As summer is in full swing, gardeners are asking questions


Ah, the season continues and I get a bunch of questions that I think I better answer.

First, I get a few reports of leaf rollers removing leaves mostly on cotoneaster. They chew and when fattened, they make a cover of a leaf and roll up in it. They are caterpillars and they are metamorphosing. You can control their populations by spraying the leaves they eat with bacteria called “Bt”, Bacillus thuringiensis. However, you must do this before the caterpillars stop eating, obviously so that they ingest it. When they start rolling the leaves instead of eating them, it’s too late.

So what do you do if your leaves are already rolled up? Again, being on the cutting edge of using your cell phone as a gardening tool, I would suggest just setting an alarm with a note on your cell phone’s calendar for, say, June 15, 2023, you reminding to spray the leaves of infested plants. This year. Do it now.

Speaking of leaves, throughout the season I get questions about leaf curling on lilacs. This happens throughout the season. These are almost always caused by someone in the area using a weed and food type product to treat the dandelions. Lilacs are very sensitive to these herbicides. There is nothing you can do about these leaves (they won’t die and should recover) other than to stop or get your neighbor to stop using these chemicals.

Here’s a good one: how do you remove bumps from a lawn without digging it all up? It’s really very simple. Simply cut large “X’s” on each bump so you can peel the lawn from the center of the hill. Remove excess soil and rest the lawn. Sprinkle and enjoy.

And, someone wants to know why she never gets kiwifruit on her six plants. She’s had them for over five years without a single berry. The answer, without a doubt, is that the kiwi requires both male and female plants to produce fruit. It is therefore necessary to determine what you have and go from there. How do you know which kiwi is male and which is female? Both bloom so just look at their centers. Male flowers produce yellow pollen, so if the flower centers of your plants are bright yellow, you have males. One male plant is suggested for each female plant to get good pollination, but I bet two would pollinate the 6 in question.

Moving on, tomato blossoms don’t bear fruit in a reader’s greenhouse. This is because we seem to have few pollinators this year. (Is that possible?) Either way, hitting the flower stem with an electric toothbrush for a minute should do the trick. It’s better than using a small brush and going from flower to flower.

Finally, and I’m glad this question was asked, a reader wants to know when is the annual garden tour of the Anchorage Garden Club? He’s been missing for about two years. Well, this unmissable visit is back! It’s July 31 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. You will find the list of gardens posted on the club’s website. You can also find information on their Facebook page the day before the event. The rules for participating are simple: no dogs, strollers, high heels or unsupervised children. These are private gardens and are always a great event for gardeners in the area.

Jeff’s Garden Calendar

Alaska Botanical Garden: discover the events on And don’t forget to take a look at the childcare items! There is a online shop so that you can order online and collect your order during your visit.

Harvest: Don’t let things get too big, flower and stop growing.


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