Friday, August 2, 2013

Pender Gardener Blog No Longer Updated

I will no longer be updating the Pender Gardener blog. Instead, all new posts can be found on the Pender Cooperative Extension website

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Friday, May 31, 2013

Why Are My Squash Rotting?

Blossom end rot on squash fruits.
Are the lower ends of your squash turning brown and failing to develop properly? 

These are the symptoms of a common disorder known as blossom end rot. Recent low nighttime temperatures likely triggered the blossom end rot we are seeing now. Fruits that show blossom end rot will not develop properly and should be removed from the plant. 

Several other common soil and weather conditions can cause this disorder, all of which must be managed to prevent blossom end rot from developing at anytime during the harvest season. To learn more read the whole article posted on the Pender Extension website:

Thursday, May 23, 2013

What Is Killing My Grass?

Ground Pearl
The most lethal pest of lawn grasses in our area is also one of the least well known. Called ground pearl or pearl bugs, these insects can be found damaging lawns throughout coastal North Carolina. 

In yards infested with ground pearl it is often impossible to maintain a healthy lawn since there are no effective treatments for this pest. Managing lawns infested with ground pearl instead relies on redesigning landscape beds to minimize turf areas, choosing turf grasses that better tolerate ground pearl, and encouraging vigorous turf growth. Learn more:

For more information about lawn care, ground pearl and other lawn problems, visit the NC Cooperative Extension TurfFiles website,

Friday, May 17, 2013

How Do I Treat Whitefly On Gardenia?

Almost every yard in the south has at least one gardenia. Planted by generations of gardeners for their exotically fragrant white blossoms, these tough evergreen shrubs are salt tolerant, drought tolerant, and deer resistant. One thing they cannot resist is the tiny whitefly. These petite pests cause gardenia leaves to turn yellow and drop from spring through fall.  Plants may also appear dark or sooty. If this describes the gardenia in your yard, you should check it now for whitefly and determine if treatment is needed.

On some bushes, whiteflies never seem to get out of hand. This is because their populations are kept in check by beneficial insects, including ladybugs, lacewings, and parasitic wasps. If you find whitefly on your gardenia but it is otherwise healthy with lots of clean, green leaves, you probably do not need to treat. In fact, applying pesticides can disrupt the balance between beneficial and pest insects, causing the pest insects to become the dominant species.If treatment is needed, options for controlling whitefly include applying organic and synthetic insecticides. Learn more:

Why Are My Tomatoes Dying?

TSWV Symptoms
Since the mid 90’s, tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) has become one of the most serious diseases of tomatoes in our area. Infections of TSWV in our region usually first appear in May and peak in June. Always deadly, there is no way to treat TSWV and infected plants should be pulled up and discarded.

Tomato plants infected with TSWV may at first appear stunted and pale. Upon close inspection, you may notice unusual markings on the leaves. Sometimes these marking look like brown or black spots, other times they look like tattooed lines or circles. Spots may or may not be surrounded by yellow leaf tissue. The leaves of infected plants may curl inward, while the veins may turn purple, and plants often take on a bronze color. Usually these symptoms show up in the top leaves of the plant first, while most other tomato diseases show up on the lower leaves first. As the disease progresses, infected plants wilt and die, usually within a week of the first symptoms appearing.  Learn more:

Monday, May 13, 2013

What Is Wrong With My River Birch?

River birch leaves crinkled and discolored by aphid feeding.
If the leaves on your river birch look like this, do not be alarmed. This distortion and discoloration is caused by a species of aphid that only feeds on river birch and witch hazel. No treatment is necessary -- the damage is temporary and not harmful to the plant, plus the aphids will attract ladybugs and other beneficial insects to your yard!

Learn more:

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Why Is My Lawn Dying?


Large Patch Disease
You know it’s officially spring in North Carolina when there are giant patches of brown grass in bermudagrass, centipedegrass, St. Augustinegrass, and zoysiagrass. These giant patches of brown grass are better known as large patch, caused by the fungus Rhizoctonia solani, and if you’ve ever had an outbreak of this disease, you now know why the disease was coined large patch.

What you may not know is what your control options are this time of year. To find out, read the whole article posted on the Pender Extension website: