Nursery owner

Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner.

The past few months have been very cloudy, with times of light rain. Temperatures have certainly stayed cooler than most of us care for.

The lack of sunshine is the one thing that really seems to be bothering gardeners the most. Of course, we all know eventually the clouds will break away and the sun will shine again. Until then, we need to go on gardening – preparing our gardens, clearing out weeds, fertilizing, planting and watering.

This may be a short spring, with summer here before we know it, or want it. Planting now before summer temperatures arrive will be easier on the plants and those planting.

Keep a close eye for fungal problems. Damp, cloudy conditions are a prime environment for fungus to flourish. Whole ground cornmeal used as a preventative on lawns, vegetable beds and flower beds will help prevent fungus problems from starting. This is also a good time to put out corn gluten meal to prevent future weed problems anywhere in your landscape.

The time is also here to prevent worm problems in your landscape. Whether in your oaks, ash, mulberries, mountain- laurels, pecan trees, vegetable gardens or flowerbeds, Trichogramma wasp will easily prevent worms from ever being a problem.

Upon release, these almost microscopic wasps will immediately go to work, eliminating recently-laid moth eggs. Moth eggs hatch into the worms that cause gardeners so much trouble. Trichogramma wasps do not sting and are harmless to humans, plants or animals.

Trichogramma wasps can be found naturally all over the U.S. but usually not in high enough numbers to really be effective to suppress worm populations that we experience every year. We help nature by releasing an adequate number of these tiny helpers; then we never see worms at all.

As with all beneficial insects, best results occur when released at the proper time. When moths are noticed in the vicinity of your trees or gardens or at first sight of a worm, then is the time to call in more Trichogramma wasps.

Until next time, let’s try to garden with nature, not against it, and maybe all our weeds will become wildflowers.

Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner. Send your gardening questions to laurie@vicad.com or in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.

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