Varieties of Persian Melons

Persian melons are actually muskmelons, produced with a vining plant (Cucumis melo) that originated in Persia, in the region now known as Iran. The fruit gets its name in the sweet, musky odor when ripe. Persian melon plants were brought to the Americas in the 17th century by early settlers. Today, several types of Persian melons are widely available and create good growing selections for a home gardener.

Netted Melons

Persian melons using a outer surface covered in a irregular green pattern resembling a net are called netted melons and belong to the Reticularis group. The melon commonly known as a cantaloupe in the U.S. is a part of the group. Cantaloupes are notable for their bright orange peel and strong, sweet flavor when ripe. Like most netted melons, cantaloupes are ripe when the fruit falls easily from the vine. Other netted melons include the Galia melon, a native of Israel with pale orange flesh, and the Charantais melon, originally from France and marginally smaller than the cantaloupe.

Yellow Melons

Several Persian melons are notable for their strongly colored yellow exteriors. By way of example, canary melons, also known as Spanish melons, have glowing yellow outer rinds and cream-colored, juicy, mild-flavored flesh. Casaba melons, another yellow melon, are unusual for their wrinkled, yellow rind, their oval shape that tapers on the stem end and their size, with individual melons reaching a weight of up to 8 pounds. Casaba melons mature late in the season, and create best flavor when left on the vine until fully ripe and slightly soft.

Green Melons

A few Persian melons, such as the Crenshaw melon, have dark green exteriors, developed by crossing different varieties. Crenshaws have flavor very similar to that of the Casaba melon, one of its parents, but also a somewhat wrinkled, dark green rind that softens to yellow green as it ripens. Crenshaw melons also tend to be big, averaging about 5 pounds, and may have flesh that’s either greenish or salmon-pink. Like most melon plants, Crenshaw melons need deep watering that thoroughly soaks the ground while they are growing, followed by reduced watering to enhance the flavor of ripening fruit.

Honeydew Melons

Honeydew melons are bigger than most Persian melons, averaging about 2 to 4 pounds. Many honeydews possess a silvery white to slightly green outer shade, and light green or white flesh. Their flavor is sweet but subtle, and the flesh is smooth in texture. Like most Persian melons, honeydews develop best in well-drained, sandy to loamy soil. They prefer slightly acidic soil, but a pH lower than 6.0 may cause yellowing foliage and imperfect flowers.

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The Greatest Shrubs for Septic Risers

Septic risers are an unattractive necessity for most kinds of septic systems. Shrubs can be planted to help disguise the risers however they need to be planted at least 10 feet from the cylinder the risers are around and the absorption area, if your septic system has one. Drought-tolerant shrubs and shrubs that thrive in dry conditions will be perfect for use about septic risers, as they are not likely to spread invasive roots toward the septic system seeking water. Such shrubs that also blossom may add flowery interest into the septic riser display.

Spring Floral Interest

Fetterbush (Lyonia lucida) and pipestem (Agarista populifolia) are drought-tolerant evergreen shrubs that may be planted as displays with spring flowery interest. Fetterbush shrubs, also referred to as stagger-bush or shiny lyonia, typically grow to a height of 3 to 6 feet and create fragrant pink, white or red flowers. They are hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 to 10 and thrive in dry, sandy soil. Pipestem shrubs, also referred to as Florida hobblebush or Florida leucothoe, grow to a height of 8 to 12 feet and create fragrant creamy white flowers. They are hardy in USDA zones 7 to 9 and grow well in dry soil but prefer supplemental water during dry spells. Both shrubs will grow in full sunlight or partial shade.

Summer Floral Interest

Purple sage (Leucophyllum frutescens) and oleander (Nerium oleander) can be planted for displays that provide summer flowery curiosity; the two shrubs grow in full sunlight or partial shade. Purple sage is a semi-evergreen shrub, hardy in USDA zones 7 to 10. It grows to 3 to 5 feet tall in dry, sandy conditions or 5 to 8 feet tall in garden soil with supplemental water. The foliage may be green, gray-green or silvery flowers and green may be blue, pink, purple or white, depending on the cultivar. It is drought-tolerant and takes fast-draining soil. Oleander is hardy in USDA zones 8 to 10 and grows to 20 feet tall and 10 feet wide with a naturally round shape. The flowers may be pink, red, salmon, yellow or white, depending on the cultivar. It’ll grow in soil that tends to remain moist or dry and is drought-tolerant. But oleander is poisonous if ingested and may lead to skin irritation, so it shouldn’t be planted where kids and pets play.

