February "In The Grow" - Indiana Yard and Garden - Purdue Consumer Horticulture

February “In The Grow”

Q. I have a Japanese maple that I planted last spring. Since then, it has turned from the rich, deep maroon color to a green color on the leaves. There is still a hint of the red color, but it is very faint. What would have caused this and what can I do to bring the maroon color back? Thanks! – David J. Schafer, New Albany, Ind.

A. There are hundreds of cultivars of Japanese maple, and many of them have crimson foliage in the spring but fade to green over the summer. This is true of the commonly available ‘Bloodgood’ cultivar. Less likely, but possible, is that it is truly a burgundy-colored tree year-round, but the coloration is fading because of too much sun.

Q. I have a red bud tree that I’d like to propagate. I have collected some seed pods. Most of the seeds are black; a few are green. Now what? Do they need cold weather? Can I plant them in pots for a head start on spring? What’s my next step? – O. Stureman

A. Seed treatment is needed, since redbuds have some dormancy issues. The best treatment is a 60-minute soaking in concentrated sulfuric acid, followed by a cold treatment for three months at 35-40 degrees F.

Q. Our house faces northeast and has a four-foot strip of sweet woodruff, with a pink dogwood at the east end. A local landscaping company recommended three holly plants in front by the porch. However, they just aren’t very satisfactory and are a little “tame” for our place, which is really pretty wild. Can you suggest a replacement? It’s shady. – Joann K. Fox, Zionsville, Ind.

A. Consider Annabelle hydrangeas, which do well in part shade to sun. They have large foliage with huge balls of white flowers. Or consider Kerria, which has a wild, arching shape with small, crisp, green foliage and yellow flowers. Kerria tolerates more shade and has green stems for winter interest.

We return to the mole issue. I have received letters with all sorts of suggestions, and I’ll touch on them briefly. One writer suggests keeping cats. It’s true that some cats can be effective, but this is not a RELIABLE means of mole control. I have had cats and dogs that get the occasional mole, but they don’t seem to rid my yard of them. One of my cats changed his mind about mole hunting and refuses to try any more. My dog does extensive damage to the yard and garden beds when he hunts!

Juicy Fruit gum was suggested again. This is a common suggestion and may seem to be effective, but research suggests that it is not. Maybe it reroutes them with its odor, but it doesn’t actually kill or even deter the moles in the long run.

Another reader suggested killing all the grubs in the soil with strong insecticides. Grubs make up only a portion of moles’ diet, which also includes earthworms and other soil animals, so moles are often found in grub-free lawns. If all earthworms, grubs and other soil animals in a lawn are killed with various insecticides, the moles would have to feed somewhere else. However, the results may not be evident for weeks, and the damage would likely to continue and even increase during this time. Plus, the moles may not move far from the treated lawn and periodically may re-invade the lawn.

Another sort of trap, called the choker loop, was suggested. I’m not personally familiar with this trap, and it is not included in the research that I’ve seen. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says that many types of mole traps are available, but the harpoon trap is the easiest for the novice to use, as well as the most readily available. They also stress that it is the MOST reliable method of mole control.


Share This Article
Disclaimer: Reference to products is not intended to be an endorsement to the exclusion of others which may have similar uses. Any person using products listed in these articles assumes full responsibility for their use in accordance with current directions of the manufacturer.
Indiana Yard and Garden – Purdue Consumer Horticulture - Horticulture & Landscape Architecture, 625 Agriculture Mall, West Lafayette, IN 47907

© 2023 Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Copyright Complaints | Maintained by Indiana Yard and Garden – Purdue Consumer Horticulture

If you have trouble accessing this page because of a disability, please contact Indiana Yard and Garden – Purdue Consumer Horticulture at homehort@purdue.edu | Accessibility Resources