Gray leaf spot on St. Augustine grass
A healthy landscape is a thing of beauty, but there are plenty of pests and diseases out there that can wreak havoc. Treatment is most effective at the first sign of problems.
The top three we see and our recommendations:
- Lawns: Brown patch (brown to gray irregular to circular patches), gray leaf spot (gray, yellow or ash-colored spots with darker borders on leaves) and red thread (tan or pink circular patches, pink threads upon close inspection) are the diseases we are see most frequently. They can be treated with Fertilome F-Stop, a granular product, or Fertilome Liquid Systemic Fungicide.
- Fungus on ornamental plants: If your plants look like they have been dusted with confectioner's sugar, they have powdery mildew. Leaf spots on plants like hydrangea are caused by another fungus. Treat with Fertilome Liquid Systemic Fungicide.
- Snails and slugs: Wet weather is paradise for these slimy pests. We recommend earth- and pet-friendly Sluggo.
And always remember to read and follow directions on the product label.
Everybody loves butterflies, but not every garden attracts them. Use these tips from Northwest Louisiana Master Gardener Mike Livingston, who is in charge of the butterfly garden at the Randle T. Moore Center, to increase your chances of luring them in.
Butterflies like a sunny spot sheltered from the wind and large swaths of plants of different heights, colors, shapes and species. Provide a "puddling" area where they can get water and salt and at least two host plants.
- Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
- Passionvine (Passiflora incarnata)
- Rue (Rue graveolens)
- Fennel (Foeniculum)
- Pussy willow (Salix discolor)
- Pipevine (Aristolochia fimbriata)
- Abelia (Abelia grandiflora)
- Agastache foeniculum (Anise hyssop)
- Blanket flower (Gaillardia)
- Butterfly bush (Buddleia)
- Butterfly penta (Pentas lanceolata)
- Purple coneflower (Echinacea)
- Joe Pye weed (Eutrochium)
- Lantana (Lantana camara)
- Phlox (various)
- Porterweed (Stachytarpheta)
- Mexican sunflower (Tithonia)
- Verbena (various)
- Zinnia (various)
One of the keys to choosing the right plants for your garden is knowing your light conditions. Use this guide from LSU AgCenter to help determine yours:
- Full sun: eight or more hours of direct sun per day.
- Part sun: about four to six hours of afternoon sun per day.
- Part shade: about four hours of direct sun in the morning.
- Shade: about two hours of direct morning sunlight or dappled light throughout the day.
Now that you know your conditions, here’s a list of some of the most popular bedding plants:
Sun to part sun:
- Sweet potato vine
Part shade to shade:
- New Guinea impatiens
If all the spring green that's glowing around town has your green thumb itching, drop by to check out our premium plants. Our greenhouse and nursery are full of fresh color with new shipments arriving weekly.
Not sure what to plant? Consult a member of our knowledgeable staff for assistance.
And if you'd just like to turn the work over to someone else, ask about our landscape services.
We can help you make this spring your most colorful ever!
Crape myrtle bark scale
Spring weather brings beautiful flowers -- and pests and diseases.
Here's a look at problems our customers are seeking help with and our recommendation for treating them:
- Scale on camellias and sasanquas. Check your plants for infestations by looking for small sucking insects attached to the underside of the leaves. If they're present, treat with either Bonide All-Seasons Horticultural Oil for an organic approach or Fertilome Systemic Insect Spray.
- Crape myrtle bark scale. Look for black, sooty mold on leaves, trunks and limbs, as well as white felt-like patches on twigs, branches and trunks. Treat with either Fertilome Tree and Shrub Insect Drench or Hi Yield Systemic Insect Spray. To remove sooty mold from limbs and trunks, use a soft-bristle brush, water and a little dish-washing soap. Or use a power washer, making certain the pressure isn't so high it damages the bark.
- Fungus on Indian hawthorns, red tip photinias and roses. Apply Serenade Disease Control or Fertilome Systemic Fungicide.
- Weeds in lawn. Take care of them before they take hold with Fertilome Weed-Free Zone or Fertilome Weed Out.
Don’t you feel sorry for gardeners who live where there are no winter flowers?
Camellias are the super stars of winter garden in the South, lighting up the landscape with lovely flowers in red, rose, pink, white and bicolors. Plant now and you'll be able to enjoy them for many weeks.
Both Camellia japonica and Camellia sasanqua, the two varieties most often planted here, prefer a partial shade location. A well-drained spot where they will receive about four to six hours of morning sun with afternoon shade is ideal. They also thrive under the high shade cast by pine trees. Like azaleas, camellias do best in acid soil. If your soil pH is above 7, add an acidifier at planting time and feed your plant with fertilizer labeled for acid-loving plants.
