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Vines for Summer Color

Vines for Summer Color
 

Trumpet or Coral Honeysuckle Lonicera sempervirens

  • Perennial twining vine, evergreen to semi-evergreen. Full sun to shade, but flowering decreases with sunlight levels.
  • Good for: Trellises, arbors, fences, lamp posts. Needs support on walls as it does not adhere on its own.
  • Pests: Can get aphids on tender new growth and flower buds. Deer resistant
  • Attracts: Hummingbirds, butterflies, birds.

A must for anyone hoping to attract hummingbirds, Trumpet Honeysuckle is capable of blooming from mid-spring to frost. Colors range from yellow through orange to coral-pink and scarlet. Several varieties have distinctly yellow-gold throats with a pink or orange exterior, giving a bicolor effect. Birds enjoy the berries produced in fall and winter. Trumpet Honeysuckle is not invasive, unlike the white-flowered Japanese Honeysuckle, an aggressive weed commonly found in naturalized areas.

Trumpet Honeysuckle is a vigorous climber up to 20’ and tolerates fairly severe pruning to keep it tidy. Pruning can be done at any time to control and shape, but is most commonly done just before growth begins in spring by removing the oldest growth at the base, and/or after the first major flush of flowers wanes to shape. Trumpet Honeysuckle can be renovation pruned to 12” for a fresh start if it gets too ungainly.

 

Clematis hybrids 

Clematis

Clematis

  • Perennial climbing vine. Full to part sun.
  • Good for: Trellises, arbors, fences, lamp posts. Needs support on walls as it does not adhere on its own.
  • Pests: Few. Can develop Clematis wilt. Deer resistant.

Available in a wide variety of colors and flower forms, Clematis is the queen of the summer flowering vines. In an ideal location, Clematis have a life span of decades. The key to a happy Clematis is to provide full sun to the top yet keep the roots cool and shaded. This can be done by putting other plants near the roots or using a good layer of mulch (keep the mulch from touching the stems). Clematis also fare poorly in heavy clay soils, so amend soil well when planting.

There are hundreds of clematis varieties with different times of bloom. Reblooming or summer blooming varieties include Jackmanii, ‘Niobe’, Henryi, ‘Nelly Moser’, ‘Ramona’, ‘Ville de Lyon’ and many others. Not all clematis varieties will rebloom, so check the label to know when flowering will occur.

It’s important to keep track of the name of your clematis to know when and how to prune. Clematis can be divided into three groups based on pruning requirements (they may be designated by A, B, or C, or 1, 2, or 3).  Most summer-blooming Clematis will be in group B/2. For this group, cut back in late winter or early spring to the last set of healthy, fat buds on each stem.

 

Mandevilla/Dipladenia

Red, pink & white mandevilla & dipladenia

Red, pink & white mandevilla & dipladenia

  • Annual (tropical) climbing vine to 6-10’ (Dipladenia) or 12-15’ (Mandevilla). Full sun and moist, well-drained soil. Excellent in containers.
  • Good for: Trellises, arbors, lamp posts, mail boxes. Needs support on walls as it does not adhere on its own.
  • Pests: Spider mite, white fly, mealy bug. Deer resistant

Mandevilla and Dipladenia are very similar and both are excellent flowering vines. Flowers are trumpet-shaped and come in pink, red, or less commonly, white, all with a yellow throat. Dipladenias have smaller, smooth/shiny leaves, while Mandevillas have larger, less shiny leaves, sometimes with an almost “quilted” texture. Mandevillas also have larger flowers and growth habit, a plus if you’re trying to cover a wider area. Some Dipladenias have been bred to be bushy and not climb so make sure it’s a vining type you purchase if you’re looking for a climber.

Mandevillas and Dipladenias are tropical plants and will die if left outdoors in the winter, but the floral show they provide through the summer and their tolerance for hot summer temperatures makes them popular regardless. (They can be overwintered fairly easily if you have the space to do so.)

 

Black-eyed Susan Vine Thunbergia alata

Thunbergia alata00
Black-eyed Susan vine
  • Annual climbing vine to 6-8’. Full sun and moist, well-drained soil.
  • Good for: Trellises, mail boxes, containers & hanging baskets. Needs support on walls as it does not adhere on its own.
  • Pests: Spider mite, whitefly, mealy bug. Deer resistant

Black-eyed Susan vine looks dainty, but this tender tropical can grow up to 8 feet in a single season, blooming all the while. Flowers are most commonly yellow-gold with a black “eye”, though they can be any color from white through deep orange, with or without the eye. Black-eyed Susan vine is easily started from seed.

Fertilize only as necessary, as too much fertilizer will result in lots of leaves and fewer blooms. Seeds can be collected from spent flowers to sow for the following year.

 

Cardinal Climber, Cypress Vine Ipomoea quamoclit

  • Annual climbing vine to 6-10’. Full sun, very adaptable to soil types.
  • Good for: Trellises, mail boxes, containers & hanging baskets. Needs support on walls as it does not adhere on its own.
  • Pests: Deer resistant
  • Attracts: Hummingbirds

This delicate looking member of the morning glory family is another hummingbird favorite, with scarlet-red star-shaped flowers. If you grow it from seed you can also find a mix of red, pink and white. The foliage is delicate and fern-like but the vine is surprisingly vigorous. Once established it can tolerate both drought and wet conditions.