Fall Floral Interest

Thorny elaeagnus (Elaeagnus pungens) and thryallis (Galphimia glauca) are evergreen shrubs that grow fairly quickly. Thorny elaeagnus, also referred to as silverthorn, grows to 15 feet tall and 20 feet wide with a naturally round shape. It blooms in late fall and early winter, producing small, fragrant white flowers followed by berries that attract birds. This drought-tolerant shrub is hardy in USDA zones 7 to 9 and will grow in most kinds of soil, including fast-draining sandy soil. Either a partial shade or full sunlight exposure is fine. Thryallis is hardy in USDA zones 9 to 11, growing to a height and width of 6 feet with a curved contour and light green foliage. In late summer and fall, it produces bright yellow flowers held in 4- to 6-inch long clusters. It is a drought-resistant shrub that thrives in dry, fast-draining soil with a full sun exposure.

Year-round Floral Interest

Butterfly bushes (Buddleja davidii) and Knock Out roses (Rosa radrazz) are deciduous shrubs that bloom from spring through fall. In warm Mediterranean climates, however, they keep most of their foliage and continue to blossom, providing a year-round display. Butterfly bushes grow 6 and 12 feet tall and 4 to 15 feet wide, depending on the cultivar, with long, arching branches and gray-green foliage. They are hardy in USDA zones 5 to 10 and thrive in fast-draining soil that tends to remain dry. Knock Out roses are hardy in USDA zones 4 to 9, growing to a height of 4 feet and width of 3 feet. Their flowers may be single- or double-form and pink, red, yellow or white. Knock Out roses are drought-tolerant and highly resistant to blackspot and fungal diseases. Both shrubs will grow in partial or full sun exposures.

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The Average Height for Tomato Plants

Tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) are especially delicious when allowed to ripen fully on the plant. Among the best ways to enjoy these wonderfully delicious fruits is to grow them on your home garden. Tomato plants can be found in a number of varieties that reach different heights. Selecting the ideal type for your situation is a significant initial step in starting your tomato garden.

Determinate Plants

Some tomato plants are called determinate because they’re programmed to achieve a particular height. When a determinate plant creates a final cluster of flowers at its terminal growing point, a signal is sent to the plant that slows and eventually stops its growth. These ranges reach heights between 3 feet and 5 feet at maturity. Determinate tomatoes are normally bushy plants that ripen fruit over a relatively short period, so starting several plants in series, spacing them apart by a couple weeks, can help lengthen your harvest. Fantastic varieties of the type comprise “Brandywine” and “Brandywine Pink,” both heirloom varieties, “Roma” and “San Marzano,” both paste-tomato manufacturers, “Mountain Belle,” which creates cherry tomatoes, along with “Mountain Gold,” with yellow tomatoes.

Indeterminate Plants

Tomato plants that continue to grow and become poorer throughout the growing season have been classified as indeterminate. These are older varieties that resemble the first, wild plant, putting flowers just on lateral branches and never to the terminal growing point. When grown on supports, the following plants need pruning late in the season to control their growth and also force plant energy into fruit production. If left unpruned, they could achieve heights of well above 7 or 8 feet. Indeterminate plants have a tendency to ripen their fruit later in the season and also produce more ample foliage than determinate types. Varieties include “Ancient Girl,” that an early-ripening red tomato, “Better Boy” and “Supersonic,” strong, disease-resistant plants, and “Beefmaster” and “Supersteak,” which produce extra large tomatoes that are exceptional sliced for new eating.

Patio Tomatoes

Dwarf tomato varieties are especially suited to growing in containers, for example on a sunny porch or terrace. These plants typically reach heights of 1 to 2 feet at maturity. Some especially dwarfed varieties do well in hanging baskets or other smaller containers. In addition to supplying a gardener with delicious, edible fruit, the following plants also provide ornamental value. Good varieties include “Tiny Tim,” with crimson cherry-type tomatoes approximately 1 inch in diameter, “Red Robin,” which creates mild-flavored tomatoes, “Patio Hybrid,” with especially large tomatoes to get a dwarf kind, and “Small Fry,” adaptable to hanging baskets.

