Daylilies forum: Short scapes?

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South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
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Polymerous
May 13, 2016 8:57 PM CST
Can someone please refresh me on the reasons for getting short scapes? I seem to recall (perhaps incorrectly) the reason being a deficiency of some sort, but I don't know what element(s), and if the timing of the deficiency has anything to do with it.

Also, can things other than nutritional deficiencies cause short scapes? A relative lack of water? Temperature swings or cold nights during bud set?

A couple of years ago I planted out 'Ballerina on Ice' and 'Arctic Lace', which were previously in pots that had a fair amount of shade, into the garden. (Their garden location is as close to full sun as I can manage here.) The scapes have been stunted ever since. (I've also had other cultivars not produce scapes to their registered height, whether in shady pots or in a sunnier garden location.)

This is driving me mad, and I'd like to fix it. Grumbling
The current avatar image is that of a volunteer daylily seedling showing cristation.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
May 14, 2016 4:46 AM CST
In the AHS 2002 Handbook there are some nutritional tests detailed and they did look at scapes. I would have to look at the book to jog my memory of what was said - it's not handy right now.

At least the first buds are set before winter in this area and then subject to however cold it gets at crown level during extreme cold winters here. I'm not sure that it would be lack of water either since I don't water my daylilies and I don't see shorter scapes, although our climates are different.

I'm sure others will have some thoughts. I'll post back later with whatever the Handbook says unless someone else gets a chance to look it up first (it's at the end of the physiology chapter).
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
May 14, 2016 5:42 AM CST
OK, got the book. In their tests the scapes were shortest when deprived of potassium. Next were those deprived of magnesium. Next was deprived of phosphorous, next longest was calcium deficient. Daylilies given a complete fertilizer had longer scapes than all these, and those in soil had the longest scapes. They also tested watering with distilled water but I didn't include that above.
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
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beckygardener
May 14, 2016 5:59 AM CST
I wonder if watering with well water might also have an effect?

I have noticed the same problem with a few of my seedlings. Very light green foliage, but it eventually corrects it's self in most cases. Some are in containers, some are planted in the ground.
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
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sooby
May 14, 2016 6:09 AM CST
How are you supplying the above nutrients, Becky, especially potassium?
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
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beckygardener
May 14, 2016 6:21 AM CST
Osmocote Plus slow release: http://www.walmart.com/ip/39914816?wmlspartner=wmtlabs&adid=...

I just bought a big bag of Milorganite but have not applied it yet. Will be doing that in the very near future.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
May 14, 2016 6:36 AM CST
The Scotts site gives a slightly different version when I look for the analysis and ingredients. It says somewhere 11 essential nutrients yet only gives an analysis for NPK. Does it list the other nutrients on the container?

This is the spec sheet that Scotts give:

http://www.scotts.com/smg/products/osmocote/PDF/Osmocote_O_I...

Milorganite has no measurable potassium, I think their analysis is 6-2-0?[

Edit: Found the analysis, I had to get it a different way to find the Plus version of Osmocote:
http://www.plantersplace.com/products/osmocote_outdoor_indoo...


[Last edited by sooby - May 14, 2016 6:44 AM (+)]
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Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
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beckygardener
May 14, 2016 6:43 AM CST
This is the one I use:
http://www.arabidopsis.com/main/cat/medium/msds_CRF.pdf
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
May 14, 2016 6:45 AM CST
Cross-posted, yes I found it and added as an edit while you were posting.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
May 14, 2016 7:53 AM CST
beckygardener said:I wonder if watering with well water might also have an effect?

I have noticed the same problem with a few of my seedlings. Very light green foliage, but it eventually corrects it's self in most cases. Some are in containers, some are planted in the ground.


Looking at the analysis for your Osmocote, if you're using hard well water, and/or the soil pH is approaching 7 or above, then the micronutrients such as iron in the fertilizer may not be available to the plant because they are not chelated. Because Milorganite contains such a lot of iron it may fix that, time will tell. As I think I've said before, it can be less expensive to get a soil test than to guess and try different things (maybe not as much fun though Hilarious! ).

Whether the pale foliage and short scapes are related is hard to say. The fertilizer does not list any calcium but if you have a higher pH due to calcium and/or hard water, or something else in the mixes you use supplies it, that may not be an issue for the short scapes. A shortage of Ca wouldn't likely cause the pale foliage though.



South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."
Region: California Garden Photography Garden Procrastinator Daylilies Pollen collector Dog Lover
Moon Gardener Irises Heucheras Vegetable Grower Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Polymerous
May 14, 2016 3:32 PM CST
Thanks, Sue; that was very helpful!

Potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium.

