Mild winters uncover peach-tree variations

Q. Three peach trees in my yard are all showing various stages of growth, from flowering to just a few leaves. One also has a shoot coming from near the soil. Why such a difference?

A. Most likely the peach trees are different varieties and each has a specific cold requirement. After a mild winter, the differences in the trees become evident as the variations in growth you noticed. The one tree in bloom likely needs the least amount of cold to flower and begin growth. The one only starting to grow leaves needs more cold — Sometimes these never flower. Hopefully the cold requirements of all the trees can be met another year.

Shoots that grow from the base of peach trees are likely coming from the root stock. These should be removed back to the original tree portions to prevent the shoots from becoming the dominant trunks and bearing poor if any fruits.

Q. A large tree that sheltered a collection of bromeliads had to be removed from my yard. I would like to keep the plants, but some are not looking healthy. What should I do?

A. Very few bromeliads like a full-sun exposure, especially during the hotter months. Even if sun-tolerant, all may suffer some leaf burn due to the sudden exposure to the sun. Unless you know the varieties are sun-tolerant, they are best moved to a shady spot. If needed, you can create a shaded area with lattice or shade cloth found at home-improvement stores or garden centers.

Q. My tomato plants are developing brown leaves from the base. How can I prevent this problem?

A. First, check to make sure the plants have adequate fertilizer. A lack of the major nutrients can cause a decline of the lower leaves. Tomatoes should be fed every 3 to 4 weeks with a vegetable garden product. You can purchase slow-release products that feed the plants for three or more months. Just follow the label.

Bacterial or fungal leaf spots may also be affecting the lower leaves. Help control these problems by watering the plants at the base and during the early-morning hours so the foliage that may be wet can dry by midmorning. Then consider use of a fungicide. A copper fungicide found at most garden centers can help control the common leaf-spot organisms. Follow the label instructions for the best control.

Q. My lawn has a spot with a fine bladed weed that looks like grass but is being called sedge. What can I do to obtain control?

A. Sedge is usually the greenest, shiniest and most upright weed in your lawn. And yes, it does look like grass. Most likely your form of sedge is also known as green kyllinga. As the weed grows, notice the stems and flower stalks are triangular. It might make a good lawn, except it needs lots of water and normally dies back during the winter to expose bare ground.

Luckily, sedge is easy to control with herbicides found at your local garden center. Products you might select include Image Kills Nutsedge, Ortho Nutsedge Killer and Sedgehammer. The latter is found at independent garden centers. Usually the products take several weeks to affect the sedge, so give them time to work and follow label instructions.

Q. I have noticed crinum bulbs listed in the monthly calendar plantings. Where do I find the bulbs?

A. Crinums are a common plant in many older Florida landscapes. They produce large lance-like leaves and send up long stalks toped with white, pink, yellow or bicolored blooms. They are very tolerant of Florida soils and make great additions to perennial gardens.

Bulbs are often found at independent garden centers during the spring season. A few may offer crinum plants growing in containers. One white selection is native and can be found at native-plant nurseries. Various hybridizers located throughout the Southern United States market their crinum bulbs on the Internet.

Q. My two beautiful sagos have frizzle leaf and I applied manganese plus Epsom salts. Should I cut the brown leaves off?

A. Yellowing and browning and sometimes twisting of new sago shoots is often from a manganese-nutrient deficiency termed frizzle leaf or frizzle top. The extra manganese you applied should help, but the results are not going to be noticed until the next flush of growth. Epsom salt, which is a source of magnesium, is not going to help with this problem. Feel free to remove the yellow-to-brown leaves. Also, use of a palm fertilizer is often all you need to supply the nutrients sagos need, even though the plants are not true palms. They just look like palms.

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