August 1996 - Indiana Yard and Garden - Purdue Consumer Horticulture

August 1996

Q. We would like to establish tiger lilies along a 50-foot portion of a bank on a farm pond where grass and weeds now grow. We have lilies growing wild along our field. My questions are: Is transplanting from these wild lilies a good bet, or should we buy bulbs? When is the best time to do that? Thanks. – Steven A. Cain, Brookston, Ind.

A. I think you may mean daylilies instead of tiger lilies, since daylilies are more likely to have naturalized in your field. Lots of people around here call the orange roadside daylily a tiger lily, tawny daylily or ditch lily. Daylilies have long, strap-like leaves that emerge from the base of the plant. Tiger lilies have a central stalk with short, glossy leaves radiating out all along its length.

Daylilies are a better choice for your bank since they compete with weeds and stop erosion better than tiger lilies. They do not have a bulb structure – just some thick roots. They will survive transplanting at almost any time during the growing season, but it’s best to wait until the weather is cooler. You’ll have the highest success rate by transplanting in the spring when the foliage is up a few inches. Fall is the next best bet but will require a bit more watering and should be done in early September to allow the plants enough time to root in before winter.

Daylilies have been bred in a variety of colors, sizes and bloom times. If you want variety, you’ll need to purchase plants. If you’re satisfied with the durable, tall, orange blooms of the naturalized plant, by all means, transplant it.


Q. I have three pinny bushes that come back each year and fill with buds, but the buds never open up and flower. What is the problem? – Joyce E. Pilling, Galveston, Ind.

A. I presume you’re speaking of peonies, or what some Hoosiers call pineys. Botrytis blight attacks stems, buds, petals and leaves. Small buds will cease to develop and will turn black. Older buds turn brown and fail to open. Leaves may have large, irregular spots with dark- and light-brown areas. In wet weather, the diseased parts will become covered with masses of gray fungal spores. To reduce the occurrence of this and other peony diseases, remove all peony debris from the garden each fall. Try to improve air circulation and penetration of sunlight.

Finally, too much shade can cause the plants to set buds that never open. Peonies require full sun.


Q. I have had a large sweet william bed for several years. I don’t have as many colors as I did have, and the weeds and vines are taking over. When they quit blooming I am going to use Roundup or something to kill all the weeds. Should I start new seeds right away to transplant this fall, wait until fall and plant seeds after I have my weeds under control, or wait until next spring to start my new plants? If I start them now will they bloom next year? – Clyde Dawson, Urbana, Ind.

A. Glyphosate, sold as Roundup or Kleenup, will kill the weeds and the sweet william. It may be necessary if the weeds are really out of control. I would spray the bed once, wait several weeks for the chemical to work and new weeds to germinate, then spray again. This would be an ideal time to add organic matter to the soil and, most importantly, mulch the bed to reduce weeds in the future.

I always prefer to start seedlings in the spring when the weather is cooler and wetter, but if you have the personal fortitude to water as necessary, fall planting is not a bad choice. They’ll bloom next year whether you plant them this fall or next spring, but will bloom earlier next year if you plant them this fall.


Q. I need first aid for a Washington hawthorn tree. For the past two years this tree has developed leaves in spring, followed by blossoms. Then the tree loses its leaves and looks dead until fall. It then starts to show new leaves, but they disappear due to the cold weather. This tree does not have berries at any time. Any suggestions? Or should I cut it down and plant something else in its place? – Ed Stegman, Crown Point, Ind.

A. It sounds like a lovely addition to your landscape! Several years of defoliation are probably starving the plant of energy, so it may not last much longer.

Hawthorns are susceptible to a number of diseases, including leaf blight, firelight, nine species of rust, and a host of insects. Look for spots, rings, holes or notches on the leaves as diagnostic clues. Keep your eyes open for insects, too. Your county office of the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service can help diagnose the problem if you can give them more information. Then you may choose to treat with an appropriate pesticide if one is available.

Many diseases reinfect the plant each year from plant debris that overwintered on the ground. Rake up all fallen leaves and destroy them to prevent this. We had a cockspur hawthorn so infested with scale, cedar apple rust and leaf spot that we finally cut it down. The berries formed, but were covered with white scale and did nothing for the appearance of the tree. A disease-resistant crabapple will give you spring flowers and fall berries if you choose to replace your hawthorn. Consider the cultivars ‘Molten Lava,’ ‘Red Jade,’ ‘Sentinel,’ ‘Prairifire,’ ‘Donald Wyman,’ ‘Mary Potter,’ ‘Bob White,’ ‘Red Splendor’ and ‘Sugar Tyme.’


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