Tree-Form Tomato

The tree tomato (Cyphomandra betacea) is part of a different genus than the commonly grown tomato plant, nevertheless creates true tomatoes. Originally from high-altitude regions of South America, it does best in temperatures above 50 degrees Fahrenheit and can achieve a height of 10 feet or more. A partially woody plant, the tree tomato creates egg-shaped fruit pointed at both ends, with skin of various colors, from orange or yellow to crimson and also reddish-purple, and delicious, sweet, low-acid flesh.

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How to figure the Materials for a Tongue-and-Groove Ceiling

When installing tongue-and-groove paneling on your ceiling, you are going to need a variety of materials to finish the project. Ensuring that you’ve got everything available before you begin saves you a lot of stress as well as excursions to the hardware store mid-project. You’ll need the panels, as well as stain or stain and painting supplies, completing and trim nails.

Select the type of tongue-and-groove paneling you want to install and then write down the measurements of every board or panel. Some goods come as independent boards while others arrive in sheets that provide the appearance of individual pliers. You’ll have to know the width and length of every piece to generate an accurate estimate.

Assess the length and width of your ceiling at various locations, and then note the widest and longest point. Most ceilings aren’t precisely the exact same size on each end, even when they seem to be square. Basing your dimensions and subsequent material estimates on the widest and longest points ensures you will have enough materials to finish the job.

Calculate the number of panels you want to pay for the width of the ceiling depending on the breadth of the item you’ll be using. Conventional tongue-and-groove paneling is 3 1/2 inches wide; for example, if your ceiling is 10 feet wide (120 inches), you’ll need 35 planks to go from one end to the other. Most panels arrive in 8-foot sections; if your ceiling is less than 8 feet, you can simply go by the width. However, if it is longer than 8 feet, then you are going to need more than one panel on every row. For ceilings over 16 feet, it is possible to simply double the panels out of 35 to 70 (using the example measurements). If not sure, the provider will have the ability to estimate the number of tongue-and-groove panels you’ll have to pay for the ceiling.

Decide on the amount of trim required by measuring each straight part of your ceiling and then adding these together for the total linear feet. To account for mistakes when cutting, add 10 percent to this number.

Use the square footage of the ceiling to ascertain how much stain or stain you’ll want to finish the paneling. The label on the can of finish will define the estimated number of square footage that the item will cover. The best way to prevent against damage or warping to the panels will be to finish both sides, so estimate based on doing this. Add 10 percent to this number so you’ve got extra for mistakes or touch-ups, or in case the particular paneling you use soaks up more merchandise than anticipated. If you’re using prefinished tongue-and-grove panels, then this isn’t necessary.

Estimate the number of finish nails needed from the nuber of runs of paneling that will go across the ceiling. Divide the length of the ceiling (the way in which the planks will run) from the width of every plank. This is the number of runs. Then, take the distance of every run and divide this number by 16 inches; that is actually the spacing recommended between finishing nails for many products. Multiply the number of nails required for every run by the number of straight lines of paneling required to cover the ceiling to determine the number of nails you’ll want.

Estimate the nails required for the trim by adding every straight line segment together and then dividing this number by 16, that’s the recommended spacing for trim nails.

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Can You Use a Steam Mop on Unglazed Tile?

Steam mops offer you a soap- and chemical-free way to clean various types of hard flooring, but unglazed tiles aren’t one of them. The moisture created by the steam mop is quickly absorbed by the porous surface of unglazed tiles, resulting in water stains and creating a possible breeding ground for mold and mildew. Based on the kind of tile and grout, the heat might also damage the floor. To get a natural, easy way to clean your unglazed tiles, turn to a fundamental mop and water.

Alternative Cleaning Method

For regular cleaning outside of routine sweeping, wet a sponge mop with water and wring it out completely; the key is to utilize a just-damp cleaner, perhaps not one that is excessively wet. Mop the floors and then go back over them with a towel to get rid of any extra moisture. When your floors need a cleaning, mix 4 cups of water with 1/4 cup baking soda, and one to two squirts of dye-free dish soap. Wash the flooring with the solution. Wash with a lightly dampened sponge and dry the tile with a towel.

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Could I Clean the Bathroom Floor With Toilet Bowl Cleaner?

