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Somerset County Master Gardener July 2013 Newsletter

Wow! It’s July already and hopefully your gardens are doing well after all the cool rains we had in the month of June. Now all we have to do is make sure that we have an adequate water supply for those dry spells that we know will eventually come — and keep ahead of the weeds and insects. Oh, yes, and be on the lookout for those things that want to harvest the garden before we get the chance, such as woodchucks, deer, and insects. If you would like information on dealing with wildlife in you gardens, visit Wildlife Control Information from Cornell University. For information on insects and weeds, visit Insect Pests & Plant Diseases from UMaine Extension.

Also, if you are seeking  help with supplying your gardens watering needs, UMaine Extension has helpful information on doing just that. See Bulletin #2160, Trickle Irrigation: Using and Conserving Water in the Home Garden or stop by your local UMaine Extension county office and ask for a copy. No wonder gardening is such fun; gardening fills each day with a new and interesting challenge!.

July is the month to

  • Time to plant a fall vegetable crop. If you find yourself with space in your garden now, you still have time to plant for a fall crop and keep those areas productive. Beans, radishes, beets, carrots, cabbage, lettuce, and kale are a few of the plants that you can try for fall. If you’re worried about an early frost, see Bulletin #2761, Gardening in Small Spaces (scroll down to the section called “Season Extenders”).
  • Check your vegetable and flower gardens for insect or disease pests at least once weekly. On a dry day, go into the garden to search for possible problems. Remember that early detection is the key to solving may garden problems. Don’t know what is the causing damage? Bring a sample into your local UMaine Extension county office or e-mail us a digital picture of the problem. Additional information is available at UMaine Extension’s Pest Management for Homeowners website.

Disease & Pest Alert

July is the time for Rose Chafers and Japanese Beetles, as well as the newest addition to our insect pest alert: the Spotted Wing Drosophila!

  • Spotted Wing Drosophila, or SWD as it is called, has found its way into Maine and the Northeast. This insect attacks soft fruits such as blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and grapes. For more information, watch our video Defending Against Spotted Wing Drosophila or get the latest news and information updates at UMaine’s Highmoor Farm website.
  • The Rose Chafer is usually one of the first significant adult pests we see chomping on the foliage of many of our trees, flowering shrubs, and berries, as well as grapes and other plants. Arriving in mid- to late-June, it usually comes in about two or three weeks before the adult Japanese Beetles emerge to start their feeding frenzy! Visit Rose Chafers on the Maine.gov’s Got Pests? website for great pictures and information on this pest.
  • Japanese Beetle: See Bulletin #5037, Japanese Beetle or visit your local UMaine Extension county office and ask for a copy.
  • Forest & Shade Tree – Insect & Disease Conditions for Maine. The latest conditions report from the Maine Forest Service is available online, including information on the diseases effecting oak and pine trees in our area. You can view the report by visiting the Maine Forest Service website.

Items of Interest

  • Summertime programs at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens: Melissa Cullina, Director of Education and Staff Botanist at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, invites you to experience Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens’ spectacular 250-acre landscape. The gardens and wild spaces are uniquely beautiful and always full of surprises! The theme for 2013 is Trees, Timbers and Traditions and encompasses the many facets of trees and their multitude of uses. Learn more about the Coastal Maine Botanical Garden.
  • Tracking Downy Mildew of Impatiens, by Dr. Lois Berg Stack

Dear Maine Master Gardener,

As many of you discovered when you shopped for plants this spring, many Maine greenhouses and garden centers are not selling garden Impatiens, or have greatly reduced their crops. You probably also noticed the increased availability of other shade plants, like New Guinea Impatiens, coleus, and begonias, because they are not susceptible to a disease that has become very serious in much of the U.S.: impatiens downy mildew.

I’d like to ask for your help in an effort to map the occurrence of impatiens downy mildew in Maine. We know that it occurred in 2012, but we don’t know how widespread it was. Together, we can map it this summer.

This disease is easy to diagnose in a garden. Here is what you’ll see:

  1. The first symptom is a coating of white spores on the undersides of leaves, especially between the veins.
  2. As the disease progresses, leaves turn yellow and wilt, and flowers drop early.
  3. Eventually, most leaves fall off, leaving nearly bare stems sticking up.
  4. Finally, the stems soften and fall to the ground.

If you’re interested in helping, please send me an e-mail at lois.stack@maine.edu and answer these questions:

  1. What symptoms do you see?
  2. Approximately how many impatient plants are in the planting?
  3. Is it in a commercial landscape, or in a municipal planting, or in a home garden?
  4. What town is it in?
  5. Is it urban, or suburban, or rural?

If you’re not sure about the diagnosis, send me a photo with your information. I’d be happy to respond to let you know if in fact it is impatiens downy mildew.

Thanks for considering this project! It’s a way that we can all work together to identify and understand a gardening problem, in order to plan for future garden success.

–Lois

  • Maine Audubon and Maine Inland Fisheries & Wildlife are seeking the help of Maine residents to identify the location of maternal bat colonies throughout the state (where female bats group together to raise their young). Information from citizen scientists will help establish a baseline for breeding bats. Interested volunteers can follow an established protocol for estimating colony size by counting the number of bats emerging at dusk. “Because of the devastation of WNS on bat colonies, we are even looking for historical information — if you know of a bat colony that has not seen activity this year, we still want to hear about it,” noted  Susan Gallo, Maine Audubon wildlife biologist. For more information on this volunteer project visit the Maine Audubon website.
  • Maine Home Garden News is published during the gardening season. Maine gardeners may access the most current gardening information  each month by going to Maine Home Garden News.

Upcoming Events

  • The Maine Association of Agricultural Fairs: Are you ready to get away from your garden and take in a look at the latest in farming, gardening, and generally everything else that’s been going on in agriculture? Well, you might want to attend one of the great fairs starting up in Maine this month. The Maine Association of Agricultural Fairs have posted their complete schedule online.
  • Highmoor Farm Field Day and Summer Tour: July 31, 2013 from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. This public field day at Highmore Farm in Monmouth, Maine will include tours of current research projects in tree fruit, vegetables, and berries. Participants may receive one Pesticide Applicator rectification credit for attending the morning program and one Pesticide Applicator rectification credit for attending the tree fruit tour or the berry and vegetable tour in the afternoon. Pre-registration is strongly encouraged. Please contact Pam St. Peter at pamela.stpeter@maine.edu or 207.933.2100 to pre-register. Cost for this day is $20.00 per person. For more information and to view the day’s agenda, visit the Highmoor Farm website.

Volunteer Opportunity

  • The Margaret Chase Smith Library in Skowhegan is looking for a Master Gardener Volunteer to help maintain their gardens. For information on this project please phone Lynette King at 207.474.7133 (ext 101), or contact Tom Goodspeed at 207.474.9622 or e-mail thomas.goodspeed@maine.edu.

Thank you…

To those of you who attended the June 15 work day here at the UMaine Cooperative Extension, Somerset County office. Due to your efforts, we were able to remove the star bed and get a start on the flagpole bed by getting rid of the weeds that had taken over. There’s still plenty of work left to be done and if you are looking for a volunteer project, this project is ongoing and needs you.

Just a reminder, please keep sending in your volunteer hours.

Have a great summer!

Tom

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