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The Neighbohood Gardener – July 2013

This month in The Neighborhood Gardener:

DollarweedControlling Weeds in Landscape Beds — There are four common approaches to controlling weeds in plant beds: hand pulling, shallow cultivation, mulching, and herbicides. But there’s also a preventative method: exclusion. Excluding weeds means not introducing a weedy new plant to the plant bed in the first place, or if they’re already present, never allowing them to go to seed.

Identifying Turfgrass Diseases – Turfgrass diseases can be difficult to identify because they often look like other problems such as drought, cold damage, insects, or even dog urine damage. Disease sometimes occurs in poorly maintained lawns. Lawns that are properly watered, mowed, and fertilized are less likely to become infected. You should first rule out other factors before concluding your lawn has a disease.

Grafted citrusBudding Citrus Trees — Budding originated in the 1830s as a way to increase commercial orange production, but it’s also an easy technique that homeowners can use to create citrus trees that will be more vigorous and bear fruit more quickly. Budding can also be used on peaches, apples, roses, and many other plants, but in Florida it’s most commonly used on young citrus trees.

Agave lophanthaPlant of the Month: Agave lophanthaAgave lophantha, also known as thorncrest century plant, is a succulent perennial that’s winter-hardy and easy to care for. The foliage varies in color depending on the cultivar, but is often dark green with a lighter colored stripe pattern. Thorns of this plant are very sharp and should be avoided when tending to it. Agaves grow well without fertilizer, but can be fed a slow release fertilizer to promote a full, rich look. Requiring little attention, Agave lophantha will be a unique and strong accent to your garden or patio.

July in Your Garden – July is the peak of rainy season, so you can turn off your automatic sprinklers this month and let nature water the landscape. This is also one of the strongest growing months, and plants may need fertilizer. Monitor your annuals for root rot problems; consistent rain can cause standing water which suffocates root systems. Using weed killers on your lawn during hot weather can damage your turf. To control weeds mow, dig, or spot-kill weeds during this time of year.

antlion larvaFriend or Foe? Friend: Antlion — Antlions are best known for the funnel-shaped pits they dig while still in the larval stage; adults look similar to damselflies. Also known as doodlebugs, antlions feed on caterpillars, aphids, and ants. Antlion larvae are distinctively shaped, with large sickle-shaped piercing jaws. They create traps for insects by digging holes and waiting for their prey to fall in. The antlions then inject paralytic toxins with their jaws. Antlions are not a threat to your garden and should be considered beneficial bugs.

Read the full July issue.

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