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The Garden Club: Answering More of Your Questions

You asked. We researched. We answered.

Once again, I have collected a number of questions that have been emailed to me about gardening topics.  I compiled the questions and searched out the answers, with most information coming from local nurseries or the Missouri Garden Extension.

Should I prune my tomato plants? Some are close to four feet tall.

Pruning tomato plants is an optional activity for gardeners. There are two key elements when deciding whether to prune.

The first is to determine if the plant is too tall to support tomatoes growing on the upper branches of the plant. This is a potential issue if the tomato plant is not staked or in a tomato cage.

It is also important not to cut off so many leaves that the fruit is left completely exposed to the sun. The tomato, while requiring sunlight, also requires a bit of protection offered by the upper leaves of the tomato plant.

Is it safe to divide my iris plants now or should I wait until fall?

Now is the time to divide bearded iris plants. Dividing iris is much like . Working carefully, remove clumps from the soil. Rinse off any soil clinging to the rhizomes. Separate gently then replant. As with other rhizomes and bulbs, it is fine to cut off foliage to make the job easier.

I didn’t see any grubs in the soil when you said they would be present. Now they are here. Is it too late to apply grub killer?

According to experts at the Missouri Botanical Gardens, grubs are still present in some areas around St. Peters. Apply grub killer will not harm the lawn at this point. However, if you fertilized along with your grub killer less than six weeks ago, be certain that any additional insect prevention does not contain fertilizer. This could burn the lawn.

My neighbor waters her grass mid-day. She says it cools it off. I was always under the assumption that early morning watering is the best.

Watering your lawn in the early morning is best, as there is less chance for evaporation (and water waste), plus it gives the lawn a chance to dry out before nightfall, thus reducing the chances of disease. The Missouri Garden Extension suggests watering two to three times a week during the hot summer months. 

Is it too late to fertilize my roses?                                   

Roses can be safely fertilized with a nitrogen rich fertilizer up until the second week in August.

Can I prune my ornamental shrubs now?

Pruning of less than 10% of the bush or shrub can be done at any time of the year. Pruning any more than that during late July will leave any new growth susceptible to frost damage. It is best to perform any major pruning of more than 10% in the early spring, unless the bush or shrub is a spring flowering variety.

Where do you get your information for The Garden Club?

I use several resources, including the Missouri Garden Extension and The Kemper Center for Home Gardening. I find the Kemper Center to be a very helpful resource. Find their contact information here

How do I get my garden showcased in The Garden Club?

Send me an email and we will chat! I would love to highlight beautiful yards, gardens and vegtable patches in the area.

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