By Darrell Blackwelder
For Farm Carolina
SALISBURY - Many people attending the Rowan County Fair this week had gardening questions and other plant-related inqueries.
Below are a few questions posed from local county fair patrons earlier this week.
Q: My shrubs have grown a bit over the past few summer months. Can I prune them now?
A: Yes, light, judicious pruning can occur year-round, however, avoid pruning spring-flowering shrubs such as azaleas and rhododendron after August. If you prune them now you will eliminate many of your spring flowers. Prune those shrubs in the spring after bloom. Prune back hard such shrubs as holly, red tips or boxwood in the early spring to avoid winter damage. Maples should be pruned now while they have leaves to avoid excessive bleeding in the spring.
Q: After we had that big rainstorm early this week, our driveway and sidewalks were covered with very large grub worms. What are these and how do we control them?
A: These were most likely June beetle larvae. These are large, off-white grubs about the size of a person's thumb that usually appear en masse after a heavy fall rain. Now is the best time to control grubs while the soil is still warm. June beetle larvae can be controlled with soil application-recommended insecticides, either granular or wettable powder. Go to http://www.turffiles.ncsu.edu/articles/tf00506.aspx for more in-depth information about grubs and their control.
Q: My husband's ears seemed to perk up when my gardening friend lamented that her "Naked Ladies" were about to bloom in her front yard. I understand that this is some type of flower. Can you tell me more about the flower?
A: Naked Ladies or spider lilies are actually members of the amaryllis family, which includes other well-known bulbs such as common amaryllis, usually planted indoors at Christmas. The bulbs have long, narrow leaves that resemble liriope, but with a pale stripe down the center of each leaf. Leaves turn yellow in spring and should be allowed to die naturally. After a heavy fall rain, flowers often appear almost magically since there is no foliage to indicate where the bulb is planted. Go to http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/factsheets/bulbs-summer/amar_bella.html for more complete information about the bulb. Naked ladies are also considered an Old World or pass along plant.
Q: My eggplant I planted early this summer was supposed to be purple. However, our eggplants have turned yellow. What causes them to turn yellow?
A: Eggplants need to be picked often when they are immature. Some purple eggplant varieties may bronze or turn yellow in appearance when overripe. White eggplants often turn yellow when overripe.
Darrell Blackwelder is Rowan County extension director with the N.C. Cooperative Extension. Call 704-216-8970