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I planted a
red Japanese maple lour years ago
and every year by July, the leaves
become wilted, brown out and shed.
This tree is in full sun. Last year 1
read that Japanese maples should
not be grown in full sun, so I moved
the tree to a partially shaded site.
However, my leaves are wilting
again and I do not want a repeat erf
my previous years' experience.
Leaves are enclosed for your ex
ANSWER: The Japanese maple
(Acer oalmatum) is one of the most
beautiful ?n*al! landscape tress ever
to cross the Pacific. Japanese
maples prefer partially shaded sites
and many cultivars tend to
have leaf scorch in full sun locations.
The leaves you sent me show
symptoms typical of leaf scorch due
to heat, excessive fertilizer, salt spray
or lack of adequate soil moisture
Moving a four-year-old tree, no
matter how careful you are, pro
duces transplant shock for the plant.
I suspect your plant has not devel
oped a well-branched root system
and that is the reason for your wilted
and brow 11 leaves ihis yeai. Keep iiic
soil well watered this summer!
Dear Plant Doctor: I recently
. _ J . .It W*??
iiiuvcu IU ivyaou UWM1
England. The builder cleared the
ocean front lot, added top soil and
seeded with bermudagrass. Before
the grass germinated, sand blew
across the lot and covered the newly
planted soil. I watered each morning
and managed to save about 15per
cent of the area from turning brown.
I have received a lot of different
advice for this oceanfront lot. 1
would appreciate your thoughts ss tc
a reasonable solution.
? Topsail Beach
ANSWER: No turf grass will do
well for an oceanfront kit in south
eastern N.C Salt spray, blowing
sand, poor irrigation water distribu
tion (due to the wind), poor soil fer
tility, and a multitude of other factors
make having a "nice" lawn nearly
impossible for an oceanfront lot
Lawn grasses that do best at the
beach are bermudagrass, St. Aug
ustine grass and zoysiagrass. Carpet
grass, bah i a grass and centipede grass
are poor performers at the beach. An
irrigation system is essential. Plant
nutrients leach readily in beach
?n?H? so slow- release fertilizers or
regular use (every two to three
weeks) of fertilizer is required.
The most reasonable, practical,
and environmentally sound vegeta
tion for an oceanfront lot is a combi ?
ce amApm haHwratt. sea
oats, saltmeadow cordgrass, penny
wort, yaupon holly, silverleaf cro
ton ami greenbrier. Most of these
native or naturalized plants will
thrive in the frontal or back dune ar
eas without a lot of extra care.
I am sending you the USDA pub
lication -Plants for Coastal Dunes"
and " Carolina Lawn. " Good luck!
Dear Plant Doctor. I hear a lot
about chinch bugs in lawns but I
never remember you writing about
them. What are chinch bugs? Should
- 1 check my lawn for them? How do
- you control them? ? South port
ANSWER: The Southern Chinch
bug (Blissu insularis) is a "fruit-fly
sized pest in the southeastern United
States on thick mats of St Aug
ustine grass and other warm season
turf grasses in sunny, open areas.
r> linfti bugs live in the thatch layer
beftvsss rhc soil ssd ssrfsss of ?
sod. The nymphs (immature
extract plant juices with needle-like
mouth puts from the basal portions
of the grass plant Detection of high
chinch biig pujislsscss sftss r- -
because the maects are to
small and move so fast
High populations of chinch bug
nymphs most often occur in July or
August and first cause yellow
blotches (two to three feet in diame
ter) that often become brown. As the
?tnass dies, nymphs move to green
frLSTof Sedead qx*s. caatog
the Woiches to rapidly enlarge- Earty
svtrotoms of chinch bugs resemble
water stress, so if your St A"*"*"*
looks dry but the sod is moot you
may have chinch bugs.
Chinch bugs often weaken other
wise healthy St Augustine grass.
predisposing it to brown patch, win
ter loll and other turf grass peats.
Chinch bugs arc susceptible to a
number of naturally occurring fun
gal diseaaes during cool wet cloudy
weather. If weather is hot and dry,
the operation of a sprinkler system
helps prevent chinch bug damage.
Chinch bugs can be controlled by
the application of label-recommend
ed rates of Diazinon, Scvimol, Durs
ban, Oftanol, Tempo or other insec
ticide labeled for home lawn use.
Dear Plant Doctor: I have
blotches in my lawn that are dying. 1
sent sod samples to the Extension
office and no pests or diseases were
found. These spots stay powder dry
no matter how long I irrigate The
soil just will not accept the water. I
have never seen anything like this.
What is the problem? ? Fayettevile
ANSWER: Thatch, fungi, and
soil microorganisms work together
in some situations to produce grassy
areas that repel water. The soil in
these localized dry spots is often re
ferred to as hydrophobic aofl.
Scientists are not sure for all the
reasons behind hydrophobic soils.
but grass living in these areas soon
wilts and dies. A drop of water
placed on a hydrophobic soil will
not be absorbed by the soil p?rtick*
but dances around on the soil as if
the soil were wax paper. A wetting
agent (e.g. detergent or soap) is
needed to "wet" these soils once
they become hydrophobic.
To cure localized dry spots, try
mixing one or two tablespoons of
dishwashing detergent (e.g. Ivory
liquid) into gallon of water and ap
plying in a sprinkler can to the dry
spots in your lawn. Irrigate thor
oughly after soapy water applica
tion. Soapy water can kill grass if
not irrigated into the soil. The soap
water will wet the soil in these spots
and allow irrigation water to pene
trate to the root zooe of your grass.
I am sending you a new publica
tion "Using Wetting Agents on Soil
? AG439-25" by Dr. J.V. Baird and
J.P. Zublena at N.C State University
for additional reading on hydropho
Send your gardening questions
and comments to the Plant Doctor,
P.O. Box 109, Bolivia NC 28422.
JV7WE 22 - 28,