Archive for July, 2018

July & August 2018 Cultural Notes & To Do List

July and August are the primary growing months for your mums. Topics of our concern and guidance during this time are: Lateral selection and control, Staking, Feeding, Pest Management, watering, Flushing your pots, Top Dressing, and Taking the buds for the final bloom selection .

1 Lateral Control:
As side laterals develop after the final pinch, select the number of laterals to carry through the summer
And remove all other side shoots. Generally the topmost lateral below the stem break is removed, as it is the weakest lateral structurally and easily broken off by accident. At this stage you should carry 1-2 more laterals than you want at bloom stage. An old saying goes “I grow one for the bug and two for me”.
Surplus laterals are removed later using the following guide. The
-For #1 & #2 cultivars carry 2 or 3 laterals initially, cull tot back to 1 or 2 in late Aug. after buds are secured
– For #3 cultivars carry 5 laterals initially and cull back to 3 or 4 in Sept. or Oct.
-For #4 & #5 cultivars carry 4 or 5 initially and cull to 2 04 3 in Sept.
-For Eearlys (#13-15, and 23-25) Cary 4-5 laterals initially and cull back in Sept. as appropriate.
-For Spiders, quills, spoons, singles etc. Follow the guide for #4s & #5s.)
2. Staking:
All the saved laterals should now be individually staked to prevent losing them to wind, rain, accidents etc. You will need stakes ranging from 3’ to 5’ depending on the normal height of the individual plants, with the majority being in the 4’ range. I make wooden stakes nominally 5/8”x 1/2” ripped from ½” or 5/8” fence boards. Others use Bamboo stakes or whatever. You should point the stakes so that when you push them into the pots they don’t tear away large sections of the roots. The stakes look better and wont rot easily if you paint or stain them green. Don’t use Pressure treated lumber! Also 4’ and 5’ heavy bamboo stakes seem to work somewhat well.
Start fastening the laterals to the stakes with 4-6 inch twistems when laterals are 1-2 foot long, being careful not to spread the laterals too soon as you can easily break of the laterals if you spread them too early.
3. Feeding & Top dressing:
Keep feeding! Keep feeding! The club sells Technigro 20-9-20+ water-soluble fertilizer at our meetings @ $3.00 per 1# bag. This is the recommended fertilizer for mid season growing-July & August. While other fertilizers may be your choice this balanced fertilizer has been our staple since we started growing in soilless. Miracle grow is not recommended as it generally contains too much Nitrogen and tends to produce much taller stems at the expense of stronger roots. However it works well on some plants such as specimen plants where much stronger nitrogen dosage is used to produce the many laterals i.e. 11 to 20 laterals.
-After 3 weeks in the final pot start the summer feeding program with Technigro
20-9-20+. Standard dosage for all is 1 tsp per gallon of water, fed once a week. If you feed with every watering you should cut the dosage to half that or less. It is common to gradually increase the dosage up to double that for heavy feeders i.e. Connies, Dukes, Jessies, Ralph Lambert, Gigantics, Harry Gees, Elsie Prosser etc. On the other side, most reds and Purples and most incurves require a lighter feeding level such as 2/3 tsp per Gal. Keep in mind that it is very easy to overfeed so be prudent. Watch and feel the leaves to gage the fertilizer needs. If leaves tend to be hard and curl up or the upper leaves turn over you are feeding too much.
-Some plants may tend to be yellowish instead of green (Jessie Habgoods, Dukes, Lundys and Connies) for instance. If you have yellow plants first try drying the plant out with less water. If unsuccessful feed ½ to 1 tsp Epsom Salts (Magnesium Sulphate) per plant. Leaf feeding with liquid Iron products such as Sequesterine or chelated Liquid Iron will also help green up the plants. Also, you might need to add some lime to sweeten your mix. Try adding ½ tsp per pot of slacked/hydrated lime. Ph control should be addressed for all your plants. If you have general yellowing on new leaves or green mold on the pot or soil, it’s a sign of acidity. In general you could add ½ to 1 tsp slacked lime once a month until housing. In general a ph from 6.25 to 6.5 is desired. If you increase the ph too much on reds and purples the bloom color will be less bright.
– Continue this feeding program right up to the bud formation, then drop to approximately ½ tsp per gallon through most of the bloom formation. Heavy feeding during the early bud growth can seriously deform the buds.
-Water thoroughly when you water but don’t water until the plant needs water or feed. Jessies and Dukes generally require less water than most, so don’t water them just because you are walking by with the hose. On the other side, Gigantics and Pat Brophy need more frequent watering. In following your watering program, it is good to let your pots dry out a tad before rewatering as that tends to promote stronger roots. Note: I did not say you should let your pots dry out during the starting stages, nor during the bloom stage.

4. Flushing:
If you are growing in a straight Soilless mix such as M&R you should flush your pots every 4-6 weeks to get the excess salts out of you medium. If you are mixing compost or loam with your soilless the excess salts will be absorbed by the soil and flushing isn’t generally necessary. Never the less it’s a good idea to give your pots a good flushing once or twice. For flushing, fill the pot with clear water, let it drain, refill and drain twice more. After you have completed the flushing, there will be little feed left so it’s a good idea to add a new weeks supply of fertilizer.

