Winter Moth: What You Need to Know

Originally introduced to North America from Europe, winter moths, and the devastation they bring can be found  throughout New England – especially in areas around Boston and Cape Cod. They seem to prefer apple, blueberry, cherry and crab-apple fruit trees, but they also feed on oaks, maples and ash. There is no gentle way to say this; it’s a very serious problem.

 

​​Adult moths emerge from soil around late November, and females lay eggs on tree trunks, house siding, and other outdoor surfaces through January. The eggs hatch before spring buds break. The young larvae (tiny inchworms caterpillars) tunnel into buds where they feed – often before the buds even open. After they eat up one bud, the larvae move to the next bud using wind and silk strands, called “ballooning”. The result is partial to significant defoliation. If a tree is defoliated 3 years in a row it’s at a high risk of death!

What You Can Do

To date, there is no easy solution, nonetheless it’s critical that you do as much as possible or your trees will be at risk.  Here are ways you can combat the problem: In early spring (late March or up until the leaves start to open) spray All Seasons Horticultural Oil from Bonide. It’s an all-natural oil that helps prevent winter moth eggs from hatching. Warning: if you saw adult moths last December, DON’T WAIT to look for them this spring – the larvae do an awful amount of damage as they become visible.
Once the leaves start to open, it’s too late for the Hort Oil – now it’s time to spray either Bonide’s all-natural Thuricide or all-natural Captain Jack’s Deadbug Brew. Both will kill winter moth caterpillars, but Capt. Jacks will kill even when they get big. Important notes: To help a defoliated tree or shrub survive the summer, make sure to water deeply once a week. Also, even though all three Bonide products are all-natural, you’ll still want to avoid wet contact with bees. If any tree or shrub attracts bees, do not spray when it is in flower. Any other time of year, even if not in flower, minimize contact with bees by spraying either very early in the morning or after sunset – you want time for sprays to dry while bees are not active.

What’s In Store: May 11, 2018

It’s Mother’s Day weekend and that means our stores are full of beautiful blooms like dahlias, geraniums, hydrangeas, lilacs, roses and more! Our premium hanging baskets make a fantastic gift for Mom too! Visit our full-service florists in Winchester and Tewksbury for fresh cut flower bouquets, vase arrangements, colorful potted baskets and more! Don’t miss our patio furniture showrooms in Winchester and Falmouth too! For great gift ideas for Mom visit: https://mahoneysgarden.com/great-gifts-for-mom/

What’s In Store: May 4, 2018

We’re filled to the brim for the weekend! Find lilacs in bud and bloom, early-blooming perennials, colorful annual hanging baskets, locally-grown edibles, beautiful pottery and more!

It’s still cold! What can I do in the garden now?

When chilly temperatures are still in the forecast during early spring, many ask what can they do in the garden now? Here are a few tips:

  1. Early spring is the perfect time to fertilize your trees and shrubs using an organic fertilizer.  We like Espoma’s Holly-Tone or Plant-Tone. After harsh winters, you may see browning on evergreens and broadleaf evergreens like rhododendrons and azaleas. In most cases, feeding will give them a boost they need to rejuvenate. Give them some time as warm weather approaches, they will likely bounce back with a little patience.
  2. It’s a good time to throw down your grass seed. Even though it is still chilly, it will germinate when the ground temperatures rise.
  3. Put down your lime, MAG-I-CAL or gypsum. You may apply these at any time, but its a great time now to adjust the soils pH so your soil can get ready for the growing season. Well adjusted pH in your lawn or garden beds means your soil can absorb your fertilizer’s nutrients properly.
  4. Sow your cold-crop veggies and greens. Beets, kale, carrots prefer a cooler season and are usually grown earlier before your tomatoes, peppers and herbs.
  5. Apply a moss killer like Bonide’s Moss-Max if you have any issues with moss or mold on the lawn or around the garden. Safely and quickly kills moss and algae on decks, roofs, sidewalks too. Contains iron so it will turn your lawn a deep green.
  6. Apply mole and vole products now! If you are seeing tunneling or other damage to the lawn and garden, it’s likely voles which can wreak havoc on your garden. Bonide’s Mole-Maxx will do the trick, but apply early before the damage is done! Remember, moles are carnivores and voles are herbivores, so usually voles go after plants and moles go after insects.
  7. Plant up your planters and window boxes with early season annuals like pansies. While we are definitely not out of the woods yet with freezing temperatures, pansies can tolerate cool temperatures. If the threat of a frost is a possibility, simply bring your planters inside or cover with an old sheet.
  8. Assess the yard for tree damage. After winter storms in New England, many will find more damage to trees in the yard than normal. While large tree limbs may likely need to be removed by a professional, most homeowners can remove the jagged remains of smaller broken limbs. You will need sharp tools such as hand saws and pruners to make clean cuts. Research in recent decades has changed our thinking about best practices when it comes to pruning trees. No longer should you cut a broken branch flush against the trunk. This method leaves the tree vulnerable to the invasion of disease-causing organisms. Instead look for the raised area where a branch meets the trunk. This called the branch collar. Leave the branch collar intact, making your cut ½ inch outside the collar. To avoid having the weight of a branch tear the bark, increasing the amount of damage, remove the limb in stages. Remember this rule: first under, then over, then final. It translates to
  • Cut part way through the branch from beneath, one or two feet from the trunk.
  • Make a second cut on top of the branch, several inches out from the first cut.
  • Complete the job by making a final cut next to the trunk, just outside the branch collar, with the lower edge angled slightly farther away from the trunk than the top edge.

Scientific data now clearly demonstrates that wound dressings such as tar, shellac or paint do not prevent decay or insect damage. In fact, they may make decay problems even worse. Wounds should be left untreated, allowing the tree’s natural defense mechanisms to work their magic.

