Wednesday, March 30, 2011

OK... Who Sold Me This Metric Watering Can?


Today's garden quiz: Farmer Fred wants to fertilize his citrus tree. 

The fertilizer instructions state: mix 1 tablespoon of water-soluble fertilizer with one gallon of water.


Farmer Fred has a 10 liter watering can.


His measuring scoop is one ounce.

How much fertilizer should Farmer Fred mix with into a full container of water?
a) Where's a fifth-grader when you need one?
b) Where's Google when you need one?
c) What am I doing with a watering can measured in liters;   was Jimmy Carter re-elected?
d) Measuring is for wusses. Just guess!
e) Screw it. I'm going for a single malt Scotch.

Outdoor chores frequently involve mathematical calculations. How much mulch do I need for the garden bed? How many square feet are under that oak tree? And most importantly, how much beer do I need for tonight's barbecue?

For those of us who are number-impaired, here are some quick tips:
• Keep all your measuring devices in one spot. You might get lucky and find one with the right calibrations, either metric or whatever we call our weird-ass system. 

• If someone asks, play dumb.
And that's not just good advice to avoid solving garden math problems in your head. You can get away with sneaking into the kitchen and stealing the good measuring utensils once. But as soon as you answer the question, "Honey, where is the measuring cup?" with "Oh, I'll get it; it's next to the Malathion..." you'll be immediately off to the store to buy a new measuring cup.

• Get a water and dirt-resistant case for your smartphone. And you, too, can just reach into your pocket, whip out the Internet, and discover the handiest search phrase on Google: "convert ounces to tablespoons". And the answer pops up without a further hunt: "2 U.S. Tablespoons." (Don't confuse the issue, asking about liquid vs. dry. Have a little faith, will you?)
Then, peck in with your wet, dirty index finger: "convert 10 liters to gallons". Voila! There are 2.64 gallons in 10 liters.

And now comes the dangerous part: doing the rest of the equation in your head. So, Farmer Fred would need to use slightly more than a scoop (a little over one ounce) of fertilizer in that 10 liter watering can. Can you say "heaping"?

And the worst part? Your smartphone is now encrusted with dirt and water.

• Other handy garden formulas:
• To determine the area of your yard, multiply the length by the width (both in feet). The answer will be in square feet.

• To determine the diameter of a circle (such as a tree trunk): circumference divided by 3.14. To measure the circumference of a tree trunk, wrap a fabric tape measure (or a piece of string) once around the trunk, about waist high.

• To determine the area of a circle: 3.14 times the radius squared. When measuring the area beneath a tree, the radius can be calculated by extending the ruler from the trunk to the drip line (the furthest extension of the tree branches).

• Approximately one cubic yard of mulch will cover 100 square feet with three inches of mulch. A more exact formula: Area (in square feet) times depth of mulch or compost you want to apply (in inches) divided by 324 will give you the number of cubic yards to purchase.

• 27 cubic feet equal one cubic yard.

• Three teaspoons equal one tablespoon. Two tablespoons equal one ounce. 16 tablespoons (eight ounces) equal one cup.

• Google.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Stop Those Nasty Liquidambar Balls Now

If you are tiptoeing around the sharp, spiky seedpods of liquidambar (sweet gum) trees throughout the year, now is the time to control their development.


Peering into your liquidambar tree in early spring...

look for this rather unremarkable flower:

If you see those, it's the time to spray a product containing the growth regulator, Ethephon. One such product is Monterey Lawn & Garden Products' Florel. Thoroughly sprayed onto the blooms of an ornamental tree that produces undesirable fruit, the chemical causes the blossoms to abort, stopping fruit production. In the case of the liquidambar tree, the fruit are those sharp seedpods that are the bane of barefooters everywhere.

According to Monterey, "the best time to spray Florel is when the flowering plant is in the mid to full bloom stage. The ideal time for spraying sweet gum (liquidambar) is right after the tiny balls form below the catkin. After application, these tiny balls simply dry up and fall off."

According to the product label, Florel will also control undesirable fruit on other ornamental plants such as Buckeye, Crabapple, Carob, Cottonwood, Elm, Flowering pear, Horsechestnut, Maple, Oak, Olive, Pine, Sour orange and Sycamore trees.