I've switched from Osmcote to Miracle Gro all-purpose time release fertilizer, because at 12-4-8 it has the right N-P-K ratio (per Dan Trimmer http://www.ctdaylily.com/trimmer_fertilizing.html ) for daylilies. I use a LOT of it around each clump (because I know that the N should be high), and the foliage is green enough. I would think that should cover the P and K, so maybe my problems are with a lack of magnesium or calcium? The Miracle Gro time release fertilizer has those at 1.4% and 1.5% respectively; is that enough? http://www.miraclegro.com/smg/products/Miracle-Gro/pdf/SNF.p... (In comparison, all purpose time-release Osmcote Plus is 15-9-12, which has 1.3% magnesium and NO calcium http://www.plantersplace.com/products/osmocote_outdoor_indoo... . Their 14-14-14 Flower/Vegetable formulation has NEITHER magnesium or calcium. http://www.plantersplace.com/products/osmocote_flower_vegeta... )

I have also been liquid supplementing (when I remember - this goes mostly on the seedlings) with SeaMax all purpose 16-16-16, which also has various trace elements, but surprisingly no magnesium or calcium. Blinking Glare

So right now, at a guess, it looks like my problems lie in magnesium and/or calcium deficiencies. I've been treating my seedlings with liberal amounts of John & Bob's Maximize (0.33% magnesium, 1.9% calcium, 0.46% iron) https://www.johnandbobs.com/products/maximize . None of those scapes are obviously stunted (but on the other hand, they are a bit shorter than I like and have expected). Maybe I need to start applying this Maximize to the garden cultivars as well.

I should revisit using a liquid fertilizer with magnesium and calcium. Trimmer mentioned using "Peter’s Excel product known as Cal Mag 15-5-15" in his article, and when I read that article (a few years ago, now?) I think I bought a bag of it, or something very much like it. (The bag looked different than the image in the following link, and the label has since faded...) The fertilizer is a blue crystalline powder, and something about pouring a blue liquid on top of plants is off-putting to me, so I switched over to Maxsea in that time period (without looking closely at the trace elements, duh). Maybe I should go back to using that, instead of the Maxsea, as my liquid supplemental fertilizer. (Or maybe I can alternate treatments, as I have a lot of the Maxsea product here. Whistling ) The Peter's has 5% calcium, 2% magnesium. http://www.greenhousemegastore.com/product/peters-excel-15-5...
The current avatar image is that of a volunteer daylily seedling showing cristation.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
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sooby
May 14, 2016 3:52 PM CST
Most fertilizers don't include calcium or magnesium although some do include the latter. I believe the problem is that calcium particularly would cause problems with solubility of the other nutrients so they don't mix them together. You'll usually find that a commercial potting mix would already include dolomitic limestone, which would cover both calcium and magnesium. Soils naturally contain both but in general a deficiency of those would be more likely if the soil is acidic.

I would definitely not use extra calcium (lime) on daylilies unless you absolutely know for sure that the soil is significantly acidic. Too often some daylilies have a problem with micronutrients when the pH goes above 6.5 or thereabouts. It is possible to supply calcium without affecting the pH (gypsum) but one really needs to know one needs it first.

I have a few quibbles with Dan's article but as far as I recall he does appropriately say that you need to get a soil test. Without a soil test you don't know what nutrients you already have in adequate supply and therefore what might be low, or too high already. You can then end up oversupplying a nutrient which can cause a deficiency of another - or just fail to provide enough of something that is lacking or tied up.

If you're concerned about rust you need to be careful not to go too high with the N, and you need adequate potassium. If short scapes may be indicating low K then that could also be impacting rust severity.
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."
Region: California Garden Photography Garden Procrastinator Daylilies Pollen collector Dog Lover
Moon Gardener Irises Heucheras Vegetable Grower Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Polymerous
May 14, 2016 5:06 PM CST
With plants spread out over an acre, that would be an enormous amount of soil testing to be done. Sad

What is fairly clear, though, is that the native soil, at least in this garden, is acidic clay. I have measured it at 5.0 in some places. Blinking More typically it has been in the 5.5 - 6.0 range.

Just to be clear, does inadequate potassium promote rust?

Thanks so much for your help. Thank You!
The current avatar image is that of a volunteer daylily seedling showing cristation.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
May 14, 2016 5:41 PM CST
Polymerous said:

Just to be clear, does inadequate potassium promote rust?

Thanks so much for your help. Thank You!


Yes and I tip my hat to you. A couple of snippets from a text on plant nutrition. "As shown in Table 11.2, a high nitrogen supply increases the severity of infection by obligate parasites but has the opposite effect on diseases caused by facultative parasites....."

Rust is an obligate parasite.

"Potassium decreases the susceptibility of host plants to both types of parasites.....Beyond the optimal potassium supply for growth, no further increase in resistance can be achieved by increasing the supply of potassium and its content in plants."

In Table 11.2 the examples of obligate parasites are Puccinia spp. rust diseases and powdery mildew.

