Friday, November 18, 2016

Another species of Varroa mite threatens European honeybees (from Science Daily)

(Please keep in mind that science journalism has become a little more sensationalized than it once was)

From Science Daily:

  Another species of Varroa mite threatens European honeybees: A sister species of the Varroa destructor mite is developing the ability to parasitize European honeybees, threatening pollinators already hard pressed by pesticides, nutritional deficiencies and disease, a study says.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

A Not So Great Crepe Myrtle


Thank you for your time.  I purchased a crape myrtle last summer and it did well for a few months.  During dormancy I did not water it very much and this spring it really looked puny.
 I was told by a neighbor that has healthy nice crape myrtles that it needed a lot more water than I was giving it;  30 gallons a week during dormancy and up to 60 gallons per week during the summer months.
 My tree originally came in a 42 inch box and is now about 18-20 feet high.

Thank You, Maria

Hi Maria,
Could you answer some questions for me?
              1.      Has the tree progressed much at all from the size they were in the box?
2.      Did you fertilize the tree when you planted it? If so, with what?
3.      What was the average temperature for the next several weeks after you planted it (roughly)?
4.      When you dug out the hole for the box, did you dig it deeper than the depth of the box?
5.      What kind of amendment (if any) did you use in the hole? What percentage soil and what percentage amendment?

Cheers,   Frank

Hi Frank,
 I can answer some of the questions but not all.  I purchased the tree from --------,  and they dug the hole amended the soil and fertilized my tree.
 I of course watched and the hole was at least the depth of the box if not more so.
They gave me a liquid fertilizer to use once a month and I have added worm castings periodically.
 She was my 60th birthday present to myself and I hate to think that she isn't thriving and as beautiful as she should be.  I will say that she did flower beautifully for about a month this summer but she isn't very full as far as leaves go.
Thank you for your patience and help.


Hi Maria,

 Amending the soil is not recommended when you plant a crepe myrtle. Also, fertilizing any tree when it’s planted can be harmful to the tree. The fertilizer can cause a condition where the fertilizer salts burn the roots, causing them to form a type of scar tissue that can dwarf the tree and stunt its growth for the rest of its life.
Also, the ideal size to start a crepe myrtle out (or any tree for that matter) is a five gallon or smaller container. The larger the container, the more of a possibility the plant is going to be root bound and do poorly, plants in smaller containers naturally establish better than ones in larger containers.
The once a month fertilizing is way too much for the plant. Most ornamental trees and shrubs should only be fertilized once in their lifetimes, usually between 9 months and 1 year after they are established.

Cheers,   Frank

Hi Frank,

Okay thank you then I will stop fertilizing her. What do you think about the water amount and also do I water at all during dormancy?


Hi Maria,

Create a watering basin around your tree (see item number 4 on this link) –fill it with water by hand every week until the rains come.  Start watering again in the mid to late spring.

Cheers,   Frank