There are a variety of ways to produce garden mums using different pinching and planting strategies. Traditional garden mum production schedules involve planting the end of May or early June and pinching plants two times. The first pinch is given within two weeks of transplanting when roots of the cutting reach the bottom and sides of the container and the tops show 1.5-to 2.0 inches of new growth. The second pinch is given when the axillary shoots from the first pinch are 3 to 4 inches long, usually three weeks later in late June or early July, but prior to July 20th.
Light and temperature extremes this time of year can stress plants in greenhouses and retail yards. Tender new growth and plants under water stress are particularly prone.
Faded, dull upper surfaces of most recently expanded leaves are often the beginning signs of sunscald. Sunscald -paper thin brown spots can occur on tender new growth and when cloudy weather is followed by bright sun and high temperatures. In greenhouses, shade cloth may be needed for some crops.
Plants need to be fertilized while in retail yards. Rainfall and watering with plain water will leach out nutrients and plants will exhibit deficiency symptoms such as yellow or reddish foliage. Note that reddish foliage could also be due to recent cool temperatures. If no additional fertilizers are applied, plant quality will quickly deteriorate especially plants that will not be transplanted, such as hanging baskets. Plants in packs, 4-inch and other small containers are also susceptible to nutrient deficiency.
Anthracnose (Colletotrichum sp) was recently diagnosed on mandevilla. Anthracnose is common on many ornamental plants. The primary symptoms are leaf spots, leaf blights and dieback. Infected leaves develop tan to brown spots or lesions that are typically associated with leaf veins. In severe cases leaf drop may occur. Because anthracnose symptoms take on different forms and appearances it can be mistaken with other fungal diseases. Submit suspicious plants to a diagnostic laboratory for proper identification.
Here are some management tips especially important for periods of cloudy, rainy weather:
Clean Plants: Keep plants in retail areas clean. Remove dead and injured plants and spent flowers a couple times a day even during the busy season. Botrytis and high ethylene concentrations from decaying plant tissue will cause premature loss of foliage and flowers.