Thursday, September 9, 2010

September/October Hort Shorts

  • All daffodils are narcissus but not all narcissus are daffodils.
  • Honeybees are workaholics. They literally kill themselves by working so hard that they wear out their wings and die.
  • Sunny fall days and cool night temperatures around 45 degrees promote brilliant red leaf colors on maples, flowering dogwoods, sweetgum, blackgum, red oak and sassafras.
  • Rhododendrons do best in a well-drained but moisture retentive soil. No wonder they are so difficult to grow in our heavy, clay soils.
  • All hostas were green in their native habitats in the Orient.
  • Quack grass is a perennial while crabgrass is an annual which comes up from seed every year.
  • In botanical terms, a tomato is a fruit but under the laws governing interstate commerce, it is a vegetable.
  • Blue hydrangea flowers may fade to white if the soil pH is too high. You may have to add some garden sulfur if you pH is above 6.0.
  • Most people say they prefer organically grown fruit and vegetables but when offered this alternative in a supermarket, they do not buy them.
  • Lime added to soil makes it less acid i.e. more alkaline. It does not kill grubs, cure diseases or repel moles.
  • Apples, sweet cherry and pears need a second, different variety nearby for pollination to take place.
  • A tiny drop of pheromone on a piece of paper can attract a male gypsy moth from over a mile away.
  • Peaches, sweet cherry and nectarine are self‑fruitful and do not need a second variety for pollination (and fruit bearing) to take place.  Apples must have a second variety nearby or they will not bear fruit. A crabapple will do the job.
  • Honey locust trees are not in the same genus as black locust. Mountain ash is not an ash tree. Horse chestnut is not a chestnut tree. Box elder is a maple tree.
  • Carpenter ants do not eat wood but they do make their nest in rotting, moist wood. 
Written by Ralph Heiden.
Originally printed in September/October 2009 Connections