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Kinzler: Groundcover ID, prolonging daylily bloom and radish bugs

In today's "Fielding Questions" column, Don says daylilies can keep blooming more each summer with the right care.

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A reader asks what this plant is that's expanding and creeping around to the side of their house. Special to The Forum
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Q: I listen to you on WDAY’s Lawn and Garden Radio on "The Jay Thomas Show." We have a plant that started out growing in just a small area by our deck, but now it's expanded and is creeping around to the side of the house. Do you know what it is, and is it some kind of weed? How do we get rid of it, if so? — J. Lanford.

A: The plant in your photo with the white and green variegated leaves has several common names, including bishop’s weed, goutweed and snow-on-the-mountain, although the latter is also used for several other plant types. The botanical name is Aegopdium podagraria ‘Variegatum.’

It's sometimes planted as a low-growing groundcover along shaded house foundations, and does very well in low-light, moist sites. However, it can spread easily by its underground structures, and whether you consider it a useful groundcover or a weed depends on your situation and outlook. Any plant growing where you don’t want it is a generally accepted definition of a weed.

If the snow-on-the-mountain isn’t desired, it can take persistence to remove it. If the area is small, you can dig the plants, being sure to remove all the roots and underground pieces, as plants can readily sprout from them. Or you can apply a weed killer such as Weed-B-Gon or glyphosate (original Roundup), carefully applying the herbicides following label directions only to the plants you want to kill, as these products will kill "good" plants as well.

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Q: What is the best care to have the short Stella d’Oro daylilies rebloom more through the summer? Do you cut off the "spent" flower pod stems? — Becky Brockberg.

A: There are several ways to keep Stella d’Oro daylilies blooming as much as possible. In May, spread granular 10-10-10 fertilizer around the base of the plants following label directions, and water well. This will give them good nutrition and energy to build the most flower buds possible.

Daylilies thrive best with better-than-average moisture, so water regularly throughout the growing season. Soak the soil well when watering, rather than frequent light sprinklings, because daylilies have a hefty root system. Do this about once a week, unless an inch of rain takes care of the weekly watering for you, which normally penetrates 6 to 8 inches into the soil. Mulches like shredded bark help conserve moisture.

As daylilies bloom, remove any seedpods that form after the flower petals shrivel. It's not enough to just remove the withered petals, but if a round seedpod begins to form, remove it along with the attached stem. Deadheading, as it’s called, prevents the daylilies from wasting energy on seed production, and can prolong the period of time that Stellas flower and repeat.

When all the buds on a stalk are gone, stalks can be cut down to foliage level, which approves the appearance of the planting. By following these guidelines, all daylilies will bloom their best.

Q: I tried seeding a late crop of radishes, but as they started to grow all the little leaves have tiny holes, and the poor seedlings don’t look healthy. Any suggestions? — Linda S.

A: Radishes are fast-growing and crops to enjoy late in summer and early fall can be planted in August. It only takes about 45 days from seeding until harvest.

In the heat of summer, insects are active, and your radishes are likely being attacked by flea beetles and other insects. For best results, as soon as seedlings emerge apply insecticides like Sevin, Eight or organic spinosad, which will protect the tender seedlings from being weakened by insects. Adequate moisture also helps radishes grow quickly and vigorously.

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ARCHIVE: Read more of Don Kinzler's Fielding Questions columns

If you have a gardening or lawn care question, email Don Kinzler, NDSU Extension-Cass County, at kinzlerd@casscountynd.gov or call 701-241-5707. Questions with broad appeal may be published, so please include your name, city and state for appropriate advice.

Don Kinzler
Don Kinzler, Growing Together and Fielding Questions columnist. The Forum
Contributed / Special to The Forum

Don Kinzler
Don Kinzler, Growing Together and Fielding Questions columnist. The Forum
Contributed / Special to The Forum

Don Kinzler, a lifelong gardener, is the horticulturist with North Dakota State University Extension for Cass County. Readers can reach him at donald.kinzler@ndsu.edu.
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