Daylilies forum: Spring start up of daylily garden

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Name: Doris&David Bishop
Cartersville, Ga. (Zone 7b)
Daylilies Cat Lover Clematis Region: Georgia Garden Art
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Casshigh
Feb 4, 2010 5:54 PM CST
I have been asked to write a column for a new daylily newsletter about the monthly jobs in the daylily garden. The first one will cover the months of March, April, and May. We live in Zone 7. Our peak bloom is mid June. What do you do in your garden the 3 months prior to bloom?

Doris
"Anything worth doing is worth overdoing"~~~David Bishop
http://daylilyfans.com/bishop/
Name: Juli
(Zone 5b)
Region: United States of America Charter ATP Member Cottage Gardener Daylilies Garden Photography Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Birds Hummingbirder Butterflies Dog Lover Cat Lover Garden Ideas: Master Level
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daylily
Feb 8, 2010 6:47 AM CST
Doris - about spring start up.... hmmm...
One thing I do is make sure all my tags are in place, and if I need to order any, I do it then. I used the AAA engraved tags.

I try to get a bit of fertilizer down. A tablespoon or two, depending on plant size of Scott's Lawn Fertilizer - be sure not to get the one with weed killer. John Rice told me about it years ago - said it is just like using osmocoat but WAY less expensive. I don't add fertilizer every year, but I do try to add a handful of alfalfa pellets scattered around each plant.

I move any plants that need moved that didn't get done in fall.

A month or so before bloom, I foliar feed with Miracle Grow. I start with a fungicide then too... and now am adding Messenger to the mix. I don't spray for rust - but the fungicides help with leaf spot, leaf streak etc. I think the Messenger helps with that too.

Then I stand back and wait for the show to begin!
Name: Doris&David Bishop
Cartersville, Ga. (Zone 7b)
Daylilies Cat Lover Clematis Region: Georgia Garden Art
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Casshigh
Feb 8, 2010 8:09 AM CST
Jules, do you mix the fungicide with the Miracle Grow when you spray? What fungicide do you use? I bought Messenger last year from a coop and never used it. Thanks for the reminder. I will use it this spring. We had talked about doing a test here--doing a foliar spray w/ Miracle Grow on a section of daylilies to see if it made a difference. We think it would even with the other fertilizers we use. There is SO much we want to do, but there is SO much to do that we can't get around to everything. Using the Scott's Lawn Fertilizer (w/o weed killer) is a tip that I will pass on. I want to stress in my "To Do Calendar" that any fertilizing will be better than none. For years we did not fertilize our daylilies. When we did start, we used a general all purpose 10-10-10. Since we have become serious daylily growers (knocking on 2000 cultivars), we have become more interested in fertilizing and now need to add insect and fungicide spraying. One could spend a small fortune on all this. Each person has to decide how much they want to do and how much they are willing to spend. I want to present the information and let them decide what is best for them. Thank you for taking the time to respond to my request. I am brainstorming on what I do and am afraid I will forget something that is very obvious.

BTW, I won Jerry Hyatt on the Lily Auction last night. I have always liked it. The price has come down some, and seeing your Avatar everyday was too much to pass up! Thanks for all you are doing on this site. It is great!

Doris
"Anything worth doing is worth overdoing"~~~David Bishop
http://daylilyfans.com/bishop/
Name: Juli
(Zone 5b)
Region: United States of America Charter ATP Member Cottage Gardener Daylilies Garden Photography Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Birds Hummingbirder Butterflies Dog Lover Cat Lover Garden Ideas: Master Level
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daylily
Feb 8, 2010 8:20 AM CST
My avatar is a good photo of Jerry Hyatt. It was the first time I ever saw it bloom, in Curt's seedling field. Curt ended up using my photo in his catalog. It takes it a couple years to settle in, 3 to show good branching.

The Spray/fertilize progam I have done comes from info from John Rice, who is a horticulturalist, not just a daylily grower- and Pat Henley, who used to be my state inspector. She lives just a handful of miles from me. I am lucky to have her so close! I never sprayed or fertilized until I started selling years ago, and Pat would give me advice.

I used to use Orthinex as a spray, but have trouble finding it anymore. I have a few cans of the powdered Maconazeb that I am using up, so I alternate that with Funginex.