This is from Mineral Nutrition of Higher Plants, Second Edition, Marschner, Academic Press.

Name: Greg Bogard
Winston-Salem, NC (Zone 7a)
Sscape
May 16, 2016 10:28 PM CST
Pale leaves that may or may not have some green veins are indicative of magnesium deficiency. It can be corrected with Magnesium Sulfate (Epsom Salt) at 1 tablespoon/gallon water. It dissolves easily if the water is warm, but not hot (do not boil your plants). I soak my feet in Epsom salt water (a cup/gallon and 1/2). After my foot soak, I put a cup of the solution in my watering can and fill it up the rest of the way with rain water that I collect (a bit more than 2 gallons total volume. This is used on any plant that has light foliage. I drench the plant. If you do this early in the growing season the plants will green up nicely.
I had a problem with short scapes, too. Over a period of four years I went from about 20% short scapes, to over 50%. I thought it was the weather, but I knew that it was not that simple. I posed the question to the AHS Robin. Pat Stamile said to give the plants more Nitrogen. This was last year. At Tractor Supply (while getting some things for my wife's hobby: chickens), I saw a bag of 30-0-17 fertilizer for lawns. I got it and sprinkled some around each plant last early September--then again in mid March this year. In early April I sprinkled some 13-13-13 around each plant. Voila! Short scapes down to less than 10%, and flowers better than ever! Thanks to you, Mr. Stamile!
A good source of calcium that does not increase pH is ground egg shells. We save all our shells---dry them thoroughly---put them in an old metal coffee can, and use a metal hammer to pound, then grind, them down to a fine texture. Sprinkle a tablespoon of shells around the base of each plant. It works really good to decrease or eliminate blossom-end rot on tomatoes, too. Sprinkle a half cup around the base of each tomato plant.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
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sooby
May 17, 2016 5:36 AM CST
While leaves pale between the veins with the veins still green (interveinal chlorosis) can indicate magnesium deficiency, it's not the only possibility. Pale between the veins with the veins still green could also indicate iron or manganese deficiency. The difference would be in the first leaves that are affected. If it is the oldest leaves it is more likely to be magnesium deficiency. If it is the youngest leaves that are affected first, it is most likely iron and/or manganese deficiency. Magnesium deficiency is more likely on an acidic soil, while iron or manganese deficiency are more likely with a soil pH higher than around 6.5. Not all daylilies are equally fussy about soil pH so you can have some affected while others are not.

The Daylily Dictionary pictures of interveinal chlorosis shown in these links was caused by manganese deficiency (not to be confused with magnesium deficiency) induced by liming when the soil didn't need it (the area had been used for wood ashes whereas the rest of the garden had tested with a lower pH). The culprit nutrient was determined by leaf tissue testing and a soil test. There was plenty of manganese in the soil but the pH prevented the plants from using it. The remedy was to lower the pH back down with sulfur because that allows iron and manganese to become available to the plants again - most of the time, and as in this case, they are not actually at low levels in the soil but "blocked" by the soil pH getting too high:

http://www.daylilies.org/ahs_dictionary/chlorosis.html
http://www.daylilies.org/ahs_dictionary/interveinal_chlorosi...

I notice, Greg, that you applied potassium and phosphorous along with the nitrogen. Deficiency of both those were shown to cause short scapes in the study reported in the AHS 2002 Handbook.

Egg shells are primarily calcium carbonate (lime) so if ground enough and applied in sufficient amounts they add calcium and can also change the pH according to studies.

http://www.agronext.iastate.edu/soilfertility/info/eggshell-...
http://www.aces.edu/timelyinfo/Ag%20Soil/2005/November/s-05-...

Also this article:
http://www.gardenmyths.com/eggshells-do-they-decompose-in-th...

The key, though, is that to do either they must be finely ground and not crushed (and a large enough amount applied, of course).

Back to yellowing foliage - an important diagnostic factor there is that with magnesium, iron and manganese deficiencies the veins remain green while the areas between are pale. If the yellowing includes the veins, it is more likely to be nitrogen or sulfur deficiency. Nitrogen is the nutrient most often in short supply (it's the only one that doesn't naturally originate from minerals in the soil). Nitrogen deficiency typically affects the oldest leaves first, i.e. in daylilies it would be the lowest/outside ones in a fan that would turn yellow. Interestingly, though, nitrogen deficiency was not reported to cause short scapes in the study reported in the AHS 2002 Handbook.

I would be very careful about applying calcium/liming materials to daylilies unless someone knows for sure their soil is lacking or the pH is more than a little acidic. Soil testing is always going to be the best bet because undoing something can be harder then doing it Hilarious! At the very least always get a soil pH test before applying any liming material (or sulfur) because the pH of the soil determines the availability of nutrients to the plant.
[Last edited by sooby - May 17, 2016 7:08 AM (+)]
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