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Color Up With Containers

air date: January 28, 2017

Accent and color up the garden or patio with containers that extend your plant diversity. Marcus Young from Bloomers Garden Center combines succulents, edibles and flowers that transition from winter to summer. On tour in San Marcos, weaver Lydia Kendrick unites multi-level gardens with vivacious color. Find out why lemon tree leaves shriveled with odd markings, and how to structure up in sun and shade with evergreen, drought-tough butterfly iris. And compare pesticides for options when problem pests are out of control.

Question of the Week

What’s wrong with my lemon tree?

Several viewers sent in questions about similar issues on their citrus plants. Art and Marie Crowe found damage on their Meyer lemon and tangerine. The damage is located on the new growth and appears to have tunnels going through the leaf.

On Sanjay Sundaram’s otherwise healthy trees, the leaves are shriveled, even though his plants produced buckets of delicious fruit in 2016.

We suspected leaf-miner insects as the culprits, and contacted Texas A&M AgriLife Extension fruit specialist Monte Nesbitt for his expert advice. He confirmed our leaf miner suspicions, saying that 2016 had shown a particular abundance of these pests, with them occurring much farther north than usual.

In areas with warm winters, they’re seen every year, and cause damage by feeding on soft, tender new leaves, thus interfering with normal growth, pinching the leaves in spots and causing them to be deformed and shriveled-looking.

The life cycle of these insects coincides with the normal summer flush of new growth, and although the damage is unsightly, it doesn’t affect the plant’s overall health or inhibit its production of good quality fruit, there’s no need for pesticides.

Simply prune out the affected areas, thus encouraging the emergence of new growth after the danger of leaf-miner feeding has passed for another year.

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Plant of the Week

Butterfly Iris

Butterfly Iris

Dietes

Butterfly iris looks great as a structural accent in sun and shade or planted in masses to define a walkway. In the genus Dietes, and like its relatives in the genus Iris, butterfly iris has a linear, upright growth habit and underground stems. Butterfly iris may be planted in wet areas of the garden, but will also do just fine when watered sparingly, making them a very versatile landscape choice. Plant in light shade, or in full sun for better blooms in late spring. Growing to about 3 feet tall, plus another foot when in flower, and up to four feet wide, butterfly iris should be given plenty of space for the long-term. But that may take a few years, so consider planting annuals or other, smaller, perennials in close proximity until that time. Hardy to Zone 8, butterfly iris will survive to temperatures to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. In areas with mild winters, it will remain evergreen, but when temperatures fall below freezing, the leaves will die back and the plant will be perennial, emerging from the ground the following spring. If that’s the case in your area, you’ll have to shear off those dead leaves in order to reinvigorate the plant. At some point, you’ll also need to dig up and divide butterfly iris, which, if planted in a large mass, may be an overwhelming task.

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