Beetles and berries

JAPANESE BEETLES are beginning to emerge from the ground so it's time to protect your foundation plantings with a recommended insecticide or other barrier from this destructive insect.

A number of diseases are showing up on landscape plantings including Cytospora canker on blue and Norway spruces. This canker infects the lower part of the limb and branches turn brown and die from the ground up. It normally takes numerous years of infestation to kill the spruce so you can save an infected tree by judicious pruning of infected branches along with the application of a recommended fungicide.

Nature Center of Charleston Oswego tea, aka scarlet bee balm and Monarda didyma, is a favorite of hummingbirds.

Photo courtesy

Raspberries and wine berries are beginning to ripen. Most of the raspberries are of the black variety while the wine berries are red in color. Wine berries are also a little more tart than their counterparts.

Hummingbirds are enjoying the opening of monarda (bee balm), a dark maroon or deep pink plant well over 3 feet tall. Cardinal flowers, another tall plant with red blooms, also bring hummers from their nests to feed. Both of these native plants are available at nurseries. The maroon monarda, monarda didyma, is also called Oswego tea. The name comes from the Oswego Indians who taught the immigrants how to use it for tea after the Boston tea party in 1773. The flowers and leaves are good ingredients for potpourri.

The lavender-flowered bee balm is monarda fistulosa, or wild bergemot. This plant also attracts birds and butterflies. It spreads by rhizomes and needs to be divided periodically to keep it contained.

Nature Notes for 7/12/2009