Question # 1: My husband and I are redoing a portion of our landscape. I have always loved burning bush (Euonymus alata) but I saw it listed on a publication about invasive plants. The fall color is so beautiful. Is there a native shrub I can plant as a substitute that will also provide the same effect?
Answer #2: Burning bush is a shrub that is used in many landscapes. Its major downfall is that it is invasive, meaning it is difficult to control the spread into native areas displacing the plants that should be growing there. There a few native alternatives that will provide the fall interest you are looking for. Red chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia), Virginia sweetspire (Itea virginica), mapleleaf viburnum (Viburnum acerfolium) and highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) are native shrubs with beautiful ornamental value.
Question #2: I noticed last summer that there was an increase in the Japanese beetle population in my area from previous years. Being that the winter is relatively warm does that mean I will be seeing even more of them this summer?
Answer #2: Insect populations do vary from year to year and weather does play a large part in this phenomena. But for the Japanese beetle conditions at the time when the adult beetles are laying eggs plays the largest role in their populations. The droughty summers we experienced a few years ago greatly contributed to the decline in their numbers. The beetles need moist soil to lay their eggs and for the eggs to be viable. This happens to be another good reason homeowners should let their fescue lawns go dormant in the summer instead of watering them. The drier lawns will have less grub problems at the end of the summer.
Question #3: My vegetable garden is being shaded by my neighbor’s trees and I do not have another area in my yard where it can be moved to. My deck does receive full sun and I was wondering if it is possible to grow vegetables on my deck in containers.
Answer #3: Yes, it is possible to grow vegetables in containers. This is also a good option for homeowners that have deer pressure or soil-borne disease problems. You do not have to purchase special containers; we even have a publication with instructions on converting a five gallon bucket into a self-watering garden. We also have plans to construct a ‘salad table’ or a ‘salad box’, which are perfect for growing lettuce and other greens. Lack of sunlight should not deter you from enjoying homegrown produce this season. Look for HG 600 Container Vegetable Gardening: Healthy Harvest from Small Places and HG 601 Grow Your Own Greens with Salad Tables or Salad Boxes on our vegetable website (www.growit.umd.edu). You will find them under ‘get resources’ then ‘publications’.
“Ask the Plant and Pest Professor” is compiled from phone and email questions asked the Home and Garden Information Center (HGIC), part of University of Maryland Extension, an educational outreach of the University of Maryland. To ask a home gardening or pest control question or for other help, go to www.hgic.umd.edu. Or phone HGIC at 1-800-342-2507, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
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