Brighten the interior with fresh cut flowers

Brighten the interior with fresh cut flowers

If you want to maximize the size of your dahlias, keep the main stems free of side buds, resulting in just one flower per stem.
Courtesy of Chicago Botanical Garden

This is a good time to cut some outdoor flowers for indoor display. It is best to cut the flowers during the cool part of the day and put them in water as soon as possible.

Remove any foliage that will be under water in the vase. Keep your arrangements in a cool room away from direct sunlight. Adding a preservative to the water can extend the life of your flowers.

It is very important to make a fresh cut on the stems and immediately put them in the water.

• If you want to maximize the size of your dahlia flowers, keep the main stems free of side buds, allowing only the terminal bud to develop, resulting in one flower per stem. This will be most effective when growing large, dinner plate-sized varieties.

Large dahlias will need some support to prevent wind damage and broken stems due to the weight of the flowers.

• Caterpillars can be a problem in lawns in some years. Adult beetles will be attracted to irrigated lawns surrounded by dry meadows to lay their eggs in early summer. If it is a dry season and you are the only person watering the lawn on the block, you will have a greater chance of getting grubs.

Your garden may or may not have a problem with grubs this year, so deciding not to implement grub control will not necessarily result in a grub infestation. Typically, when there are between 8 and 12 larvae per square foot, visible damage will occur as they feed on the grass roots. The grass will turn brown later in the season when hot, dry weather puts more stress on the grass. Raccoons and skunks will dig lawns to eat grubs – this digging is often the first sign of grubs.

Be sure to read the label carefully to ensure you are using the right caterpillar product at the right time of year. Products designed to prevent caterpillars are generally applied in late June to mid-July. There are products designed to quickly kill the grubs and are applied later in the season when the grubs reach a threshold in the lawn causing damage.

There is no need to control or automatically treat the small number of grubs that your lawn can tolerate each year. It is very important to use an insecticide designed for caterpillars at the right time of year.

• Tim Johnson is director of horticulture at the Chicago Botanic Garden, Chicagobotanic.org.

    (TagsTranslated)Lifestyle

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