Almost all toilet bowl cleansers have a disinfectant, and it’s probably natural to suppose it might be safe to wash the floor. Many toilet cleaners are too harsh for your flooring, though, and can severely damage the finish. You don’t need toilet bowl cleaner; alternatively, use an affordable and safe alternative.

Toilet Bowls Cleaners Are Harsh

Many toilet bowl cleansers contain sodium hypochlorite — or bleach — for disinfecting, which might also disinfect the floor. The problem is that lots of toilet bowl cleansers also have a harsh acid, such as hydrochloric acid, to dissolve lime scale. The acid is harmless in your toilet, but it can severely damage your floor finish. Some toilet bowls cleansers are more harmless, containing less harmful lactic acid, however there’s an easier and safer way to clean your floors.

Use Vinegar Instead

The safest way to clean your toilet floors is to blend a 1-to-1 solution of vinegar and water and use it to mop or wipe the floor down. Vinegar is a weak acid that naturally disinfects, but it is not strong enough to hurt your floors if you don’t leave it standing. To avoid doing so, be sure to rinse the floor with clear water and wipe it dry quickly.

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The way to Get Rid of Streaky Salty Floors During Winter

Salt performs an essential function on city streets and sidewalks during even the mildest of winters, melting ice and preventing harmful skids and slips, but it is another story in the house. When salty water evaporates on your floors, it leaves streaky white deposits that make it resemble the ice came indoors rather than melting outside. You can get rid of these deposits with vinegar, and a spray bottle full of vinegar can help prevent them.

Vinegar to the Rescue

Salt deposits aren’t like ordinary dirt; you can not emulsify them with soap and water and wash them away. You need to dissolve them with a weak acid, and the acetic acid in vinegar effectively does the job. This acid, unfortunately, can also etch and dull the finishes on hardwood and slate floors, however, so it isn’t wise to use it full strength. For most floors, a solution of 1/2-cup vinegar per gallon of warm water gets the work done, but you might want to double the vinegar amount for stubborn or stains that are extensive.

Cleaning Salt Deposits

Remember that when you see white streaks, they’re inclined to be salt crystals, which can scrape and scrape the ground when crushed beneath a shoe. Before fixing the streaks, wrap an old towel across a horizontal mop and use the mop to soak up any standing water left by freshly melted snow; then vacuum thoroughly. When mopping hardwood floors, it is better to dab on the water rather than push it around to stop it from seeping between the floorboards and causing harm to the timber. If your vacuum has a roller, then be sure it is disengaged to prevent scratching the finish.

Wiping the Streaks Away

If your flooring is constructed from tile, vinyl or another insulation stuff, use a string mop to propagate the vinegar solution liberally it over. The vinegar has to dissolve the salt, which might take a few minutes, so leave the ground wet for many minutes; then mop again with clear water. A more delicate process is appropriate for hardwood or slate floors. Mist the streaky areas using a spray bottle, and dab them wipe them gently with an absorbent towel after a few minutes. Insert an ounce of vegetable oil to the mixture to keep the ground shiny.

Preventing Streaky Floors

If white, streaky floors are an issue in your residence, you might need to enroll a shoes-off policy in the doorway, where a mat or a piece of cardboard should cover the ground to protect it. Keep a spray bottle of vinegar and water and a towel in the door. Invite guests and family to take care of water spots on uncovered parts of the ground by wiping off the water, spraying the affected region, and wiping off the spray. A ready supply of slippers in the door as an invitation for household member and guests to slip into upon entry might work as a motivator for keeping salt-laden outdoor shoes off your floors.

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Four Top Tips to Grow Tomatoes in Containers and Pots

The fruit of the tomato plant (Solanum lycopersicum, formerly Lycopersicon esculentum) is the most popular crop in U.S. home gardens, as stated by the University of Missouri Extension site. Putting tomato crops in containers eliminates the need for an extensive inground garden to grow tomatoes. A massive tomato cultivar takes approximately 3 to 5 feet of space, based on its container’s dimensions. The care that container-grown tomato crops require differs somewhat from that of inground tomatoes, but they are able to benefit you with bountiful yields. Tomato plants are hardy at U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 11.

