Saturday, November 18, 2017
Home and Garden

Ask Dr. Hort: Add color to your landscape with a rotation of annuals

RECOMMENDED READING


Plan a rotation for colorful annuals

Q: Can you recommend the best annuals for a sunny flower bed for each of the seasons (spring, summer, fall and winter) here in Palm Harbor? I had good luck with Vinca one year, but they have developed root fungus the last two times I planted them. I would really appreciate your best choices. Chris Littrell, Palm Harbor

A: The sky is the limit when adding color to your plant beds, so I'll refer you to a great publication, "Gardening With Annuals In Florida" at edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg319.

It discusses everything from preparing the beds, how to fertilize, prune, dead head, irrigate, control pests, but best of all it gives you a planting date and take-out date for each selection. If you don't feel industrious, you may only want one takeout: caladiums (April-November) and petunias (November-April).

To add a little pizazz, try a three-plant rotation: salvia (March-June), wax begonia (June-November) and snapdragons (November-March).

If you're feeling spunky, really go wild starting off with angelonia (March-May), marigolds (June-August), New Guinea impatiens (September-November) and calibrachoa (December-February)

The three examples only show one-plant per rotation, however, you can go Disney and use two, three or four plants for each rotation based on height and size and absolutely electrify your front yard. With a little planning, your plant beds will be the envy of your neighborhood, a whole lot more attractive than boring grass.

Basket grass takes over the neighborhood

Q: We have a weed that is growing all over our property and the adjoining neighbors' properties. It has long pointy leaves and gets to a height of about 12 inches. It spreads quickly as a vine and chokes out everthing else including grass. The only thing that seams to kill it is Round-up, but that also kills everything else. Is there anyway to control or eliminate this plant? Louis Di Girolomo, Valrico

A: You have a groundcover version of Kudzu. You have been invaded by basket grass, Oplismenus setarious, which makes a great shady ground cover until it escapes and grows as mat covering everything in sight.

To selectively control the grass while not killing your ornamentals, you need to use a selective herbicide containing fluazifop such as Greenlight Bermudagrass Killer, Ortho Grass-B-Gon or Bayer Bermudagrass Killer. For extreme problems, Fusilade II is a commercial product that contains a much higher percentage of the active ingredient and can be purchased at John Deere Landscapes. Be sure to follow label directions carefully for rates so you don't kill your ornamentals.

Pretty shape, stinky fungus

Q: While mowing the grass yesterday I saw this beautiful, intricate formation. It was about 3 inches by 5 inches in size with dark worms inside. It disintegrated into a puddle by this morning. Do you know what it was? Blanche Tuxhorn

A: The little alien that you have pictured that you found while mowing is called a "stink horn" fungus, which causes no harm. The fungus starts out as an egglike structure, commonly in mulch or other organic base with most of the structure underground. When enough moisture is present it ruptures, exposing the mushroom (fruiting body), which takes on one of three basic shapes, stalklike, globular or latticed, such as the one that you found, commonly pinkish to orange in Florida. They can smell pretty bad, like rotting meat, which attracts flies, which explains the worms that you saw inside, most likely maggots (the larval stage of flies).

Comments
Why ‘Justice League’ nearly gets it right but still has DC movie problems

Why ‘Justice League’ nearly gets it right but still has DC movie problems

How many superheroes does it take to salvage a comic book universe?Six. Five doing the heavy lifting and the Flash, who’s the lowercase joker DC’s too-serious superhero franchise needs.Justice League assembles two overdone caped/cowled icons, a fresh...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Hometown Hernando for Nov. 17

Hometown Hernando for Nov. 17

Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/17/17
What’s new in theaters this week: ‘Justice League,’ ‘Wonder,’ ‘The Star’

What’s new in theaters this week: ‘Justice League,’ ‘Wonder,’ ‘The Star’

OPENING FRIDAY:JUSTICE LEAGUEHow many superheroes does it take to salvage a comic book universe?Six. Five doing the heavy lifting and the Flash, who’s the lowercase joker DC’s too-serious superhero franchise needs.Justice League assembles two overdon...
Published: 11/15/17
Five cool things to see in ‘Star Wars and the Power of Costume’ in St. Petersburg

Five cool things to see in ‘Star Wars and the Power of Costume’ in St. Petersburg

Do you sense a disturbance in the Force?That would probably be the landing of "Star Wars and the Power of Costume" at the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, earlier this week. I got a preview of the blockbuster Smithsonian exhibit (docked in our co...
Published: 11/15/17
Timely Tendings: Use the least toxic option when controlling vegetable pests

Timely Tendings: Use the least toxic option when controlling vegetable pests

Control pests on vegetable plants using least toxic methods Scout your vegetable garden regularly for insect pests. Be sure to look for beneficial insects like lady bugs, green lacewings, and minute pirate bugs. These will help control common pests l...
Published: 11/11/17
Updated: 11/14/17
Disney announces new Star Wars trilogy and TV show as well as ESPN streaming service

Disney announces new Star Wars trilogy and TV show as well as ESPN streaming service

Disney is doubling down on "Star Wars." On a conference call with analysts Thursday, CEO Bob Iger said that the company is planning a brand-new "Star Wars" trilogy as well as a "Star Wars" series for its Disney streaming service coming in 2019. "Star...
Published: 11/09/17
What’s new in theaters: ‘Murder on the Orient Express,’ ‘Daddy’s Home 2’

What’s new in theaters: ‘Murder on the Orient Express,’ ‘Daddy’s Home 2’

OPENING FRIDAY:MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESSAgatha Christie’s signature mystery Murder on the Orient Express gets a classy remake 43 years after Ingrid Bergman won her third Oscar as one of a dozen unusual suspects.Kenneth Branagh and an impressive fa...
Published: 11/08/17
Updated: 11/14/17
A peek at the Star Wars costumes coming to St. Petersburg with ‘Star Wars and the Power of Costume’

A peek at the Star Wars costumes coming to St. Petersburg with ‘Star Wars and the Power of Costume’

A galaxy far, far away just got a lot closer. More than 60 hand-crafted costumes from the Star Wars saga landed this week as part of the Smithsonian traveling exhibit "Star Wars and the Power of Costume," docked at the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Peter...
Published: 11/08/17
Updated: 11/13/17
Hometown Hernando for Nov. 10

Hometown Hernando for Nov. 10

We want your news!Hometown Hernando is devoted to everyday life in our county, whether it’s snapshots from your family reunion, recreational sporting event, news from your last club meeting or just a few lines thanking someone for a job well done. Yo...
Published: 11/08/17
Updated: 11/09/17
Who killed all the fun in ‘Murder on the Orient Express’?

Who killed all the fun in ‘Murder on the Orient Express’?

Kenneth Branagh’s somnambulant remake of Murder on the Orient Express is a murder mystery Agatha Christie never intended: Who killed her diabolical fun?The answer is right under our noses, like the cake frosting mustache under his. Branagh’s portraya...
Published: 11/08/17