Check for girdling roots when choosing plant at nursery

Q: I have a Mexican bird of paradise that was planted five years ago that suddenly died. It had flourished until now. I pulled out the plant and sent you some pictures of the dead plant, girdling or circling roots and borers that I found in the center of the stem that probably killed it.

A: I read your question and looked at the pictures with quite a bit of interest. This is the first time I have heard of flatheaded borers infesting Mexican bird of paradise. These are the same borers that attack fruit trees and landscape plants.

Flatheaded borers, when they are young, feed just under the bark of the tree in the living vascular tissue. The center of woody plants is not living, so they stay feeding where they can find water and nutrients. Essentially, they tunnel just under the bark and parallel with it in a random pattern.

It is here that these larvae find the most nourishment for growth. When they get larger and ready to pupate or turn into the winged adult beetle, they burrow toward the center of the plant, where there is not much nourishment. But this area does offer them protection.

Here they begin their metamorphosis until they finally emerge as the adult beetle, which flies away and mates. The female lays eggs on the outer surface of susceptible plants.

It’s not unusual to see some tunneling toward the woody center of limbs or stems, or at least inside the wood of some plants.

Girdling roots, larger roots that grow in circles, occur in plants when they are very young at the nursery. The roots of these plants are crammed into small nursery containers, where they start growing in circles. They are then moved to larger containers, where they continue to grow in circles. That cycle continues when they are planted in the landscape.

Gently remove plants from their containers and check for girdling roots before purchasing them. This is the only way you would know if they are girdling or not.

Q: Would it be safe to plant a flowering plum tree in September or October, or should I wait until spring?

A: I wouldn’t. I would wait until maximum daytime temperatures dropped down to the low 90s or high 80s. In Las Vegas, that would probably be late September or early October. I would be comfortable planting trees until about Nov. 1.

There are plants that like to be put in the ground when it’s hot. Palms are an example. They don’t like to be planted when it’s cold.

The cutoff for planting hybrid Bermuda grass is the end of July. It needs about two months of hot weather to knit into the soil.

Actually, fall is an ideal time to plant if you can find the plants you want. Fall planting gives you two times when the weather is nice: fall and the following spring.

If you find a tree on sale now, it will take a lot of diligence to keep it from getting damaged because of the heat. I would put it on the east side of the building and make sure it gets protection from the late afternoon sun. Or put it in filtered light.

If it’s in a 5-gallon container, I would water it twice each day; once in the morning before it gets hot and the second time in the afternoon. Don’t let sunlight directly on the container. The surface temperature will heat up to about 160 F in just a few minutes. It can kill half the roots inside the container facing the sun.

Get a second container the same size. Put some large rocks in the bottom, and put the containerized plant inside of it. It’s called double potting. That will help keep the heat off it.

Q: I have a dwarf peach tree that was about a foot when I planted it last year. It has grown about 6 inches now. When can I prune it so it doesn’t grow taller than me? I am only 4 feet 10 inches, and I don’t want it to grow tall because I’m going to net it.

A: I want to mention a couple of things regarding your question. First, perhaps you mean it is a miniature peach and not a dwarf. Sometimes miniatures are also called genetic dwarf trees. To remove confusion, let’s call the genetic dwarf trees “miniatures.”

Sometimes the nursery trade calls peach trees grafted on certain types of rootstocks dwarf. It’s true they are a little smaller because of these rootstocks, but not much. The term dwarf is more of a marketing ploy as far as peaches go.

Genetic dwarf or miniatures are truly much smaller than the so-called dwarfs. They also grow differently and produce their fruit on branches differently. They are truly dwarf compared to standard-sized peach trees and the other so-called dwarfs.

If you have a genetic dwarf or miniature peach, then it will be pruned much differently from other peaches. You want limbs coming from the trunk as low as possible. Bend these limbs toward the ground, like they have a fruit load on them. See if the fruit might touch the ground.

If the fruit might touch the ground, consider removing the limb or at least cutting it back. Cutting it back might thicken and strengthen the branch and give the fruit more support so it doesn’t touch the ground.

At this point in its life, you just want it to grow. If it has side branches coming from the trunk at around the height of your knee, then it is doing it all on its own. If it’s a single stick and thick as your little finger, cut it at knee height. This cut will cause this solitary stem to start branching.

