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Q This year, about 20 percent of my potatoes have holes or indentations, as if something is chewing on them, however, I have never seen any tunnel that indicates a mole or vole, etc. Have you heard of this before? Any suggestion?

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TO The damage is likely caused by wireworms. These are the larvae of the click beetle. The damage you describe is typical of the wireworm and can also include tunnels in potato tubers. the Alberta Agriculture Site has an excellent link that I included online with information on the history of wireworms, life cycles, and how to control these pests.

This link addresses more business aspects of wireworm control. There are a couple of things you can try as a homeowner. Since these larvae overwinter in the ground, keep your eyes open for them as you dig in the spring and remove any that you see. You can also bury the bait potatoes in the spring and check them regularly for larvae and remove any you can find.

The other option that may be more effective is to rotate the crops. Move your potato patch to another location regularly. This helps prevent the wireworm problem, while also controlling the scab.

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Onion bulbs

Q I have been planting garlic in the fall for many years with great success. I wonder if I can also plant onion bulbs in the fall.

TO The best time to plant onion sets is early spring. March or April is the ideal time, but if the weather is not conducive, you can plant until May.

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Cold weather lawn

Q When does the weather get too cold to lay grass? My landscaper proposes to put grass in my garden on October 14. Can grass take root before winter?

TO Fall can be an ideal time for laying grass. Cooler temperatures and more humid conditions are perfect for preventing your lawn from overheating, as is often the case in the summer months. Turfgrass usually takes six weeks to establish a good root system and a minimum of two weeks for at least a shallow root system.

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The ideal theoretical window for laying grass is between May 1 and October 30, but actual weather conditions and frost will determine success.

Secret of supertunia

Q I am getting very frustrated trying to grow the supertunias. They start out looking great in the spring and then the summer heat hits and they start to fade and start looking scruffy. I water them regularly and feed them every two weeks with ultra bloom. What am I doing wrong?

TO You are not doing anything wrong, but you are missing an important step. With the supertunias it is important to cut them in midsummer. In July they need a good haircut to revive them and help the plant focus its energy on producing more flowers instead of wasting that energy on existing stems and leaves.

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It had been shown to me a few years ago when I went to a friend’s house and was blown away by the most massive display of supertunias I had ever seen. His hanging basket had petunias hanging six feet deep. Then my friend informed me that he was pruning a lot in July. The more research I did on this, the more I discovered that this pruning technique can produce a large number of flowers. I included two excellent videos with this online column that show two slightly different pruning techniques; both methods work, so it is a personal choice.

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We apologize, but this video could not be loaded.

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This summer was an excellent example of a hot summer that affected petunias and other annuals. Pruning and maintaining well-watered and fed plants will result in much healthier plants capable of withstanding high temperatures and performing at their best.

Learn more by emailing questions to [email protected], reading previous columns, or my book Ask jerry. You can also follow me on twitter @ justaskjerry01.

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Reference-edmontonjournal.com

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