I don't sell anymore, I have very few visitors, but I got used to seeing the plants looking better when I used to spray when I had open gardens.

I usually do two different sprays. Miracle Grow - I use the ones for lawns on my daylilies - and Messenger together. I only use the foliar Miracle Grow for two sprays right before bloom... It tends to green up the foliage nicely.... however, I start with the Messenger before scapes are up.

Then I will do the fungicide in a different spray, a few days later.
Name: Davi (Judy) Davisson
Sherrills Ford, NC (Zone 7a)
Davi
Feb 8, 2010 9:54 AM CST
Before the daylilies get so high that I can't work around them, I clean up the beds and then put alfalfa meal around the daylilies. I work the alfalfa into the soil a little and then cover the beds with a fresh mulch of pine bark so that the alfalfa doesn't attract "critters".

Then in early April, I spray the garden with a systemic insecticide, which will take care of aphids, which always make an appearance around then. Hopefully the timing will be right to take care of the leaf miners that are making the rounds in the Carolinas as well. They are responsible for those "trails" that you see between the leaves. Larvae have hatched and are tunneling their way out. I also keep an eye out for signs of leaf streak if the weather is particularly wet and cold. If leaf streak is starting, I will spray with a fungicide like Daconil. I have a state inspected and licensed nursery, even though I don't run a commercial business, so I am obligated to keep my garden healthy in order to ship plants across state lines. I find that if you take care of your insect and disease problems first thing in the spring, you probably won't have to do much else for the rest of the summer.

Judy
Name: Juli
(Zone 5b)
Region: United States of America Charter ATP Member Cottage Gardener Daylilies Garden Photography Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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daylily
Feb 8, 2010 10:00 AM CST
Judy, I forgot that I have used Daconil. I couldn't find it last year.

I detest thrip. I have a lot of dark colored daylilies and thrip have a ball in there eating all the color off. It is one of the main reasons I spray systemic insecticide. Orthenex used to do a good job, but need to find something new.

What insecticide do you use?
Name: Davi (Judy) Davisson
Sherrills Ford, NC (Zone 7a)
Davi
Feb 8, 2010 2:53 PM CST
Julie

I have a hard time finding Orthonex as well, so I often go with straight Orthene which is the insecticide half of the Orthonex blend anyway if I just need to spray for bugs. Orthene is pretty harsh so I save that solution for major outbreaks of aphids and try to go with something more organic for light infestations. If I need both a systemic insecticide and a fungicide at the same time, Lowes sells one that just says "Systemic insect and disease control" on the label that works pretty good.

Alfalfa pellets, because they are formed for animal feed have several disadvantages. First of all, they may contain "fillers" including salt and other things that aren't beneficial to plants. Alfalfa itself contains a chemical that is a plant stimulant.....that why I particularly like to use it in seedling beds because it pushes the plants into rapid growth and increase. The heat process that makes alfalfa into pellets destroys this chemical. You will still have the nitrogen left in the pellets so they still have a use in feeding your plants nitrogen during a time that plants need a lot of nitrogen.....they will just lose a little of their edge in promoting increase that you would get with meal. A third downside of pellets is that they generate "heat" as they decompose. Many people in the north use alfalfa for late fall plantings for that reason alone.....pellets keep the ground warm a little longer to give plants time to develop roots before the ground freezes solid. But heat up next to daylily crowns or right under daylily crowns can generate so much heat that they rot your crowns, particularly if you use them during hot weather. So you need to be very careful when mixing pellets into the soil that they are mixed into the soil around the perimeter of the plant (where the feeder roots are) and not right next to the crown. I don't like pellets on top of the soil because they take longer to decompose....and they become a magnet from "critters". Skunks love em, so do rabbits. So I use the meal, water it in the same day, and cover with the mulch all in the same day to avoid the critter problem. If all you can get is pellets, just make sure you check for other ingredients, especially salt and pick the smallest pellets, not the largest that you can find. The largest ones generate way too much heat and can kill your roots.
Name: Juli
(Zone 5b)
Region: United States of America Charter ATP Member Cottage Gardener Daylilies Garden Photography Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Birds Hummingbirder Butterflies Dog Lover Cat Lover Garden Ideas: Master Level
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daylily
Feb 8, 2010 2:58 PM CST
Judy - I have used pellets for many years as a soil amendment, and never knew about using meal instead, or why. I was aware of the heat issue, so was careful what time of year I applied.

