Garden Update: Summer 2011
Harvesting cherries is over, at least for me anyway. While the cherry harvest in Door County, WI is just starting (July 18th) my North Star cherry tree is now stripped clean of its fruit. What a bountiful harvest it was. My tree is now 8 years old and bore a heavy crop this year. After pitting, I ended up with 28 quarts. That’s a lot of pie! What to do with all those cherries? I gave more than half the crop away to family and friends. I never have a problem with any excess fruit as I always seem to find willing participants who are happy to share in the harvest.
Picking dates vary year to year based on the weather, heat units accumulated, etc. I started picking on July 4th and finished the last picking on July 19th. My little cherry pitter got a real workout this year handling such a large crop. All the cherries are bagged, frozen, and waiting for a slower time of year when I have time to turn them into pies, cobblers and jam, usually the winter months.
If you bought a cherry tree from Johnson’s Nursery, I hope your harvest was just as plentiful. We still have a few Montmorency cherry trees left in stock. If you wanted to plant a cherry tree this spring, but didn’t get the chance, you can still plant this summer. We have them in #5 containers and they can safely be transplanted all season long, provided they are watered properly until they get established. Montmorency is a great cherry which ripens about 10-12 days later than North Star.
Due to the cold, late spring we had, I noticed my roses came into first bloom about a week and a half later than normal this year. My hardy shrub roses and my hybrid teas are normally in full bloom the last two weeks of June, but this year it was early July before this occurred.
This week (July 18th) is the first time I have noticed adult Japanese beetles feeding on the roses this season. They are not an issue earlier in the year, as the larvae feed primarily on grass roots. Once they become adults, they like to feed on roses, grape vines, raspberries, and many other plants. Roses seem to be one of their favorites. They feed on the rose foliage and on the flower buds/petals. They love to chew thru rose buds. Once the bud opens, you will easily see the tunnel they chewed through the petals. If the damage gets too severe, it is time to try some type of control.
One method is to physically pick off the beetles and destroy them. This works if you only have a few roses. Chemical controls (insecticide) can be used, but they do not offer perfect control. The problem is that even if you spray an insecticide (which often kills by contact) more Japanese beetles keep flying in. They are excellent flyers and can travel long distances. You can kill what is present when spraying but a few days later can be infested with new batch of beetles.
If the population is high enough, the best choice for chemical control may be a systemic insecticide. This is usually a granular product that is applied to the soil at the base of the plant. As the rose is watered, the insecticide is released and taken up thru the plants root system. Since it travels throughout the plants vascular tissue, the entire plant will stay treated with one application for a long time. This is an easier and more lasting way to control Japanese beetles on roses than spraying weekly with an insecticide.
At Johnson’s Nursery, we sell Bayer™ 2 in 1 Systemic which has both fertilizer and Imidacloprid (systemic insecticide) as active ingredients. One application lasts for 8 weeks. We also sell Bayer™ 3 in 1 Systemic which has fertilizer, systemic insecticide, and a systemic fungicide combined. Should your Japanese beetles becomes severe enough on your roses, try one of these products for control.
Paul Schwabe is a salesman in our Contractor Sales division. He holds a degree in horticulture and will be writing about some of his favorite and underused plants.