Care for Annuals/Perennials - Knowledgebase Question

South Lyon, MI
Question by bowhead1
July 18, 2011
You have given me advice about other plant problems I've had and they've worked - thank you! I have a few more questions. 1) I have a Dragon Wing Begonia, which is growing but not producing very many flowers. The new leaves are dark green and shiny but then turn to a dull green and get brown on the tips. Could this be from too much sun? It gets sun from 4:00 p.m. on. 2) My fuschia is still alive but the leaves have been chewed and fallen off. I've been spraying with Bayer 3 in 1 but it doesn't seem to work on that plant. Should I prune the plant back and spray with something else? 3) Some of my Gerber Daisy and Daylily leaves have turned yellow with brown sides/tips and/or a dull green. Could this be a fungus? 4) I have 2 Miss Wilmont Potentilla plants that I love and were doing wonderful until about 2 weeks ago. The plant started producing less leaves and flowers and I noticed the plant looks chewed off in spots by an animal. I've sprayed with liquid fence for deer/rabbits but I've had chipmunks this year. Could the chipmunks do this? 5) I planted and herb/flower garden last year which was beautiful but amongst these plants are 3 Sumac trees, which destroyed half of my garden from their root system. I found out the hard way that these trees' roots are destructive. I've cut the trees down to 3 feet and have drilled holes and poured straight Round Up in the tree, however, the roots keep popping up. As the new sprouts pop up, I've been spraying Round Up on them, but they keep coming. Any ideas how to kill the roots? In advance, thank you so much for the advice!

Answer from NGA
July 18, 2011


I?m happy we?ve been able to provide assistance in the past and we?re happy to tackle your current gardening challenges. Dragon Wing begonias thrive in full shade or filtered sunshine. If your plant is getting full sun in the late afternoon, the sun might be strong enough to cause the leaves to turn dull. I?d move the plant to a fully shaded area or under another plant that can provide dappled sunlight.

I?m not sure what might be feeding on the leaves of your fuchsia, and fuchsia?s can be quite sensitive to pest control products . It might be best for your plant to prune it back to remove the damage and to encourage healthy new growth. Try rinsing the leaves and stems off with plain water on a daily basis. This will discourage insect pests, rinse away dust (and spidermites) and increase humidity around the plant. I think you?ll see a great improvement in its appearance and health within a few weeks.

The browning on your Gerbera daisy and daylily leaves can be a sign of age (clip off the oldest, most affected leaves), or might indicate sunscald. It doesn?t sound like a fungal disease, but rather an environmental problem or just a natural aging of the leaves. I?d remove the affected leaves to make the plants look more attractive and to encourage healthy new growth.

Sorry that your potentilla is looking so bad! Animals can damage plants and deterrent sprays can help, but I?ve found that a physical barrier is the best route to take. If you make cylinders out of chicken wire and place them over the damaged plants (firmly anchoring them to the ground) you?ll keep the critters from accessing the plants which will give the plants an opportunity to recover from the damage. Most raccoons, chipmunks, bunnies, etc. are creatures of habit. Once they learn they cannot get to the plant, they?ll move on. Once the plant has a few weeks to recover from the damage, you should be able to remove the wire cylinders.

Sadly, the roots of the sumac will continue to sprout until the roots run out of stored energy. As long as you cut off the sprouts as soon as they emerge (I paint the stubs with Round Up immediately after making the cuts), you?ll stop the roots? ability to collect and store energy. Eventually the roots will run out of stored energy and will die out.

Best wishes with your garden!

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