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Geranium buds disappearing? Inspect for caterpillars, eating them from the inside out

Geranium buds disappearing? Inspect for caterpillars, eating them from the inside out

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Geraniums

If your geraniums are looking tattered, the tobacco budworm most likely is to blame. It tunnels and feeds at night, ruining buds and blooms.

If your geraniums are failing to flower, take a close look at the flower bud.

There’s a good chance you’ll see a hole in the bud — created by the tobacco budworm. This caterpillar drills into flower buds, where it can feed on the petals and be protected from both predators and pesticides. It’s best to pick off the caterpillars when you see them.

» Don’t panic if you see oak trees with bunches of brown, dead leaves in the canopy. This is the work of the twig girdler/twig pruner. There are little to no options to manage the insect, but the damage is cosmetic.

» Cooler weather will jump-start the ripening process on tomatoes.

» Now is the time to divide and clean up German iris beds. Remove any rhizomes that show signs of insects or disease. And be sure to thin your German iris every three to four years.

» Avoid cutting down your peonies until after a frost or freeze.

» We are approaching lawn overseeding time. Aeration can help prepare your lawn. Choose seed that is locally blended and adapted for your area. Tall fescue seed can start going down mid-August; bluegrass can go down late August into early September.

» The extension’s food safety team can test your gauge pressure canner. Call 402-444-3668 to make an appointment.

The author is horticulture program coordinator for the Nebraska Extension in Douglas-Sarpy Counties.

Omaha World-Herald: Inspired Living

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