Alexander County Center

Green Thumb Gazette

August 2021 Newsletter
August Garden Calendar
Landscape Plants & Trees in Flower:
-        Crapemyrtle
-        Rose-of-Sharon
-        Hydrangeas
-        Canna*
-        Dahlia
-        Trumpet Creeper*
-        Liriope
-        Black eyed Susan
-        Cosmos
-        Zinnias
-        Lantana
-        Hyssop/agastache*
-        Tickseed/coreopsis
-        Joe-pye weed
-        Blanket flower
-        Passion flower
-        Phlox
-        Sedums
-        Asters
-        Beauty berry*
-        Purple coneflower
-        Rattlesnake master*
-        Passion flower
-        Mountain mint*
-        Daylilies
-        Mountain laurel
-        Goldenrod
-        Galax*

*Cari’s favorites

For more information on Fertilizing, Planting, Pruning, Spraying, Lawn Care and more:
Learn More »
BOLOs (Be On The Lookout)....
Turf grass:

  • Brown patch (tall fescue/ryegrass)
  • Fairy ring (all turfgrasses)
  • Pythium blight (fescue/Kentucky bluegrass/ryegrass)
Woody Ornamentals General:

  • Hydrangea: Cercospora leaf spot, Corynespora leaf spot
  • Boxwood: Phytophthora root rot, boxwood blight, boxwood stem canker

  • Camellia: Glomerella canker, Phytophthora root rot
  • Dogwood, flowering: powdery mildew, scorch (heat/drought), Septoria leaf spot
  • Gardenia: Phytophthora root rot
  • Leyland cypress: Phytophthora root rot, Armillaria root rot, Cypress (Seiridium) canker, Botryosphaeria canker/dieback, internal browning, drought stress
Herbaceous Ornamentals (Perennials, Bedding Plants):

  • Aster: rust
  • Coral bells (Heuchera): Phytophthora root/crown rot
  • Coreopsis: powdery mildew
  • Rudbeckia:  Septoria Leaf spot, downy mildew
      Fruits & Nuts Multiple Hosts:

      • Apple: bitter rot, sooty blotch and flyspeck
      • Blackberry: cane blight
      • Blueberry: Botryosphaeria stem blight, Phytophthora root rot
      • Grape, bunch: downy mildew, anthracnose, black rot (fruit), Pierce’s disease, herbicide injury
      • Grape, muscadine: black rot (leaves), Pierce’s disease, herbicide injury
      Vegetables & Herb Multiple Hosts:
      • Basil: downy mildew
      • Beans: anthracnose, Cercospora leaf spot, Rhizoctonia root/stem rot
      • Cucurbits: downy mildew, powdery mildew (esp. squash, pumpkin), anthracnose, Fusarium wilt, gummy stem blight (esp. watermelon
      • Pepper: bacterial spot, blossom-end rot
      • Tomato: bacterial wilt, bacterial spot, Septoria leaf spot, Fusarium wilt (esp. heirloom varieties), early blight, late blight, gray leaf spot, root-knot nematode, blossom-end rot, growth cracks, stink bug damage

              Click here to see Brown
              marmorated stink bug IMPOSTERS!

              This is not a ladybug!

              The Mexican bean beetle is a very good look alike to the common lady beetles we have here in NC. However, these guys and gals cause a lot of damage to beans and peas. Each stage in their life cycle will eat the undersides of the leaf tissue in between the veins of the plant, causing it to have a lacy appearance and patchy yellow and brown areas on the top side of the leaves. Mexican bean beetles attack soybeans throughout the season, but most damage occurs in August and September. Mexican bean beetles typically do not cause economic damage in North Carolina, but occasional severe infestations occur, especially in unusually cool, cloudy summers. Contact the Extension Office if you are noticing high numbers of this beetles throughout the end of the season.

              Recent Insect Pests….
              Here are some insects I have seen lately with homeowners:

              Let’s start with aphids. Aphids are a small, soft-bodied insect that feed by inserting their thin mouth part (called a stylet) into the phloem of the plant and sucking out the sap. Remember phloem is what moves sugars and amino acids throughout the plant and xylem transports water and other nutrients from the roots up the rest of the plant. Aphids excrete a sticky liquid called honeydew which will cover any of the plants below it, making them appear sooty or varnished. Because this critter removes the sugary content from the phloem, it can cause the plant to be stunted in growth or cause the leaves be distorted in a hard curled form. Aphids mature in 10 days and most species have multiple generations per year. Adults do have wings so they can move from plant to plant. Most occur in colonies and hang out together in the same place on the plant. Pruning can be a great method when you find a large group of them. Lady beetles are natural predators of aphids so if you know you have aphids, try planting ladybug friendly plants around your landscapes (common yarrow, cosmos, fennel, chives, etc.) to attract them to your yard! Insecticidal soaps will also help control aphids when populations are really booming.