THANK YOU so much!
Name: Doris&David Bishop
Cartersville, Ga. (Zone 7b)
Daylilies Cat Lover Clematis Region: Georgia Garden Art
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Casshigh
Feb 8, 2010 3:15 PM CST
Here is some information that I copied and pasted from the Daylily Forum on DG about the use of alfalfa. Somewhere in all my reading online the past few days, someone said that the pellets are better than the meal for daylilies. I do not remember what the reason was. If I run across it again, I'll let you know. I have read so much. I bookmarked several sites so it maybe on one of them. This was daylilies and not other flowers. We have only used the pellets here, and we used it for the first time last May when we first read about it. We just sprinkled the pellets around the plants on top of the mulch. It was not very attractive because it took awhile for the alfalfa to dissolve and go away. We had a very dry summer at our house and I did not water alot. I also used it this past fall when I planted new daylilies. My plans are to do what Judy does. Once I get the old dead foliage of the daylilies cleaned out, I will then put out all the fertilizers including the alfalfa pellets. I won't work it into the soil which would be the best thing to do, because we have such a vast area of daylililes. Then I will put down the new mulch. I plan to start cleaning out around the daylilies this month if the weather will cooperate. Once the temperatures moderate in March here, the daylily foliage really starts growing. It's so much easier to do all this if I can get it done before the foliage starts growing. Maybe someone else will comment on pellets vs. meal. I hope that I have time to make alfalfa tea during the summer and apply it to the roses and daylilies. I think I will put the alfalfa around the roses, too. We get our alfalfa from the Tractor Supply Store on Hwy. 411 between Hwy 41 and I-75. I think it was about $15 for a 50 lb bag. Taylor's Farm Supply and Ladd's Farm Supply probably have it and would be closer for you.

From this website: http://www.rdrop.com/~paul/organics.html
ALFALFA MEAL (3N-lP-2K)

Alfalfa meal or pellets is one of the green manure crops and contains small amounts of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium which feed the plant. However, the biggest benefit of alfalfa is from the work it does in the soil. Alfalfa contains the hormone, Triacontanol, a plant growth regulator. Alfalfa meal can be top dressed and watered in. But quicker benefits are had when alfalfa is brewed into a tea. The primary boost comes from the millions of microbes in the fermented meal that activate the soil organisms that then convert nutrients into forms available to plants. Roses love it. Only apply alfalfa to the surface. If placed in the root zone, the rapid decomposition of alfalfa will generate heat which can damage the roots.

Another website: http://www.basic-info-4-organic-fertilizers.com/alfalfameal...

1. Made from alfalfa(If placed in the root zone, the rapid decomposition of alfalfa will generate heat which can damage roots.)

2. Slow acting all purpose fertilizer

3. An alternative to blood meal as a source of nitrogen, balanced with phophorus and potassium.

4. An excellent soil conditioner because of it's protein and carbohydrates that encourage microbial action in soil.

5. Ranges of N 2.0-2.5%, P .5-1.0%, K 1%

6. Has an excellent carbon to nitrogen ratio which helps speeds availability in the soil to plants.

7. Roses react to alfalfa meal especially well, also flowering shrubs

8. Application to plants are: half a cup per plant for new plantings; 1/2 to 1 cup to a depth of 4-6 inches deep around each plant; vegetables and flower beds need 2 to 5 pounds to 100 square feet.

9. Is used as a compost starter

From Daves Garden:
Alfalfa Meal

Alfalfa provides many nutritional benefits not only for plant use, but for soil organisms as well. One very important ingredient is tricontanol, a powerful plant growth regulator.

Orchid and rose growers make an alfalfa tea and spray it directly on as a foliar fertilizer. Alfalfa is very high in vitamins, plus N-P-K-Ca, Mg, and other valuable minerals. It also includes sugars, starches, proteins, fiber and 16 amino acids. Approximate analysis is 3-1-2.