Choose the Proper Containers

One key to successful container gardening is to utilize large enough containers. Rumors have big root systems and need a sufficient amount of dirt for them. A standard-size tomato plant needs a 4- to 5-gallon pot and does best in a container that’s at least 20 to 22 inches in diameter. Dwarf plants need 1- to 2-gallon pots or hanging baskets. If your area has hot summers, then utilize non-porous containers like plastic or glazed ceramic to cut down on the pots’ water loss. Wood containers like one-half barrels lined with plastic to slow wood deterioration are another choice. Clay pots are porous, allowing water to evaporate from the soil through the pots; tomato crops in them need more frequent watering than those in containers that are crocheted. Each container needs at least four bottom drainage holes; drill extra holes if needed.

Choose an Appropriate Variety

Some tomato cultivars grow much better in containers than other kinds. Small varieties to attempt are cherry tomatoes like “Tiny Tim,” “Tumbling Tom” and “Sweet 100 Patio.” Compact varieties developed for container gardening comprise “Pixie,” “Patio Prize” and “Patio Princess.” Dwarf varieties comprise “Florida Basket” and “Micro Tom.” Among the large cultivars that usually grow well in containers are “Celebrity,” “Early Girl,” “Jetstar” and “Sweet Tangerine.” Experiment with a number of your favorite varieties to see which ones grow best for you personally.

Utilize Clean Growing Materials

Container-grown tomatoes are more likely than inground tomatoes to encounter anxiety and to become vulnerable to diseases. Give your plants a good start using clean containers and potting mixes. Before planting, scrub all portions of the pots with water and soap, and rinse them well with water. The upcoming tasks are to disinfect them with a solution that’s 1 part household bleach and nine parts water, and to rinse them thoroughly with water. Garden soil shouldn’t be utilized because it comprises fungal and bacterial pathogens and often doesn’t drain well enough. Instead, use a bought, well-draining, soilless potting mix which contains vermiculite or perlite. Cut a layer of mesh window screen to fit the interior bottom of every pot, and set the screen in place before inserting the soilless potting mix so that the mixture doesn’t leak from the pot’s drainage holes.

Supply Enough Water

Tomato plants grown in containers are far more exposed than inground tomatoes to environmental conditions because they are not surrounded by just as much insulating material growing medium. Your container tomato crops’ potting mix may have to be watered every day and sometimes twice per day, particularly if the containers are at full sunlight or so are clay pots. Windy conditions also imply more frequent watering. Water each container potting mixture until you see water coming from the container’s bottom drainage holes. Curiously, tomatoes’ potting mix shouldn’t be constantly wet, which encourages root rot. If moist potting mixture clings to your finger or a wooden pen once you inserted it into the first two inches of a tomato plant’s potting mix and eliminated it, then the potting mix doesn’t need watering.

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How Can We Get More Nitrogen in Our Soil to Boost Nice Grass?

Since grass relies heavily on nitrogen to stay healthy and green, the chemical is often the first nutrient applied to a lawn. However, before applying hydrogen to your grass, test your soil to verify that it’s, in actuality, nitrogen deficient. If the soil sample indicates nitrogen is necessary, employ one of several effective methods to bring the mineral to your soil. Always follow label directions when using any chemicals, such as fertilizers.

Organic Approaches

Over-seeding your lawn using Dutch clover (Trifolium repens) is a simple, organic and reliable way of locking nitrogen in your soil. The clover is hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 9. Another effective organic strategy — which keeps the grass mixture more traditional looking — would be to employ up to 1/2-inch of finished compost — the kind that looks, smells and feels like rich, dark, crumbly ground — into your lawn, a procedure known as overdressing. Another easy way to help your lawn get the nitrogen it needs would be to leave the grass clippings on the lawn after each mowing; nitrogen is reabsorbed as the clippings decompose. This alone can provide as much as half of the nitrogen a lawn needs.

Weed and Feed

A more common method for introducing nitrogen into the soil is to utilize a commercial weed and feed product. This product operates by employing a pre-emergent herbicide that destroys the weeds, while at the same time adding crucial nutrients like nitrogen and potassium back into your soil. Since weed and feed products are used in early spring before weeds have broken through the dirt, the absorbed nitrogen will provide your lawn an early-season increase.

Standard Fertilizer

Nitrogen needs of grass varies considerably based on the species: fescues, generally hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 to 7, depending on number, often need considerably less hydrogen than perennial ryegrass, hardy in USDA zones 4 to 8, while a few warm-season grasses require more of the mineral than cool-season varieties. Because many warm-season grasses tend to be heavy consumers of nitrogen, you are able to apply the mineral on a monthly basis throughout the growing season. Disperse involving .05 to 1.0 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per month (based on number), April through August. For lawns using cool-season grasses, apply .09 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet twice a year.