A few notes about applying this growth regulator:

• Read and follow all label directions.
• Timing is critical. There is a short window of opportunity to spray while the blossoms are in mid to full bloom.
• Thorough coverage is necessary. Monterey suggests it takes about 5 to 20 gallons of the Florel and water mixed together to coat the flowers of a tree, up to the point of runoff. One quart of Florel makes about 10 gallons of mix.

• The product works best when applied during daytime temperatures of 65-90 degrees.

• Use the mixed product immediately. When first combined, the mix has a very acid pH of 2.5; but that acidity decreases as the mix hydrolizes, reducing its effectiveness.

• And how do you reach those blossoms that are out of the reach of your sprayer? That's when it's time to call in the arborist with a crane.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tis' the Season for Cool Season vs. Warm Season Plants

Marigolds and Pansies, Together, in Winter

It's a nice, sunny Saturday in February or March. You decide to do a little shopping, perhaps picking something up for the garden. Off you go to the big box store, the local nursery or (gulp!) the local drugstore or supermarket (which, you may have noticed lately, has that alluring display of colorful annuals and vegetables outside the front door).

You got everything together so you can get out of the driveway...keys, credit, cash, a coffee. Um, wait a minute, before you leave the house...
Do you have any frickin' idea what you are going to buy? No?
You, then, will be crowned "Garden Customer of the Day" wherever you shop. That's because you'll be impulse buying, spending more money on plants that may or may not be right for you and your yard.
But this rant isn't about your shopaholic ways. Another day for that (hint: survey the yard for your needs; make a list or garden plan; stick to it).
No, this rant is about something every gardener should carry in their car and grab it when they walk into a nursery section: a good plant reference book.

Western Garden Book: More 
than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from 
Western Garden Experts (Sunset Western Garden Book)

Here in California, it's hard to beat the Sunset Western Garden Book for that purpose.

Updating your old Sunset Western Garden Book? Fine. Put the old one in the car trunk.

The Southern Living Garden
 Book: Completely Revised, All-New EditionElsewhere in the country, good references include the Southern Living Garden Book.

Also, look for the Northeastern Garden Book (a great reference for gardeners at higher elevations in California) or the National Garden Book (if you can still find it!).

Northeastern Garden Book
Sunset National Garden 
Why approach a place of business that's selling plants with such a reference book? Those plants may be there either a) too late in the season; b) too early in the season; or, c) mixed together so that you can't tell whether they are cool season or warm season annuals.

Late Winter-Early Spring Culprit #1:
The Mixed Bag O' Plants Display

Summer vs. Winter: Marigolds next to Violas
An eye-catching rack of annuals and vegetables outside the front door of supermarkets and drugstores.
Here in California, buying cool season annuals - flowers that will disappear with the heat of mid to late spring - is not a bad idea in February or March...if you are planning an outdoor event in April through mid-May. Those cool season annuals will be outstanding at that time. 

Summer annuals, on the other hand, will be just starting their growth spurt. But if you are looking for color that will last all summer - and you live in a hot summer area - choose warm season annuals for color from April through October.

Recipe for Plant Death: Cucumbers in February
Culprit #2: 
"Too Soon!" Vegetables.

February and March is still too iffy to be planting many warm season annuals (flowers and vegetables) outdoors in Northern California. Soil temperatures - and warmer weather - will arrive in mid-April. Cucumbers, beans, eggplant, melons, peppers, pumpkin and other squash need soil temperatures of at least 60 degrees. In February and March, soil temps are still in the 40's and 50's in most areas of Northern California. Here's a link to a previous post containing the soil temperature requirements for various vegetable seeds.

Culprit #3: 
Alluring beauties that have just arrived from the Tropics. 
This bougainvillea was shaking its hips outside a local grocery store. In early March. Literally, shaking. It was a 40 degree day with 40 mph winds. Subjecting a greenhouse-grown plant to harsh, outdoor conditions suddenly can induce dormancy and stress, attracting a wide variety of insects and disease. Bougainvilleas can live year after year in the mild climates of the Bay Area or coastal Southern California. Here in Sacramento, where winter temperatures regularly drop to freezing many mornings, that bougainvillea is best treated as a summer annual. Which is a polite way of saying: it will die back in the winter. It might revive the following spring, or it might not. Depends on its location in the yard, preferring an area with reflected heat, such as against a south or west-facing wall. Again, wait until April before subjecting these tender plants to our outdoor world.