Like many in the morning glory family, it may drop seeds that germinate the following year once soil has warmed to at least 70F. If you want to encourage these volunteers, look for the typical forked or crescent moon-shaped seed leaves of the morning glory family and don’t accidentally weed them out next spring! Despite its ability to reseed, it is not nearly as “weedy” as common morning glory.

 

Moon Vine Ipomoea alba

  • Tender perennial grown as annual climbing vine up to 15’. Full sun, very adaptable to soil types.
  • Good for: Trellises, arbors. Needs support on walls as it does not adhere on its own.
  • Pests: Deer resistant
  • Attracts: Night-flying moths

Moon vine is an outstanding vine to plant anywhere you spend time outdoors at night. The large (6”) snow white flowers unfurl in the early evening almost quickly enough to watch them open. The flowers are very fragrant and attract night-flying moths, closing as soon as sunlight touches them the next morning.

In fertile, moist soil, Moon Vine can grow up to 15’ in a season. Flowering begins in late summer. A few Moon vine plants trained on a wire trellis can serve as a temporary privacy screen as the large, heart shaped leaves can get quite dense.

Moon vine can be difficult to find as a started plant but can be easily started from seeds. Seeds should be notched with a file or a knife before planting to promote germination. Start Moon Vine indoors 6 to 8 weeks before last frost. 

 

Common Morning Glory Ipomoea purpurea       

  • Annual climbing vine up to 10’. Full sun, moist, well-drained soil.
  • Good for: Trellises, arbors, fences, mailboxes, lamp posts. Needs support on walls as it does not adhere on its own. Can also be used as annual ground cover.
  • Pests: Deer resistant
  • Attracts: Hummingbirds, Butterflies

Common Morning Glory has been a garden staple for generations. Generally started from seed, colors range from white to deep purple, many with a white throat that almost appears to glow. Star and tie-dye patterns and double flowers can be found also. Each flower opens in the morning and lasts a single day.

Like most members of the Morning Glory family, too much fertilizer results in lots of leafy green growth with few flowers, so fertilize sparingly.  While it often reseeds freely in following years, it’s not too hard to eradicate if you tire of it.

 

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Identifying & Controlling Scale Insects

Identifying & Controlling Scale Insects
 

One of the most troublesome insect pests, scale can affect hundreds of species of landscape plants. They can be difficult to notice until populations are high, and they can be difficult to control due to their shell-like protective covering and life cycle. With proper identification and treatment, however, you can get the upper hand on these troublesome insects.

Scale are generally divided into two groups: soft scale and armored scale. Soft scales have an armored “shell” that cannot be removed from the body, and produce honeydew. Soft scale also may move to various parts of the plant during their life cycle. Armored scales shells cannot be removed from the body, they do not produce honeydew, and they generally do not move from where they begin feeding as adults.

Sooty mold on holly caused by soft scale

Sooty mold on holly caused by soft scale

All scales feed be inserting their mouthparts into the plant and feeding on plant sap. This can reduce vigor, cause leaf yellowing and drop, and kill branches or even the entire plant if numbers get high. Honeydew can promote sooty mold fungus that is unsightly and difficult to remove, and can decrease plant vigor further.  Scales can attack almost any woody landscape plant; fortunately they are rare on herbaceous perennials and annuals.

Different scale species settle on different plant parts but are usually well hidden until populations become high. (The exception is Indian wax scale, which is large and white and very visible.) When scouting for scale, look on the underside of leaves, particularly along leaf veins, and on the stems.

Soft scale on holly

Soft scale on holly

Scales vary in shape, size and color depending on species. Most look like small scabs or bumps on the plant surface, and when squished will ooze fluid. Some are quite flat, while others are more domed. They may be round, oval or very elongated. Females may lay eggs beneath the covering, or in a separate egg sac where they are protected. Egg sacs are often protected by a cottony substance.

The most vulnerable stage of the scale life cycle is the crawler that emerges from the egg, when the insect can still freely move around and before settling into the permanent location they will spend their adult life. This usually occurs in spring (April/May) in the landscape, though some species of scale have crawler stages in summer. The crawler stage can be controlled at this point with horticultural oil or soaps as they have not yet developed their protective shells.

Adults on landscape plants can be smothered with an application of dormant oil in winter, or with systemic insecticides when they are feeding in spring and summer. For both horticultural oils or soaps and dormant oils, the level of coverage required to be effective can be difficult with homeowner grade sprayers, particularly with larger shrubs or trees. In that case, a professional spraying service (like New Garden Select) can get better results than trying to spray yourself.  Professional services also have access to insecticides that are not suitable for homeowner use.

Many scales infest plants that are already stressed by the environment: drought, low fertility, poor light or disease stresses. Keeping your landscape plants healthy with proper fertilization, irrigation and pruning can reduce the risk of developing a problem with scale pests.

 

Common Scales and hosts

Tea Scale-Camellia, Japanese holly, euonymus

Euonymus Scale-Euonymus, pachysandra, holly, camellia

Juniper Scale-Junipers, cypress, falsecypress, arborvitae

Wax Scale-Maples, holly, pyracantha, barberry, laurel, boxwood

Cottony Camellia Scale-Yews, camellia, rhododendron, Japanese maple, English ivy

 

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Summer Lawn Care Tips (Infographic)