              Moving on to spider mites. Spider mites are teeny little buggers that feed similar to aphids with their super tiny and sharp mouth parts, sucking sap from the leaf tissue. Because they are significantly smaller, the damage they do also looks smaller (tiny stipules) and often turns yellow and can lead to plant decline. They can also spin webs around leaf tissue. In the summer, two-spotted spider mites in particular develop in 5 days! We have many overlapping generations in North Carolina. Females live two to four weeks and lay several hundred eggs each. Nitrogen fertilizers can induce outbreaks of spider mites by making the plant yummy to feed on. Spider mites have many predators that include other mites, minute pirate bugs, & lady beetles. So again, using plants in your landscape to attract these beneficial insects is a good idea. Insecticidal soaps will also bring populations down, especially with a repeat application after 7-10 days of the first application to get any recently hatched eggs. Many chemical insecticides can cause a flare in populations because they can kill off predators of spider mites. There are miticides out there which are best to use so that only mites are targeted.

              Lastly there are thrips. The best way to explain thrips is that they are the tiny, thin orange bugs that crawl on you when you are outside that make you itch. They don’t bite humans, they are just annoying when they get on you and start walking around. They are soft bodied insects as well, that form wings in their adult stage. They love plant tissue as well, feeding in the same manner as the previous two insects, but create damage more like that of spider mites. Thrips also love flower tissues and cause them to look white and raggedy. Control for gardens and landscape beds include horticultural oils and spinosad (both natural products). There are other chemical controls available but can be more detrimental to beneficial pollinators in the area.

              Most applications for insect deterrents should be used early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid harming pollinators during the day. As for all chemical applications (including insecticidal soaps, horticultural oils, and other natural products) be sure to read and follow all label directions!

              Farmers Market:
              The Alexander County Farmers’ Market has been a great success! We still have a month and a half left to go and there is plenty of produce, flowers, honey, meat, bread and crafts to go around! Regular vendors include Mr. Alvin Woody with hand-made wooden crafts, Mrs. Woody with handmade jewelry and art, and Ms. Nancy Case with NC Case Farms who sells mixed flower planters and mixed herb planters. Mr. Lenny Rogers usually brings fresh, local honey made from his own bees, Ms. Carol Lovingood has fresh sourdough bread, cakes, & homemade soap, and Ms. De’Neane Kidd always brings whoopee pies, breads, fried pies, Texas-sized cinnamon rolls, and more! Chapman Cattle Company has also been a regular vendor, selling home grown beef and pork from their family farm here in Taylorsville! You can find a list of their meat cuts and options on our Facebook page @alexanderextension. Call 828-514-0526 to make an order with them for pickup on Saturday at the Farmers Market! As far as produce goes, Ms. Margaret Childers has been bringing the small white cucumbers, squash, zucchini, and cabbage! Living on Faith Farms brings a variety of fresh vegetables and plants! Our market has something different for everyone and has grown tremendously! Our market is every Saturday from 8 am to 12 pm in the old hospital parking lot on Hwy 16. Stop in and support your local growers, bakers, and artisans! If you are interested in becoming a vendor, please give me, Cari Mitchell- Horticulture Agent, a call at 828-632-4451. We would love to have you!
              4-H Garden Club Interest:
              I am interested in starting a garden club for kids and young adults (5-18 years old). Being outdoors and learning about nature is one of the best experiences a young person can have. Learning the basics about plants, how to grow your own food, learning the naming system, learning about the different kinds of plants (trees, mosses, fungi, perennials, annuals, lichens, shrubs, etc.) are all my jam and I want to build a club where kids can see if horticulture sparks their interest too! There are so many activities that the club can do under the horticultural umbrella that students might even find a sub-category that they want to learn more about like insects, floriculture, pollinator gardening, design, forestry, etc.! If your child is interested in a club like this or you would be interested in helping with a horticulture based club, please fill out this google form or contact Cari Mitchell, Horticulture Agent, at 828-632-4451!

              Alexander County 4-H Garden Club Interest Survey

              NC State University and N.C. A&T State University work in tandem, along with federal, state and local governments, to form a strategic partnership called N.C. Cooperative Extension.

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