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Note: this is the fourth post in a series on fruit trees. Read part one.
The weather can, does, and will influence foliage disease each year, starting in the early weeks of spring. While early spring was a long time ago, many diseases are now quite visible in the home landscape.
What do lilacs, phlox, vine crops, peonies, and lawns all have in common this time of year? First clue – it is weather related. Second clue – if you touch it, it will rub off. Final clue – it looks like it came out of the kitchen pantry and you would sprinkle on your pastries, pancakes, and waffles.
By this time of year, woody plants have taken care of business, meaning the foliage already has produced the energy needed to form buds for both foliage and flowers for next year. If there is a fruit or pod containing seeds, that is nearly, if not already completed, as well. In the next few weeks, plants will get the signal that fall is on the way and begin to set up for the eventual color change and leaf drop.
Master Gardener Help Desk emails have really been different this past two weeks. Our early spring challenges have left and along came the first of our summer concerns in the landscape and vegetable beds. The list turned into more than a column’s worth, so going to hit the big ones this week:
Most of us are actively cleaning up the perennial beds, vegetable garden, landscape beds and even getting our first lawn mowing out of the way because the whole yard looks better when that’s done. However, not everyone views this time of spring cleaning the same way. Entomologists, for example, are in favor of leaving the overwintering bits up, as many of our insects use that as a means of survival; while plant pathologists view that same garden debris as a source of future disease in your yard.