Trees that have been largely uprooted or with serious trunk splits will likely have to be removed. A qualified arborist can assess whether a tree can be repaired and strengthened with cabling and bracing. Some trees can be staked to help them return to their upright form. Be sure to use materials such as webbing or rubber covered wire that will not cut into the bark when tying the tree to one or more stakes. Soil needs to be firmed around the root system and the tree should be watered well.

Evergreens became heavily laden with snow and ice during the recent storms but they may regain their shape on their own. For an unobtrusive but effective fix, green colored twine can be loosely wrapped in a spiral motion around evergreens, such as columnar forms of Arborvitae, to help them return to their normal shape.

While a slow release organic fertilizer will not hurt storm damaged trees, avoid the temptation to over fertilize. This will only encourage new foliar growth, adding additional weight for the root system to support. Trees will need time to reestablish their roots.

While it is heartbreaking to lose a tree, it does present an opportunity to reassess the landscape and perhaps replant with something even more special. There are many beautiful small trees that don’t interfere with power lines and many whose architecture helps them deal with wind and snow load. Remember the saying, “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is today.”

What’s In Store: March 30, 2018

Celebrate Easter and Passover this weekend by bringing Spring blooms into your home! Our greenhouses are full of beautiful color to spruce up the house for your party guests. Stop into the Florist at Mahoney’s Winchester or Tewksbury for festive potted baskets, vase arrangements and the freshest cut flowers too!

Spotlight: Phalaenopsis Orchids

Also known as Moth Orchids, Phalaenopsis orchids are part of the gigantic orchid family and one of the easiest to grow. Known for their showy flowers, phalaenopsis bloom for weeks on end, making them one of the best indoor plants for those seeking colorful, long-lasting blooms. Our selection of phalaenopsis orchids is always full, with many double stem and even triple stem plants to allow for the most stunning blooms. We carry many unique and extraordinary blooms in an array of colors. You won’t be able to choose just one!

Water

How often you water will depend on the potting medium. Bark retains less water than soil. If your phal is potted in bark watering once a week is generally sufficient. If your plant is potted in a denser medium like soil, water when the top feels dry. The amount of light and heat your plant receives will also affect how soon your phal needs watering. Summer months will need more frequent watering, winter will need less. After a few waterings, you will be able to tell by the weight of the pot whether or not it is time to water again. If in doubt, wait a day.

It is best to water in the morning. Place the plant in the sink and use tepid water. Do not use salt-softened or distilled water. Let the water run through the plant for a minute or so. Be sure to let the plant drain completely.

If any water remains in the crown (where the leaves join in the center) use a paper towel to blot the water to avoid crown rot.

Light

Phalaenopsis are ‘low’ light orchids. They grow beautifully in an east window and can be grown in a south or west window if protected by a sheer curtain. A phal’s leaves should be olive green. If they are darker it means the plant is not getting enough light; red tinged leaves mean the plant is getting too much light. Once the plant is in bloom you can place it anywhere in your home out of direct sunlight. If your plant does not re-bloom, increase the amount of light that it receives.

Continue watering and fertilizing while waiting for the blooming cycle to begin!

Temperature

Phals are easy to grow because they enjoy the same temperatures we do – above 60º F at night and a range of 70º F to 80º F or higher during the day. 95º F is the maximum temperature recommendation. Keep in mind that temperatures close to the window on a windowsill will be colder or hotter than your general house temperature. Fluctuating temperatures can cause bud drop on plants with buds ready to open.

Fertilizer

Any balanced orchid fertilizer (look at the numbers on the container, 20-20-20, etc.) can be used to fertilize your orchid. Feeding weakly (half strength) weekly works well. Once a month, use clear water to flush any accumulated salts from the potting mix.

Cutting the spike

When the blooms are finished, you can cut the spike down to the level of the leaves and the plant will bloom with larger flowers and a strong stem within a year. You can also cut off the stem leaving two nodes (those little brown lines on the stem below where the flowers were) on the stem. One of these nodes will then initiate and generally produce flowers within eight to 12 weeks.

Potting

Many growers use orchid pots with holes in the sides that allow air to circulate through the loose medium and around the leaves and roots. We have many decorative pots designed just for orchids! Continue watering and fertilizing while you are waiting for the blooming cycle to begin again! Repotting is usually done every one to three years.

 

Easy-Care Air Plants

 

Air plants (tillandsias) are amazingly versatile and are a great conversation piece! In their natural habitat of Central and South America, air plants grow on the trunks of trees, and get all the moisture they need through their foliage from the humidity in the air. They belong to a special family of plants called epiphytes, which are plants that grow on other plants in a non-parasitic way, only using the host plant for support. Most orchids, bromeliads and even some types of ferns are epiphytes too. You don’t have to travel to some tropical destination to enjoy air plants!

Air plants are enjoyed by avid gardeners and beginners alike and offer a decorative, design element indoors. Not requiring soil, air plants look beautiful placed in a glass vessel, on drift wood, in a terrarium or even in a simple tray with found objects like rocks and sand. The possibilities are endless!

Air plants prefer bright, filtered light and to be misted several times a week. We like to completely submerge air plants in water once a week to give them a nice, good soaking.

If you don’t have one already, stop in and pick out some air plants for yourself and a friend. We have many varieties to choose from and they are super easy to grow.. and be warned, they are addictive!

 

 

 

 

Now in: Citrus Plants

Grow your own lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruits and more with your own indoor citrus plant. We’ve received a fresh shipment of sun-loving dwarf citrus plants, many in bloom! Find varieties like Meyer Lemon, Key Lime Limequats, Navel Oranges and more!