What's eat­ing my lilies?

El Dorado News-Times - - Celebrations - by putting a chicken-wire (or smaller gauge wire) cage around the ripen­ing fruit. See if that will stop them.

QI planted some Stargazer lily bulbs this spring, and they were just about ready to bloom. Well, I came out to­day and dis­cov­ered that they had been eaten down to the ground by some­thing (rab­bit or deer, I as­sume). Is there any chance they will come back next spring? I know that nor­mally they need the spent fo­liage to feed the bulb. Is there any­thing I can do to help en­sure that they re­grow?

AI would bet they will try to put on some more fo­liage now, but of course, they will not bloom this year. I would lightly fer­til­ize and keep them wa­tered and see if they be­gin to grow. If they do be­gin to put on more leaves, pro­tect them from be­ing eaten again and hope for the best. If no fo­liage reap­pears, they will prob­a­bly not be worth sav­ing.

QBe­cause we have so much shade we con­verted more than half of our back­yard to hostas. We have more than a thou­sand of var­i­ous kinds in four dif­fer­ent hostas beds. We have shared many split­tings with friends and neigh­bors over the years for their yards. We cut them down in late Novem­ber, and then we mulch the beds in Fe­bru­ary with bark mulch and fer­til­ize them with a 10-10-10 fer­til­izer. My ques­tion is — do you know of a good weed pre­ven­ter that I could spread in late Jan­uary that would keep the late win­ter and early spring weeds down and not harm the hostas? We live in Ben­tonville and love our acre-and-ahalf back­yard, but in our older years the weeds are get­ting to be too big a prob­lem for us — even with the con­stant ap­pli­ca­tion of bark mulch.

AProb­a­bly your best bet would be Sur­flan or Tre­flan (Preen is one com­mon name). Th­ese are pre-emer­gent her­bi­cides that will pre­vent an­nual weeds. It will not help con­trol peren­nial weeds or grasses, in­clud­ing nut­grass, Ber­muda grass (which thank­fully doesn’t like shade) or other peren­ni­als, but would def­i­nitely help with the an­nual sum­mer weeds.

QMy hus­band planted wa­ter­mel­ons last year, and when they were al­most ripe, some­thing bit a hole about the size of a golf ball in them and ate the in­sides. This year some­thing is bit­ing a hole in them when they are can­taloupe size. Do you think that it could be ’coons or rats? The gar­den is next to the woods but is fenced in.

ACould be rac­coons, rats or squir­rels. An­i­mal con­trol can be dif­fi­cult, but you can try to de­ter them

QI have heard you say that tomato plants will not set fruit when night­time tem­per­a­tures are above 75 de­grees. Is this also true for cu­cum­bers? A week ago, our cu­cum­ber plants were set­ting fruit so fast that we were afraid we would not be able to keep up with them. Then they seemed to just stop set­ting fruit overnight. I thought that it was be­cause I had failed to wa­ter them enough when the weather turned hot and dry so quickly, but now I won­der if the heat is to blame.

ACu­cum­ber flow­ers need a pol­li­na­tor to trans­fer pollen from the male flower to the fe­male flower. While high tem­per­a­tures won’t stop them from bloom­ing, the flow­ers may not stay open so long on a re­ally hot day as they will on a cooler day. If the plants are too dry and wilt­ing, they won’t bloom as well, ei­ther. Bees aren’t as ac­tive dur­ing the in­tense heat, and so your win­dow of pol­li­na­tion is re­duced, which can re­sult in less fruit set. If you see any mis­shapen fruit, that is also a re­sult of weak pol­li­na­tion. If you get bit­ter-tast­ing cu­cum­bers, that can be a re­sult of a stressed plant — if it was too dry or wilted.

QThis flow­er­ing plant is from my Grandma who has passed. My mother can’t re­mem­ber the name,

but th­ese were on the porch for my whole life, and I am 60. Some kind of im­pa­tiens?

Very easy to trans­plant pieces, dies down to sticks in win­ter, comes back every spring, kept in pots, brought in­side for win­ter months. I would ap­pre­ci­ate any info you can pro­vide.

AIt is an old-fash­ioned plant called achimenes.

It is re­lated to African vi­o­lets, and the plant is pro­duced from a small bulb-like struc­ture called a rhi­zome.

It will die back in the win­ter but bounce back the next spring, as long as you pro­tect it — it is not win­ter-hardy.

It can come in quite a few col­ors, but pur­ple is the most com­mon.

It does best with morn­ing sun and af­ter­noon shade and even mois­ture, but it does not tol­er­ate wet feet well.

Janet B. Car­son is a hor­ti­cul­ture spe­cial­ist for the Univer­sity of Arkansas Co­op­er­a­tive Ex­ten­sion Ser­vice. Write to her at 2301 S. Univer­sity Ave., Lit­tle Rock, Ark. 72204 or email her at jcar­son@arkansason­line.com.

Janet Car­son

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