Too Much of a Good Thing

Care should be taken with any of these methods used to boost nitrogen in the lawn, especially with fertilizers, because too much nitrogen can cause additional issues. Although a fast greening of the grass often occurs with an overabundance of nitrogen, the lawn actually become less strain tolerant as its carbohydrate reserves are more rapidly depleted. This can cause a diminished root system or grass blades which become overly succulent — causing the blades to lose moisture too fast. Excessive nitrogen can also cause thatch accumulation.

Manage With Care

When using chemicals like weed and feed fertilizer or products, care should be taken to closely follow the manufacturer’s education. Safety equipment, like gloves and goggles, could be required. Other factors include applying the chemical when it is not windy, taking care not to pollute waterways or storm sewer systems and keeping young children and pets off the treated area for the manufacturer’s designated time frame. When using weed and feed product, read the caution region to ensure it won’t cause damage to the type of grass on your lawn.

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When Does Crepe Myrtle Leaf & Bloom in Zone 9?

The crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia spp.) Is an attractive, multi-stemmed shrub or tree that’s named for its blossomsthat resemble colorful crepe paper. Several types exist, including the common crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica), also a 25-foot-tall plant, and also the Japanese crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia fauriei), which is now 50 feet tall. These plants develop in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 through 9 and 6 through 9, respectively. In zone 9, crepe myrtles leaf out in spring and bloom in summer, together with some minor differences from year to year.

Ancient Spring Growth

The crepe myrtle is deciduous, dropping its leaves and becoming contaminated during winter, when it consumes little if any water through its roots. At USDA zone 9, winter temperatures may drop to 20 or even 30 degrees Fahrenheit for short periods of time, with the last frost typically occurring in early March. The first signs of new life on a crepe myrtle look a couple weeks later, once the inactive, or inactive, buds start to swell as the shrub begins taking up water in the soil, which starts to warm. Although spring temperatures may vary from year to year, the crepe myrtle typically has small, new leaves revealing on its branches a couple weeks after the last frost in zone 9, or at late March or early April.

A Great Spring Start

Mulching the area under a crepe myrtle will keep its roots warm during winter and early spring, however, do not mulch the plant till it’s become leafless and dormant in the fall or early winter. Mulching earlier while it’s still growing may keep the roots too warm and prevent dormancy, risking cold injury to the plant when winter arrives. Add 3 or 4 inches of straw or shredded bark on the ground under the plant’s canopy, keeping mulch back in its base to prevent moisture accumulation. In early spring, remove the winter mulch to get rid of overwintering insects and their eggs, renewing it with a brand new layer to help conserve soil moisture during the upcoming season. In spring, when you observe buds begin to swell, then water the crepe myrtle regularly to get it off to a good start, but do not overwater. Aim for approximately 1 inch of water weekly, including rainfall.

Summer Flowering

Like all plants, the crepe myrtle gets a signal to begin flowering when days get more as the season progresses. The specific timing of flowering may vary a bit among the various cultivars, but generally crepe myrtles start blooming in mid or early season, and they frequently continue thriving through summer and into early fall, with some varieties flowering until the first frost. You can prolong blooming on a crepe myrtle by removing spent flowers before they dry and produce seeds, called deadheading. This stimulates the plant to set out another flush of blossoms, although this may be smaller compared to the initial crop of blossoms.

Potential Problems

The crepe myrtle is generally a powerful, easy-to-grow plant, but it can attract aphids, soft-bodied insects that suck sap from leaves and can cause them to wilt and dry up. If uncontrolled, aphids may also assault blossom buds and destroy them until they open. Aphids are best controlled by spraying the crepe myrtle with insecticidal soap, diluted at a speed of 6 tablespoons per gallon of water. Spray until all plant parts are dripping wet, and repeat each week or 2 as required. Crepe myrtles can also be prone to powdery mildew, a fungus that causes fluffy white spots on leaves, and sooty mould, another fungus that grows as blackish, fuzzy places. Both may interfere with development of foliage and flowering. They’re best prevented by planting a crepe myrtle where air cools well, regularly clearing away debris from under the crust, and watering only with a soaker hose or drip irrigation to keep foliage dry.

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