5. Top Dressing:
Top dress the pots in late July or early August and again when the buds show color(around Sept 1 to 15). Spread 1 to 2 hands full of your final potting mix on each pot. This gives the upper roots a better growing environment.

6. Pest Management:
Continue to review your pest control program every 1-2 weeks. You need to keep the plants free of black aphids, other bugs and fungal diseases, especially before the blooms open. Aphids in the blooms are unsightly and can cause your bloom to be downgraded or disqualified by the judges.
. Marathon systemic insecticide is applied once per growing season to each pot at the rate of ½ tsp per pot to control aphids, (particularly black aphids). It is imperative that all members use Marathon as an outbreak of black aphids can destroy your whole crop and spread any virus you may have to many other plants. Some other insects such as leaf hoppers, leaf rollers, earwigs and Capsid bugs need to be picked off the plants or they will invariably ruin the bud. Earwigs are particularly dangerous, and a product called Seven when spread around the roots and or sprayed on the plant can be very effective in controlling them.

7. Disease Control:
For disease control, we need to spray regularly with a fungicide during the summer and Fall season. Fungal damage to the leaves will result in significant penalties by the judges.The plants you grow are fairly lush which makes them a great target for Fungi etc. I use Daconil exclusively. It’s the best I know. It covers Botrytus, Early blight, Rust, Late blight, Ring spot, Powdery mildew and other diseases that we typically associate with the heavily fertilized mums. It’s legal and available at some garden stores. I know that McLendon’s carries it. It’s also in demand by Rose and Bean growers. A word of caution: as advertised on the bottle, always use a good fine mesh Nasal filter with this and don’t expose yourself, others, or pets to this as it can be very harmful. In particular you don’t want to get any of this spray in your lungs. See detailed uses and precautions attached to the package. Spray with fungicides every 2-3 weeks, don’t wait until the fungus is visible. I always thoroughly spray my pots when I clean them for housing.

8. Taking the buds:
From mid July to late August the terminal buds will start to appear on your laterals, followed by a ring of smaller buds just below the main bud. It is necessary that the ring of smaller buds be removed, leaving only the single bud on each lateral. This process is termed “Taking the Bud”. You need to let the ring of smaller buds develop to near ¼ inch before attempting to remove them so as to prevent damaging the main stem and primary bud. To remove the buds simply push them sideways with your thumb and they will easily break off. Don’t pinch them off. At this time it’s a good idea to add the bloom support stick i.e a small 16” long stick, tied to the main stem and to the support stake. This support will keep the growing stem straight and the bloom sitting square on top.

As a note we will be changing our fertilizer mixture by adding more Potash after the bud is taken. The August newsletter will cover this in more detail.

Good Growing, Don JULY To Do List: DRS, 7-1-13

July 2018 Newsletter and Meeting Notice

Seattle, Washington

Email us at: steve at ecamumclub dot org


MEETING OF THE ECA – THURSDAY JULY 12, 2018 at 7 PM at the Seattle Police Athletic Association Office (SPAA) site at 11030 East Marginal Way South, Tukwila. We are meeting in the North Class Room now.

Puyallup Fair – August 31 to September 23 Click here for more info: Washington State Fair Info
It looks like 3 classes – 1749, 50 & 51 for mums on page 9.

2018 NCS US National Show & Convention at Sheraton of Reston Virgina. October 25-28, 2018.
Details here

ECA Fall Show at Volunteer Park Conservatory – November 2nd, 3rd & 4th (with set up on Oct 31, Bloom Prep. Nov 1 & Judging Friday November 2.

Awards Banquet at Angelos– November 15.

-We will be making our last run for M&R soilless mix this month. Our next delivery will probably be in Jan. 2019, so be sure to order what you will need to carry you through this year. (You’ll need some for top dressing).

The following supplies will be available at the July meeting to support your final potting on.
Pre-Orders from Speciality Soils
– M&R Mix $6.25 per 1 cu ft. bag -Call Ronnie by Tues, July 11th with your order.
– Pumice (coarse) $4.00 per 1 cu ft. -Call Ronnie by Tues with your order
– Farmyard Manure $ 2.25 per 1 cu ft. -Call Ronnie by Tues with your order

Other Club supplies available
– Mid Season Fertilizer, 20-9-20+ Use this two weeks after final potting to 9″ or 8″.
– Early Season fertilizer, 12-45-10
Marathon 1% Systemic Insecticide (For control of black aphids)
-Twistems of various lengths
-Name tags-

June 14, 2018 ECA Meeting Minutes

Present: Steve Joyner, Sue Joyner, Mark Ross, Erika Harris, Satoshi Nakayama, Lizzie Whetstone
Cultural presentation:

Steve Joyner provided education of the 3 numbers listed on fertilizer packages and how they affect plant growth.
These numbers represent the percentage (by weight) of the three major nutrients required for healthy plant growth – nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium (N-P-K). Each of these nutrients affects plant growth differently.