A good reference book while plant shopping can help you answer such questions as:
• Is the plant I am looking at REALLY that plant? (compare it to the plant description in the book).
• When is the best growing season for this plant?
• Do I really want this particular variety of plant? (For example, a Beefmaster tomato can offer up large slicing tomatoes all summer; a Roma tomato, though, tends to set smaller fruit all at once which makes it ideal for canning purposes)
• Do I have the right spot in my yard for this plant: Does it require sun or shade? Quick draining soil? Lots of water or little water? Acid soil? Are any of its parts poisonous?

I realize that "sticking to a garden plan" is, well...challenging, especially when you meet up with a comely beauty at a nursery or grocery store. Still, arming yourself with a good reference book while shopping might give you more incentive to drive home, alone. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Crane Fly Comes A-Callin' Now

Our mild temperatures lately have made for pleasant afternoons and evenings for backyard barbecues and garden chores...when it's not raining, of course. Another creature that is enjoying the evening temperatures in the 50's: the European crane fly, currently appearing on a porch light, window screen or white wall surface near you. A common sight for after-work lawn mowers this time of year are the masses of these crane flies on lawn surfaces, disturbed by the evening mowing.

The adult crane fly has very long legs and looks like a large  mosquito with a body about one inch long. Some homeowners are alarmed when swarms of these large flies gather on the sides of homes, but the crane fly does not bite or sting nor does it do any damage to houses. 

Conversely, some backyard bug aficionados think the crane fly is a beneficial insect, hence it's common misnomer, the "skeeter-eater."

    "This critter does not eat mosquitoes," says California Food and Agriculture entomologist Baldo Villegas. "And it is not a good bug. The larval stage of this insect is eating the roots of your lawn."

    Those crane flies you see in the evening are busy during the day, too. The females mate and lay their eggs in grass within 24 hours of emerging. 

These eggs develop into a worm-like larvae known as "leatherjackets", which are feeding on lawn roots from now until mid-May.

If you have brown spots in your lawn, here's how to determine if it's due to crane fly larvae, according to Washington State University, :

Dig down about three inches in your lawn, in a 6" x 6" square. Lift that block of lawn, and start crumbling it apart. If you have crane fly larvae (aka, "leatherjackets"), those one-inch long root munchers will be very apparent. Count the number of leatherjackets in that block of lawn soil, multiply that number by four, and that's the approximate number of leatherjackets you have per square foot. Repeat this test wherever you see the lawn turning brown. If that square foot total is less than 50, WSU advises against taking chemical action. If it is more than 50, consider replacing your turf with other landscaping.

Another possible culprit are white grubs, also known as masked chafers.These critters are about three-quarters of an inch long, and are usually c-shaped. Also, they tend to do their damage in late summer/early fall, not in late winter/early spring. Skunks enjoy digging these guys up out of your lawn on a moonlit night.

    There are chemical controls for the crane fly larvae (the leatherjackets), the most common being products that contain carbaryl as the active ingredient. However, because of the toxicity of carbaryl to bees, consider other alternatives first before spraying or putting down granules.

    "Keep your lawn well-fed throughout the year so it can tolerate a little bit of damage," says the Scott's Company Ashton Ritchie, who heads up their Lawns Division and is the author of the book, Scotts Lawns: Your Guide to a Beautiful Yard. "Follow a fertilization schedule that includes applications as per the package's instructions. Combine that with deep watering twice a week along with positioning your mower blade at a high setting (for cool season lawns) and your lawn will develop a deep, vigorous root system."

And a healthy lawn can stave off crane fly damage long enough for the garden good guys to move in. Predators such as birds can decimate a crane fly problem quickly. So, planting bird-friendly shrubs in the area can help you establish a permanent "air force base" for these welcome diners.