Here’s a look at a few of the popular varieties Akin’s usually has in stock:
- Nuccio’s Gem: a strong upright grower that bears loads of perfectly formed, pristine white semidouble flowers with a rosebud center in early to mid-season.
- Cotton Candy: an early-season bloomers that bears masses of clear pink, semidouble flowers.
- Kanjiro: a vigorous upright grower with early, rose-pink, semidouble flowers shading to rose-red on the petal edges.
- Shishi Gashira: a compact, low-grower that bears early rosy-red, semidouble flowers. Named a Louisiana Super Plant.
- Setsugekka: a moderate upright grower with masses of early, white, semidouble flowers bearing golden stamens.
Adding one, or more, of these camellias will give your eyes something beautiful to rest on during winter’s grayest, dreariest months.
It just wouldn't be Christmas without poinsettias, paperwhites, amaryllises and cyclamen.
Keep them looking their best with these tips:
Poinsettia: Place the plant where it will get some sunlight and won't be exposed to drafts. Water with warm water when the soil surface is dry to the touch, but don't let the plant stand in water. Avoid getting mist or water on the colored bracts.
Paperwhite: For best flowering, leave the bulb pot outside if temperatures will stay above freezing. When grown in warm temperatures and with low light, foliage and flowers tend to flop. Once the flowers open, bring the pot inside but move it to an unheated location at night to extend flower life.
Amaryllis: Put the pot near a sunny window, and rotate it a quarter turn every few days once the flower stalk emerges to keep it growing straight. Too little light will result in a weak, spindly stalk. Keep soil evenly moist.
Cyclamen: Keep the soil moist, but don't water from above. Place the pot in a shallow tray of water and let the roots take it up. They prefer temperatures in the 60s and like bright light.
Cooler weather is on the way and that means fall veggies. Cabbage, lettuce, broccoli, kale, collards and more thrive in our climate.
Here's a list from LSU AgCenter of vegetables from that can be planted in September:
- Beets, broccoli (transplants or seeds through September)
- Brussels sprouts (transplants or seeds)
- Cabbage (transplants or seeds)
- Chinese cabbage (transplants or seeds)
- Cauliflower (transplants or seeds)
- Collards (transplants or seeds)
- English peas
- Snow peas
- Garlic (late September)4
- Onions (seeds, late September)
- Snap beans (early September)
- Swiss chard
We've already had extremely dry weather, but Louisiana's hottest, driest weather is often in August, so pay close attention to your lawn, newly planted shrubs and trees, and landscape beds. LSU AgCenter offers these tips for effective irrigation:
- Irrigate early. Morning water pressure is usually higher and foliage will have time to dry before evening, reducing the chance of disease problems.
- Apply 1 to 2 inches of water per week to established lawns in the absence of rain. It’s best to deliver the water once or twice per week with at least 1 inch each time. Frequent, shallow watering results in shallow roots.
- Determine how much water is being delivered by placing several shallow water collectors, such as tuna cans, around the landscape to check both coverage and inches-per-hour output.
- Consider soil type. Soils with high clay content need several short, back-to-back cycles for water to penetrate, but hold water longer. Sandy soils need more frequent and shorter-cycle applications because moisture isn’t retained long.
- Locate plants with similar water needs together to prevent over- or underwatering.
- Irrigate newly planted trees every 7 to 10 days in the absence of rain by letting a hose trickle for about a half hour near the trunk. Newly planted shrubs can be watered with soaker hoses or sprinklers.
- Check container plants frequently for dry soil. Watering every day, or even twice a day, may be necessary. Factors include temperature, pot size and material, type of potting mix, drought tolerance of a plant and whether a plant is in sun or shade.
We have had an unusually high number of customers asking about wasp control, so this must be a banner year for the stinging insects. We recommend Fertilome Wasp and Hornet Killer and Bengal Wasp and Hornet Killer.
Here are some tips to keep you safe:
- Treat the nests at night when there is less chance of being stung.
- Cover all exposed skin and tuck your shirt into your pants and your pants into your socks.
- If you are using a flashlight, cover the lens with red cellophane because wasps are attracted to yellow light.
- Plan an escape route -- just in case.
However, if the nest location is isolated, you might choose to leave them alone. Wasps are considered a beneficial insect, preying on caterpillars and flies, so it they don't present a hazard, it's a good idea to let Mother Nature eventually take care of the nests with freezing weather.