Showing posts with label yaks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label yaks. Show all posts

Friday, May 18, 2012

3 Ways to Deal with Root Weevils

You know you have root weevils when you see these distinctive notches on your rhododendron leaves.

Like slugs, root weevils are nocturnal creatures. To catch them chewing on your plants, you will have to go out at night with a flashlight. In fact, some gardeners do just that. They put on rubber gloves, grab a bucket and a flashlight, and go patroling the garden, picking weevils off their rhodies.

Personally, I'm not a fan of picking bugs off of anything at any time of day. I'm also not a fan of using pesticides. So what are the alternatives?

One, do nothing. Root weevils will not kill your rhododendrons. The worst that will happen is that you will have a lot of notched leaves.

Two, do something to prevent the weevils from climbing up the branches of the plant. Root weevils can't fly. The only way they can reach the leaves is to walk up the branches. Try coating the base of the plant with something sticky like Tanglefoot. The weevils can't get past that sticky barrier and your leaves will be safe from harm.

Three, plant rhododendrons that root weevils don't like. They won't bother any rhodie with fuzz, or indumentum, under the leaves, such as members of the Rh. yakushimanum family.

Need more ideas on ways to de-bug your garden? Check out Eartheasy's article on natural garden pest control.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Rhododendrons That Don't Get Over 4 Feet Tall

The Rhododendron is the state flower of Washington. Hundreds of varieties thrive in our climate and their prolific blooms are a big part of the reason why spring is such a spectacular season in this region. Still, I've had lots of clients who don't like them. Mostly, their experience of rhodies is that they get huge, turn into big green uninteresting blobs, and block views from windows.

But that doesn't have to be the case. Here's a list of compact Rhododendrons that won't outgrow their welcome.

'Bow Bells' -- 3' -- deep pink buds, light pink flowers
'Cilpinense' -- 3' -- blush pink flower touched with deeper pink; blooms early
'Daphnoides' -- 4' -- unusual foliage, glossy green rolled leaves; purple flowers
'Dora Amateis' -- 3' -- white flower; fragrant
'Impeditum' -- 2' -- purple flower; gray green foliage
'Kimbeth' -- 3' -- deep pink buds through winter open to rosy, red-pink blooms
'Mardi Gras' -- 30" -- pink, blushed white flowers
'Molly Ann' -- 2' -- rose-pink flowers
'Mrs. Furnival' -- 4' -- light pink with striking blotch in center of flower
'Novo Brave' -- 3' --bright pink with a red blotch in center
'Patty Bee' -- 18" -- clear yellow flowers
'PJM' -- 4' -- tolerates cold, heat and sun; blooms early; bright lavender pink flower
'Ramapo' -- 2' -- pinkish-violet flower
'Rosamundi' -- 4' -- light pink flower, blooms very early in the year
'Sapphire' -- 30" -- light blue flowers; fragrant
'Scarlet Wonder' -- 2' -- glossy green leaves; brilliant red bloom, award winner
'Snow Lady' -- 30" -- white flowers resemble fallen snow; early bloomer
'Unique' -- 4' -- bright pink buds open to buttery yellow bloom

R. yakushimanum (also called "yaks") -- several cultivars, including 'Yaku Angel,' 'Mist Maiden,' and 'Ken Janeck' -- 1' - 4' depending on the cultivar; very hardy; pink buds open to pink-turning-white, bell-shaped flowers; resistant to root weevil

For more information on rhododendrons, I recommend Greer's Guidebook to Available Rhododendrons, by Harold Greer. I've used my copy so much, it is literally falling apart. It's held together now with scotch tape. This book is considered by many to be "the bible" on rhododendrons with descriptions and ratings of hundreds of cultivars.  He includes color photos of many flowers, as well.