Many gardeners confuse crane flies with mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are about half the length of the one-inch crane fly, and tend to move as if on a serious mission, buzzing the whole time (crane flies are silent). And you should control those blood-sucking mosquitoes now. 

Here are some tips for mosquito control from the Yolo-Sacramento Mosquito and Vector Control District:


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Soil Temperatures Determine the Best Planting Time

It began in mid-February during the first sunny weekend, and picked up speed in March: the appearance of summer vegetable plants, at the big box stores and large chain stores throughout Northern California. March (and early April) is still too early for many of the heat loving vegetables to be thrust into the ground, unprotected. Soil temperatures in the area are still in the high 40's-low 50's, too cold for tomato and pepper plants to put on any active growth. And the less active the growth cycle, the less ability the plant has to stave off insect and disease problems. This is why many independently owned nurseries and garden centers don't start bringing in the summer vegetables until spring: the plants stand a better chance of survival in the backyard garden.

Of course, all gardening is local. One way to determine the best time to plant your summer vegetable garden:

Sit in the garden bed for 60 seconds, pants off. If you can stay there, comfortably, go ahead and plant.
Some tips:
• Build a tall fence or plant tall shrubs first.
• Have a hose ready for the ants.

For the fearful and fenceless among you, get a soil thermometer.


Average Soil Temperatures/2009-2010/Mid-Month Readings
Four-Station Valley Averages (Sacramento, San Joaquin, Yolo, Sutter Counties)

(Soil temperature readings (F) taken 6" deep)
January: 48
February: 50
March: 52
April: 57
May: 63
June: 69
July: 74
August: 73
September: 70
October: 64
November: 58
December: 49

Friday, March 4, 2011

Starting Tomatoes From Seed

 Back in January, I offered up some basic tomato and pepper seed planting tips.
Here are a few more suggestions for tomato planting:
Choose suitable varieties. California's Central Valley and low foothills weather is most noted for its hot, dry summers. 
Lemon Boy
Good choices for this climate include Ace, Ace 55, Better Boy, Burpee VF Hybrid, Lemon Boy and Early Girl (all main season tomatoes). Celebrity used to be part of this list, but after two years of underperformance (and two different batches of seeds from two different seed companies), Celebrity will be on the bench in 2011.


Try Beefmaster, Big Beef, Supersteak and Whopper (big-fruit varieties).

Viva Italia
Juliet, Roma VF, Viva Italia and San Marzano (paste tomatoes).

Sun Gold

 Patio Hybrid, Sweet 100, Sweet Million, Sun Gold and Sun Sugar (small-fruit varieties). 

All of these varieties were taste test favorites, in trials conducted by the Master Gardeners of Sacramento County and here at Hoffman Gardens. 

Heirloom tomatoes, varieties that were around before the 1950's, are gaining popularity. Although they may not have the built in disease resistance or high production of modern hybrid varieties, they make up for it...with outstanding taste! 
Among the heirloom varieties you might want to try: Brandywine, Old Brooks, Arkansas Traveler, Dad's Mug, Anna Russian, Aunt Ginny's Purple, Dr. Lyle, Dr. Neal, German, German Johnson, Mortgage Lifter, Pruden's Purple and 1884.

Among my favorite heirloom tomato varieties:
Kellogg's Breakfast
Dr. Wyche

Costaluto Genovese
Marianna's Peace
Zapotec Pleated

Bloody Butcher


Catalog seed sources include the Tomato Growers Supply Company  and Totally Tomatoes.

Tomatoes we will be growing here this year (most started from seed on 2/12):
Planted 2/12/11:
Dr. Wyche's Yellow
Abraham Lincoln
Bloody Butcher
Old German
Chianti Rose
Garden Peach
Marianna's Peace
Djena Lee's Golden Girl (2/14-new seed)

Better Boy
Napa Grape
Early Girl
Super Bush
Pomodoro Canestrino
Sweet Gold
Heatwave II Hybrid
Early Wonder
Oregon Spring V
Lemon Boy (and 2/14-new seed)
Big Beef
Sweet Million (2/19/11)
Sweet Treats (2/19/11)
Sweet Hearts (2/19/11)
Solid Gold (2/19/11)
Burpee Sweet Seedless (2/19/11)
Terenzo (2/26/11)
Lizzano (2/26/11)

