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Vijai Pandian column: When to prune raspberries, renovate lawn?

1:19 PM, Aug. 15, 2013  |  Comments
Cool nighttime temperatures can lead to purple stripes on peppers.
Cool nighttime temperatures can lead to purple stripes on peppers.
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Here are some questions to common late-summer gardening questions.

Why do some peppers show purple striping?

Peppers are a warm season vegetable crop that requires an optimum growing temperature of 70 to 80F. For fruit development, day and night time temperatures play a critical role.

If the daytime temperature exceeds 90F and nighttime is above 75F, peppers will tend to drop its flower. On the other extreme, under cooler night temperatures of 50s or below, pepper fruits will not mature and its fruit skin tends to develop some purple pigments.

However, the purple pigment will not affect the flavor of the fruit. Once the night temperatures spring back to the 60s, it will tend to form solid color and the fruits will start to mature.

When is the best time to renovate the lawn?

Late August to early September is the best time to renovate lawns as it provides enough time for the grass to grow and harden for the winter. Homeowners facing issues with soil compaction or too much thatch can core aerate the lawn in late autumn/early fall.

Perennial weeds like dandelion and creeping charlie are best controlled with a lawn herbicide containing triclopyr as an active ingredient during this period. Thinner lawns can be slit seeded, and dead patches can be top dressed and seeded.

Why does one half of the tree canopy tend to show early fall coloration?

Signs of early fall coloration on a mature tree can indicate the stress caused by stem girdling root. If the tree trunk looks like a telephone shaped pole to the ground, then it's likely it has stem girdling root issue.

These roots tend to encircle and girdle the base of the tree trunk and gradually restrict the movement of nutrient and water flow by compressing the bark tissue. Sometimes these roots are spotted above the ground.

Common symptoms of girdling root includes severe leaf scorch, small sized leaves, early fall color, branch dieback, think crown, and dead bark. In extreme case, girdling root can cause a tree to tip over at the base. Deep planting of the tree is the major cause for the formation of stem girdling root.

Call a certified arborist to diagnose and sever the girdling root.

When can I prune summer bearing red raspberries?

Now is the time to prune the fruiting canes after the final harvest on summer bearing red raspberries.

These spent canes (floricanes) will naturally die soon after producing fruit, and it is essential to remove those canes to allow room for newly developing shoots to grow. Also, this is the time of year to thin the new canes to about 3 to 4 per foot.

Be aware that this summer pruning is not applicable for fall bearing raspberries (also called everbearing raspberries).

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