Gardening Q & A
Today’s Common Gardening Questions…Answered!
Some of the leaves on my plant are puckered and deformed, and the tips of the stems are curled. What happened, and how can I fix it?
Unfortunately the answer is usually herbicide damage. If herbicides are sprayed on a windy day, or someone isn’t careful while spraying, small amounts of herbicide can end up on the leaves of your plants. This disrupts the plant’s ability to grow normally, and the new growth comes out deformed. I’ve seen this recently on Columbines, Tomatoes, Peppers, Grape Vine, Redbud trees, and Dogwood shrubs.
In mild cases, the plant will survive and eventually resume normal growth as the chemical leaves its system. In severe cases, the plant will die. Regular watering and trimming off affected growth are the only treatments.
When applying herbicides, be sure not to spray on windy days. If applying near desirable plants, a large piece of cardboard can be used to protect then while absorbing excess chemical.
I bought a blue Hydrangea a few years ago, but last year the flowers were pink! How can I make them turn blue again?
Some species of Hydrangeas will be either pink or blue depending on the pH of the soil. In our area, Hydrangea macrophylla (Bigleaf Hydrangea), and Hydrangea serrata (Mountain Hydrangea) are the species that will do this. These will include the Endless Summer®, Twist-and-Shout, Bloomstruck, Paris, and Mars varieties.
Because most of us have alkaline soils, the Hydrangea flowers will turn pink. To make them turn blue again, add a Soil Acidifier containing sulfur to the soil around the plants in the spring, well ahead of blooming. Lowering the pH allows the plants to take up Aluminum into the flowers, which turns them blue.
Panicle, Annabelle-types, Oakleaf, and Climbing Hydrangea are not affected by pH, so don’t expect them to ever turn blue!
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The Bruce Company Garden Center
2830 Parmenter Street, Middleton, WI 53562