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Archive Files

#1 - #5 - Plants of the Week
#2 -
Compatible Plants #6 - Maple Leaf Drop
#3 - Mushrooms #7 - Pine Sawfly Update
#4 - Rose Slugs on Knock Out Roses
Plants of the Week
Taken from the B.Y.G.L. (Buckeye Yard and Garden Online) Newsletter
Lead Editor: Curtis Young; Contributing Authors: Pam Bennett, Joe Boggs, Julie Crook, Jim Chatfield,
Erik Draper, Dave Dyke, Gary Gao, Tim Malinich, Cindy Meyer, Amy Stone, Marne Titchnell and Curtis Young.
Annual - Petunia (Petunia spp.)
Many people are not fond of petunias because they are high maintenance - deadheading being the number 1 necessary task. Today's petunias are not your grandma's petunias. In fact, there have been such great strides in breeding that these petunias might just convince even the most die-hard, anti-petunia person to come back to the pro-petunia side! There are so many wonderful varieties on the market today that don't require deadheading and look fantastic all season, thriving until a hard frost.

Field trials such as those at the Gateway Learning Gardens (OSU Extension office in Clark County), on OSU main campus, and at the Cincinnati Zoo all show top ratings for most petunia varieties. Some of the top performing varieties include: Surfinia, Supertunia, Wave, Cascadia, Madness, and many more. In fact, there are so many more that it becomes overwhelming when trying to select the best varieties. Check out field trial sites in order to see these plants and their growth habits and performance during the season. Once one sees these new varieties and

Petunia Supertunia
Vista Bubblegum

how great they look with very little maintenance, they may become convinced that petunias are good. One note, if there are rabbits in the gardens, protect newly established plants from these critters. Once they are grown and have a bit tougher foliage, these pests tend to leave them alone.

Perennial - Bearded Iris (Iris spp.)
This hardy and vigorous perennial requires that one get up close and personal with the flower to really appreciate why it's called a bearded iris. A close inspection reveals the "beard" of hairs that are in the center of the falls. The downward curving petals are called falls and serve as a landing pad for pollinators. The fuzzy beards help the pollinators to hang on as they navigate their way to the luscious nectar in the center. The upright petals are called standards and they serve as flags to attract pollinating insects.

Iris breeders have developed a myriad of colors and color combinations. The plants prefer full sun and good drainage for best results. In addition, Irises are pretty tough plants as is evidenced by stands of them still blooming in abandoned farmsteads and homes. Don't mulch over the rhizomes as this may lead to potential rot of the rhizomes. After blooming, the plant enters a period of semi-dormancy; too much water at this time can lead to rot of the rhizomes. Once the bloom dies, cut the entire flower stalk back to the base

of the plant. Some varieties of bearded iris are considered "reblooming;" once you cut the flower stalk off, the plant sends up another bloom for later in the season.

The most common pest of bearded iris is the iris borer, which can devastate a planting. Good cultural practices, including keeping the bed clear and free of debris that harbors overwintering eggs of iris borers, help to reduce potential pest problems.

Woody - White FringeTree (Chionanthus virginicus)

White fringetree, otherwise known as grancy gray-beard, or old-man's beard, is grown in the landscape as a small tree or shrub. White fringetree is generally rounded in form and is grown primarily for its beautiful white spring flowers. The flowers are produced in terminal 6" long panicles that have the look of puffy white clouds. Each flower on the panicle is strap-shaped with four petals. Individual plants are dioecious (either male or female), with male plants being more showy because of their longer petals. Dark blue, grape-like clusters of fruit make a nice show in late summer, but only on female trees. The fringetree belongs to the olive family and prefers moist well-drained soils. In the landscape, fringetree reaches 12-20' with a matching spread. Some cultivars to look for include 'Spring Fleecing' and 'Emerald Knight'.

Weed - Common Reed Grass (Phragmites australis)

Common reed grass is a tall perennial wetland grass that reaches heights of 15ꞌ. This non-native grass was thought to be introduced into North America in the early 20th century. While a native common reed grass exists in the United States the introduced strain is much more invasive than the native. The non-native strain grows well in areas that are stressed, such as roadside areas and polluted waterways. The invasive strain of common reed grass competes with other more desirable plants and provides little food or shelter for wildlife. The non-native common reed grass is found throughout the United States. In Ohio, the non-native common reed grass is found in many parts of northern Ohio and more recently has been found to be migrating to parts of Southern Ohio.

Controlling common reed grass is difficult. The plant produces horizontal rhizomes that grow on or beneath the ground. These

rhizomes, which allow the plant to form large growing areas, then produce roots and culms (stalks). Mechanically removing the plants should be done early in the growing season with cut stalks removed entirely from the area to ensure no regrowth. Herbicide applications are shown to be effective in the fall. For both control measures several years of management will be needed to ensure plants are eradicated from the site.
Vegetable - Thyme (Thymus spp.)
According to Allan Armitage, in "Herbaceous Perennial Plants, A Treatise on their Identification, Culture, and Garden Attributes," there are over 350 species of thyme that are used as ornamental plants. Found growing naturally on the banks and hillsides throughout the Mediterranean and the British Isles, thyme prefers full sun and outstanding drainage. They rot quickly if soils remain damp. The leaves are usually quite small, less than 1/2' long and oval-shaped. The flowers are usually lavender to pink and are full of nectar as the bees are always working them.

As thyme plants age, they tend to develop woody stems. Cutting them back in the spring every so often keeps them looking their best. Thyme can be used in the landscape or perennial border as a ground

cover, in the vegetable or herb garden for culinary uses, in the rock garden, or between stepping stones (walk on it for the great fragrance - it won't hurt the plant!).