
as its hosts in Pennsylvania.