The first number is nitrogen. A bag of 24-8-4 has 24 percent total nitrogen. Nitrogen provides plants with the ability to produce more chlorophyll, which in turn allows plants to grow quickly. With each additional nitrogen application, plants will grow taller and develop a darker green color.

The second number is phosphorus. A bag of 24-8-4 would contain 8 percent phosphorus. Phosphorous aids in root development and increases flowering ability and bloom size. High-phosphorous fertilizer should be used when plants are being established.

The third number is potassium. A bag of 24-8-4 has 4 percent potassium. Potassium guards the plant against diseases and aids in drought protection and cold tolerance. It also serves a role in improving root development and helps in the process of photosynthesis.

How does this translate to the fertilizers we use?

Early season fertilizer 12-45-10 is high in phosphorus which promotes strong root development
Mid-season fertilizer 20-9-20+ promotes overall growth, disease protection, root development & color
Late season fertilizer 4-18-38 is high in potassium which promotes root and top growth and keeps plants healthy and balanced.

Discussed Stopping Dates – most plants are stopped April 15th through June 1st – refer to cultivar list on the website for specific cultivar stopping dates.

Steve Joyner demonstrated potting up from 6 inch to 9 inch pot.
Place a piece of broken pot in the bottom of the pot to keep the drain clear.
Place about 1-2 inches of dirt in the bottom of the pot.
Add Marathon systemic to control black aphids.
Place the 6” root ball on top of the dirt so that the top of the root ball is 1 to 2 inches below the rim of the pot.
Fill around the root ball and stake in place with a shingle or bamboo stake.

When potting take place after June 1st consider dropping down one pot size because the roots will not have enough time to fill the larger pots.

After 3 weeks in the final pot start a mid-summer feeding program (1 to 2 Teaspoons of 20-10-20 fertilizer per gallon of water. Watch leaves to gauge fertilizing. If leaves become hard or curled then you are overfeeding. If leaves are weak and lighter green then more fertilizer would help. If leaves are yellow try drying them out. If drying the plant doesn’t help try feeding ½ teaspoon Epsom salts per plant or leaf feed liquid iron. Do not over feed liquid iron.

Review pest management program every 2 weeks. Spray with a fungicide every 2 weeks- Ortho Funginex or Daconil are recommended.

Soil discussion:
Final potting mix – cultural notes recommendation – M&R Soilless-6 parts, Compost or loam-4 parts, coarse pumice-1 part, Horse manure-1/2 part, Alfalfa Meal- a hand full.

Lateral Control discussion:

At this early stage you should carry 1-2 more lateral than you want at the bloom stage.

Surplus laterals are removed later in the summer using the following guide.
For #1 & #2 cultivars, carry 2 or 3 laterals initially, cull to 1 or 2 in Aug.
For #3 cultivars, carry 5 laterals and cull Sept. or Oct.
For #4 & b#5 cultivars, carry 4 to 5 laterals and cull to 2 to 3 in Sept.
For Earlies (13-15 and 23-25) carry 4-5 laterals and cull to 2-3 in Sept.
For Spiders, Quills, Spoons, Singles etc. follow the guide for #4 and #5.

Cutting back to the few laterals seems to be a most difficult task for the novice. You must do it however if you wish to get large blooms.

Staking discussion:

During final potting stage a stake should be placed along the main plant stem and tied to it to support and protect the plant. As the side laterals develop it will be necessary to add longer stakes that can support each lateral all the way to bud development. Do not spread the new laterals too far apart when staking, as one or more could be broken off. In other words let the laterals grow till they can be easily tied to the new stakes.

Business meeting:
May meeting minutes were approved by Steve Joyner and Mark Ross
Treasurers report:
Total Savings & Checking (as of 6/13/18)
Cash on Hand (as of 6/13/18)

Fall Show dates changed:
A motion to change the show dates was proposed and approved. (The national show is the last weekend in October):
Plant deliveries to back greenhouse, Wednesday Oct. 31, Thursday Nov. 1 between 10am and 3pm
Show set up/prep Thursday Nov. 1 from 4pm to 6pm (or later as needed)
Judging Friday Nov. 2 from 9am to 12pm. Open to Public at 12pm (open house that evening?)
Show Open Saturday 3 and Sun 4 10am to 4pm
Show take down Sunday Nov. 4 from 4 – 6pm

Banquet date and location:
Due to the show date changes a motion was proposed and approved to change the Banquet date. Additionally, based upon information provided by Steve Backstrom the banquet location was selected.

Banquet date: Thurs Nov 15th at Angelo’s in Burien
6:30 pm no host bar; 7 pm dinner

Multiple bloom vases for show for late decorative entries, early English, vases of 3
A discussion ensued about purchasing glass vases for multiple bloom show entries.
5inch rim
Quantity: 3 to 4 dozen vases
Sue to investigate and provide a recommendation of vase and price at next meeting

Meeting adjourned at 8:30 pm