Keeping us on our toes

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Irene gave us our first wake-up call of the 2011 hurricane season. Say “Good Night Irene,” snag some extra water and canned goods at the store, and double check your storm plan.

Remember what you should have on hand for the post-storm reckoning, and buy these now: extra shade cloth; copper-based and other fungicides; rope; chain saw with oil and gas; pruning and hand shears; gloves; hose-end sprayer and water-soluble fertilizer.

Place orchids on ground
beneath shade house
benches before a storm.

For a fuller storm checklist, see the Summer 2011 issue of The Tropical Garden. It is online if you have lost track of the magazine. Click “publications” and scroll to page17.

Here are some reminders:

Attend to palms to prevent bud rot. Use 1 Tbs. Kocide to a gallon of water and pour into the growing point. Cut away fronds that have twisted over the new spear, but allow others to remain. Avoid using this copper-based fungicide on dendrobiums, gesneriads, ferns and bromeliads.

Cover the roots of any hardwood trees that may go over, keeping them damp until you can reset the trees. Cut back some roots to get them back into the ground, and prune one-third to one-half of the canopy, but allow as many leaves to remain as possible for photosynthesis.

Treat reset trees as transplants, water daily for two to four weeks, and then gradually reduce watering. A light solution of water-soluble fertilizer can be used on the area of roots that remain in the ground.

Put orchids on the ground before a storm, and spray with Captan and Dithane M-45 (1 tablespoon each per gallon of water) after the storm. Banrot and Subdue are systemic fungicides that fight root-rot diseases. Cleary’s 3336 is good for foliar diseases.