The 2018 Easter falls on April 1, which is an early date for Easter. The proceess for growing Easter lilies from initial potting to Easter requires 23 weeks. Growers should start the bulb forcing process soon to allow adequate time to complete the full 23 week program.Dr Richard McAvoy, Professor and Extension Specialist, greenhouse crops at the University of Connecticut has released his 2018 Easter lily schedule.
Two-spotted Spider Mites have been observed on mums. They feed primarily on the undersides of leaves removing plant sap with their stylet-like mouthparts. The feeding damage causes the leaves to have a “stippled” appearance that appears on the upper sides of the leaves. Look on the underside of the leaves for the mites and their eggs.
Late Blight of tomato has been detected in Massachusetts for the first time this growing season. This disease is caused by the fungus-like organism Phytophthora infestans and can affect both tomatoes and potatoes. It should not be confused with Phytophthora blight (caused by P. capsici), which affects squash as well as tomatoes and peppers. Late blight has also been reported to affect petunias and nightshades.
Plants may need to be fertilized while in outdoor 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.
A reminder that zonal and seed geraniums, American marigold, and all types of impatiens are susceptible to iron/manganese toxicity, a nutritional disorder associated with low growing medium pH. This problem is sometimes called "bronze speckle" due to the appearance of numerous small brown spots on the edges of the leaves of geranium and marigold. The target pH range to prevent toxicity is 5.8-6.5. If the pH is lower than the target range the risk for toxicity increases because at low pH too much iron and manganese becomes available to these plants.