Sprinkle lightly over garden and water, or use about a handful (depending on the size) around each rose, tree, or shrub. Alfalfa meal and hay used for mulch contain vitamin A, folic acid, trace minerals and the growth hormone “tricontanol.” Use at 25 pounds per 1,000 square feet or 400-800 pounds per acre.

Alfalfa helps plants create larger flowers and increases the tolerance to cold. Make alfalfa tea by soaking 1 cup of alfalfa meal per 5 gallon of water.

Good for all flowering plants. Research has shown that using more is not better. At recommended rates alfalfa worked wonders on roses but it could be overused causing adverse effects.
"Anything worth doing is worth overdoing"~~~David Bishop
http://daylilyfans.com/bishop/
[Last edited by daylily - May 27, 2013 8:25 PM (+)]
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Name: Davi (Judy) Davisson
Sherrills Ford, NC (Zone 7a)
Davi
Feb 8, 2010 3:39 PM CST
Thanks for providing the name of the plant growth stimulant/hormone that is in alfalfa: Triacontonal or Tricontanol.....I'm not sure of the spelling either. That is what is destroyed by the heat process used in forming raw alfalfa into pellets. I give my newly planted seedlings a big boost by mixing a bag of alfalfa meal and a bag a greensand into the soil before planting my little seedlings that are started in the house. The Triacontonal promotes rapid growth and increase in seedlings....gets them off to a fast start. The greensand provides many micronutrients and potash for fast root development, too.

Judy
Name: Doris&David Bishop
Cartersville, Ga. (Zone 7b)
Daylilies Cat Lover Clematis Region: Georgia Garden Art
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Casshigh
Feb 8, 2010 3:59 PM CST
Judy, Thanks for telling about the greensand. I'll be on the lookout for that. What do you think if I made some alfalfa tea and poured a little of it around the seedlings that I have inside (seeds planted in Oct-Dec). I have been meaning to fertilize the ones that have gotten a foot or so tall. (I have given them a haircut.) I have been meaning to give them some liquid fertilizer but have not gotten around to it.

Also, I am inclined to go along with you about the meal vs. pellets. It was our reasoning last year that meal would break down sooner than the pellets, but all we could find at that time were the pellets. And, the negative about using meal vs. pellets may have been that the meal will be leeched out of the soil faster than the pellets. Personally, I don't think we can go wrong either way.

Doris
"Anything worth doing is worth overdoing"~~~David Bishop
http://daylilyfans.com/bishop/
Name: Davi (Judy) Davisson
Sherrills Ford, NC (Zone 7a)
Davi
Feb 8, 2010 4:13 PM CST
It's a matter of personal preference, Doris. I've never brewed the teas because there are other liquid fertilizers that also promote rapid root development that you can use on seedlings that are still inside the house. Some of the transplant solutions like Upstart are easy to use. I start feeding a dilute mixture of transplant solution about a month before actually transplanting so that the roots are growing like gangbusters at transplant time. Alfalfa meal is difficult to work with because it is "dusty" and can cause health problems if it is inhaled into your lungs.
Name: Doris&David Bishop
Cartersville, Ga. (Zone 7b)
Daylilies Cat Lover Clematis Region: Georgia Garden Art
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Casshigh
Feb 8, 2010 4:47 PM CST
What I used last winter was Schultz Plant Food which is a powder that I mixed with water. I still have a large container of it. If I used alfalfa, I would use the pellets because that is what we have on hand. I would let it brew overnight in water. The Schultz Plant Food will be a lot less trouble, especially in cold weather.

That is a good point that you have made about the alfalfa meal being unhealthy if inhaled. We all need to read about the insecticides, fertizers, etc. that we use and be sure to use masks and gloves if unhealthy when applied. I remember years ago that each time I put out Sevin dust, I got a headache. I have not used the dust in a long time. I do not want to destroy the good insects that help us destroy the bad ones or the bees and butterflies that fly from plant to plant. I've gotten off topic...