Secondly, why are you using a net? Birds? Harvest the fruit within one to two weeks of its normal harvest period as soon as bird pecks of the fruit are seen. Let the fruit finish ripening inside the house and off the tree. It is still considered tree-ripened.

Q: I have a common lawn with my neighbor, and it has an infestation of nutgrass that is now spreading into my lawn. How do I stop it? I’ve read sugar is a good alternative to herbicides, but I would like your help to get this under control.

A: I have never heard about sugar used to control weeds. That is a new one on me.

Nutgrass, sometimes called nutsedge, is a tough weed to control. Because it’s a sedge, the leaves look very similar to lawn grasses such as fescue. Many people don’t know it’s in a lawn because it looks similar to the grass.

It does grow faster than lawn grass, and that can be a giveaway. It’s also more upright in its growth, so that can also give it away. And, of course, when it sets flowers and seed, that can give it away.

Nutgrass is called that because of the nut or tuber that grows below ground. It’s usually brought into home landscapes as a weed when buying nursery plants. Most people think it’s a grass and pull it, but the nut in the soil is left behind. The plant and its soil are planted. From there it spreads.

When it’s pulled like a weed from the soil, the leaves separate from the underground nut easily. The underground nut regrows new leaves. If the leaves are pulled over and over, as soon as you see them, the nut eventually gives up, exhausted, and dies. That is a common organic strategy for controlling nutgrass without chemicals.

It’s also a common strategy when using chemicals. Weed killers burn the top of the plant down, over and over, until the nut just gives up.

A weed killer that can be sprayed on the grass and only damages the nutgrass is available. It is called Sledgehammer. It’s only available for purchase online. In prior years, it was only used by professionals. That formulation was called Manage.

A similar strategy is used when spraying Sledgehammer. But Sledgehammer actually kills a fair number of the nuts as well. But not all of them. So it must be sprayed again when the leaves appear.

When to make the second and third applications is very critical. The spray must be applied when the nut has invested its energy into the growth of new leaves. Wait too long and the leaves will rebuild the nut. As soon as they appear — no more than four leaves — Sledgehammer is sprayed again. Eventually, after repeat sprays at the right time, you have won the battle.

Bob Morris is a horticulture expert and professor emeritus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Visit his blog at xtremehorticulture.blogspot.com. Send questions to Extremehort@aol.com.

ad-high_impact_4
Local
New York artist Bobby Jacobs donated a sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden
Bobby Jacobs, an artist from upstate New York, has spent much of the past year creating a sculpture of two separate angel wings. He donated the sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Weather will cool slightly through the end of the week
The weather will cool slightly through the end of the week., but highs are still expected to be slightly above normal for this year. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mayor announces new public-private partnership
Mayor Carolyn Goodman announced the creation of the Mayor’s Fund for Las Vegas LIFE, a public-private partnership that will allocate money to the city’s neediest.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Fall fairytale gets cozy at Bellagio Conservatory
Bellagio Conservatory introduces its fall-themed garden titled "Falling Asleep." (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
What the house that Ted Binion died in looks like today
Casino heir Ted Binion died in this Las Vegas home in 1998. Current home owner Jane Popple spent over $600,000 to restore and modernize the home. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Rescue Mission employees terminated
Don James, a former employee for the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, talks about the day his team was terminated. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders Cupcakes at Freed's Bakery
Freed's Bakery will have Raiders-themed cupcakes available in store and for order during football season. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s fans say goodbye to Cashman Field
Las Vegas 51s fans said goodbye to Cashman Field in Las Vegas, Monday September, 3, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s owner Don Logan's last weekend at Cashman Field
Don Logan, owner of the Las Vegas 51s, gives a tour of Cashman Field before the team's final weekend using the field. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Metro Asst. Sheriff Brett Zimmerman on Aug. 8 officer-involved shooting
Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman met with media Monday to discuss the details of the 14th officer-involved shooting of the year. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program where community and business leaders joined to welcome students back with an inspirational welcome. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Star Trek fans on show’s enduring popularity
Star Trek fans at the Star Trek Convention 2018 talk about why they think the show has stayed popular across the years Thursday, August 2, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Nonprofit provides clothing for homeless
Sydney Grover of Can You Spare A Story?, talks about how she founded the non-profit organization. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Family remembers deceased mother
Family members of Adriann Gallegos remember her. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Camp Broadway teaches kids how to sing and dance
The Smith Center's seventh annual Camp Broadway musical theater program gives 150 kids ages 6-17 an opportunity to learn musical theater skills from industry professionals over a five-day period. Marcus Villagran/ Las Vegas Review-Journal @brokejournalist
Restoring classic Corvettes to perfection
Members of the National Corvette Restorers Society Convention talk about what it takes to earn the NCRS Top Flight Award for a restored Corvette at South Point in Las Vegas on Tuesday July 17, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Watch Ruthless! at Las Vegas Little Theatre
The musical Ruthless! will be playing at Las Vegas Little Theatre from July 13-29. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Cadaver art and sword swallowing at The Dark Arts Market
Curator Erin Emrie talks about her inspiration for The Dark Arts Market at Cornish Pasty Co. in Las Vegas Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
'NO H8' Campaign comes to Las Vegas
Hundreds of locals participate in the NO H8 campaign founded by Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley as a response to Proposition 8, a California ban on same-sex marriage. The campaign has since evolved to represent equal treatment for all. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
What to expect at Station Casinos' Fourth of July celebration
Station Casinos' is hosting its annual 4th of July celebration with Fireworks by Grucci. Fireworks scheduled to go off on Wednesday, July 4 around 9 p.m. at Green Valley Ranch Resort, Red Rock Resort, Fiesta Rancho and Texas Station. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Star Wars and Golden Knights mashup at downtown art shop
Star Wars and Vegas Golden Knights fans attend the Boba Fett Golden Knight Paint Class at The Bubblegum Gallery in Las Vegas, Friday, June 29, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Tourists and locals enjoy Independence Day fireworks at Caesars Palace
Hundreds of tourists and locals gaze at the Independence Day fireworks show at Caesars Palace on Saturday, June 30, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Clark County recount votes in commission’s District E primary
Clark County staff begin the recount requested by candidate Marco Hernandez in the democratic primary for the County Commission's District E seat on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Long-running local hip hop producer wants Vegas rappers to shine
Las Vegas Hip Hop producer and co-owner of Digital Insight Recording Studios Tiger Stylz reflects on 30 years of music production in the city. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
"Pawn Stars" fans visit Richard Harrison's memorial at Gold & Silver Pawn
"Pawn Stars" fans from around the world visit the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas following the passing of Richard "Old Man" Harrison on Monday, June 25, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Life
Celebrity photographer dedicates dance book to Las Vegas shooting victims
Behind the scenes with local celebrity photographer Jerry Metellus as he talks about his Dance For Vegas coffee book dedicated to the 58 victims of the October 1 shooting. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Dreamsickle Kids Foundation founder Gina Glass talks awareness
Gina Glass, 35, founded Dreamsickle Kids Foundation to raise awareness for sickle cell disease in Nevada. (Jessie Bekker/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Meadows School founding kindergarten teacher retires after 34 years at the school
Linda Verbon, founder of the The Meadows School's kindergarten program and the first faculty member hired at the school, retired in the spring after 34 years at The Meadows. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Kids become firefighters at Fire Station 98 open house
Henderson residents wore fire hats, learned about CPR and met firefighters at the Fire Station 98 open house Saturday, August 11, 2018. (Marcus Villagran Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
People from all over the world attend RollerCon 2018
RollerCon 2018 is a five-day convention focused on the roller derby community and culture at Westgate in Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Camp Broadway teaches kids how to sing and dance
The Smith Center's seventh annual Camp Broadway musical theater program gives 150 kids ages 6-17 an opportunity to learn musical theater skills from industry professionals over a five-day period. Marcus Villagran/ Las Vegas Review-Journal @brokejournalist
Las Vegas police officer on being PETA's Sexiest Vegan Next Door
Las Vegas police officer David Anthony talks vegan lifestyle and how he feels about being voted PETA's sexiest Vegan next door from his home on Monday, July 9, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
'NO H8' Campaign comes to Las Vegas
Hundreds of locals participate in the NO H8 campaign founded by Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley as a response to Proposition 8, a California ban on same-sex marriage. The campaign has since evolved to represent equal treatment for all. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Over 40,000 People Attend The 4th Of July Parade In Summerlin In Las Vegas
Over 40,000 People Attend The 4th Of July Parade In Summerlin In Las Vegas. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Star Wars and Golden Knights mashup at downtown art shop
Star Wars and Vegas Golden Knights fans attend the Boba Fett Golden Knight Paint Class at The Bubblegum Gallery in Las Vegas, Friday, June 29, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like