Doris
"Anything worth doing is worth overdoing"~~~David Bishop
http://daylilyfans.com/bishop/
Name: Juli
(Zone 5b)
Region: United States of America Charter ATP Member Cottage Gardener Daylilies Garden Photography Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Birds Hummingbirder Butterflies Dog Lover Cat Lover Garden Ideas: Master Level
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daylily
Feb 8, 2010 4:51 PM CST
I'd like to interject something about my use of Messenger.

on the AHS Robin, the folks seem to think Messenger is a waste of money on daylilies.

I went to the same gardens, bought plants from the same people as two daylily friends that live very close to me. One seller told me that they had an outbreak of rust 2 weeks after we all bought plants there.

The other two gardens did get rust.... mine did not.

I also think that seed set on stubborn plants was a bit better.

I definitely saw a difference using Messenger on my potted geraniums, etc.

I tried it on beebalm to see if it would help mildew, but didn't see much difference.
Name: Doris&David Bishop
Cartersville, Ga. (Zone 7b)
Daylilies Cat Lover Clematis Region: Georgia Garden Art
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Casshigh
Feb 8, 2010 5:19 PM CST
Jules, this is why we need sites such as this one. We can learn so much from each other by sharing our experiences. Daylily people are among the BEST!
"Anything worth doing is worth overdoing"~~~David Bishop
http://daylilyfans.com/bishop/
Name: Don Morris
Burns, Tennessee
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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lilypatch
Feb 23, 2010 2:32 PM CST
I found green sand at a local nursery several years ago. It was sold in a burlap bag, apparently aquired by the retailer from an individual "just passing through". I would love to find that person as it was great stuff. I don't know much else about green sand. Is it available commercially and is there a standard mix or does it vary geographically maybe or by supplier?
Name: Davi (Judy) Davisson
Sherrills Ford, NC (Zone 7a)
Davi
Feb 24, 2010 3:49 PM CST
When I lived in Michigan I bought greensand at a bulk animal feed store that also carried organic gardening supplies. Greensand is very popular with people who grow hosta because it is wonderful for root development in tissue cultured hosta and promotes increase. It was a hosta person who recommended I try it on daylilies for rapid root development in the seedling stage. If you mail out daylilies, you have to watch that you don't overdo with it or your root systems will get too big for your boxes and it will cost you a fortune in postage! But I like that it is a long lasting organic product. It lasts about 3 years in the soil.

I couldn't find greensand anywhere once I moved to North Carolina, but Ace is the place with the helpful hardware man (!) so I found an ACE Tru Value Hardware store that carries animal and gardening supplies and they special order it for me. What I get is an Espoma product that comes in a 35 pound bag so you should be able to get it from any place that carries Espoma products. The smaller 4 or 5 pound bags are really expensive and it saves a lot of money buying the large bag. Espoma makes very popular gardening products so you should be able to find where they sell their products. Here is a link to the Espoma website. You can do a search to find a dealer near you. http://www.espoma.com/p_consumer/products_overview.html and also look up the benefits of greensand at that site.

Judy
Name: Juli
(Zone 5b)
Region: United States of America Charter ATP Member Cottage Gardener Daylilies Garden Photography Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Birds Hummingbirder Butterflies Dog Lover Cat Lover Garden Ideas: Master Level
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daylily
Mar 1, 2010 7:02 AM CST
We still have at least a foot of snow over the flower beds.

I usually wait until the plants are starting to come up to put out fertilizer. I am wondering if I could put it out while we still have snow, and the snow melt would take the fertilizer into the mulch. When I wait until the plant is up, it is very difficult for me to get the fertilizer around the plant without any of it going into the middle of the fan. Then, when the plant grows out, there are often little burn spots in the foliage.

I have not put out "fertilizer" in probably 3 years, so it is probably time. I use the Scott's Lawn Fertilizer without weed killer. John Rice told me it is very similar to using Nutricoat - or was it Osmocoat? I always get those confused. Anyway, it's a fraction of the price. I get it in large bags - maybe 25 lbs. and it lasts me for years. I have some of it, but no alfalfa. With me not working now, I need to use what I have on hand. Last year I bought 40 pkts of Messenger in the DG co-op, so that will be enough to last for years also. I think I will start spraying it earlier in the year this year. Last year I waited till I saw scapes coming up.

[Last edited by daylily - May 27, 2013 7:14 PM (+)]
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