Using home-saved tomato seeds. If you want to save seeds of a particular tomato variety, remember that many varieties are hybrids; chances are they will not come back with the same traits as the tomato you enjoyed last season. Open pollinated or heirloom tomato seeds are fine for saving, as long as they are grown at least 30 feet away from any other varieties.  
For best results: save the seeds from tomatoes that are overly ripe; rinse off as much of the flesh and protective gelatinous coating from the seeds as is possible. Then, soak the seeds in a jar of water for a couple of days to remove the rest of the coating. The seeds will sink to the bottom, the gel will float. Discard the gel, remove the seeds and let dry on a paper towel. Then, store in an airtight container in a cool, dry location.

Start seeds early. January and February are the best months for starting tomato seeds; March is OK. This will allow 8-12 weeks for the plant to get off to a good start in a warm, sunny place, such as a south or west facing window (or a greenhouse, ideally). It usually takes 7-14 days to germinate tomato seeds. But don't panic after two weeks. Sometimes unusually cold weather can slow germination.  This year, it took some of my seeds nearly two and a half weeks to germinate. Yes, it has been unusually cold here.
To test for viable seed that you've been saving: moisten a coffee filter, and place a few seeds in the filter, with space between the seeds. Place the filter in an old yogurt container, cover it, and place in an area out of direct heat. Check every few days to see if seeds have sprouted.

Give seeds a healthy start.
Use a light, quick-draining potting mix. Commercial seed-starting potting mixes are available; or, mix your own, using 4 parts compost, 2 parts peat moss, and 1 part each of vermiculite and perlite. Any small container with drainage is OK for starting tomato seeds. Fill containers about 3/4 to the top with the potting mix. Water, let drain. Plant seeds shallow, no deeper than 1/4 of an inch. To hasten germination, use a heating pad designed for seeds, such as a propagation mat. This will warm the soil to 70-75 degrees, which tomatoes need to germinate. Keep the soil mix moist. To prevent emerging seedlings from bending too much toward the sunny window, rotate the pots a quarter turn each day. If you are using grow lights, position the seedlings less than 6 inches from the light source; keep the lights on 15-18 hours a day.

Movin' on up. When two or three sets of true leaves develop on the tomato seedling, you can transplant it to a bigger pot. This is especially helpful if you started your seeds in a flat or in a small peat pot, or the young stems are bending toward the light at a sharp angle. When transplanting to a bigger pot (preferably a 4-6 inch pot), prepare the new pot the same as before. However, don't fill the pot as full. Place the tomato seedling, with as much of the original soil as possible to avoid disturbing the roots, into a 1/3 to 1/2 filled pot. 
If you have the new pots ready to go, you could even try untangling a mess of seedling roots by washing off all the soil from the roots with tepid water and then immediately planting. I've done it both ways, with equal success. Just be quick about it.
Then, add moistened soil mix all along the stem, up to the bottom set of leaves. If you are growing tomato seedlings in a flat, thin them out so that there are six inches between plants. This will lessen the chance of root entanglement and damping off, a fungus disease that kills young seedlings.
A trick for increasing stem girth: use a small circulating fan in the room, gently blowing on the young plants, for up to 18 hours a day.

Timing is everything. Acclimate any indoor-grown tomato seedlings slowly to their new outdoor home; this lessens the shock to the plant, allowing it to grow at a quicker pace. About 10 days before setting out into its permanent garden home, place out during the day in a shady or semi-shady location; bring plants in at night. 

Wall O' Water
Mid-Spring is Tomato Planting Time. Plant tomato transplants when the soil has warmed enough to keep the plant actively growing. In most of California, late April or early May is the optimum time to set tomato plants outdoors, unprotected, in a garden area that gets full sun. If you can't wait that long, protect those tender young plants with hot caps, row covers or "Walls of Water" - plastic, cone shaped enclosures that are filled with water which collect heat during the day, slowly releasing the heat at night.

Plant deeply. Place the tomato deep into the soil, clipping off the lower leaves and leaving only the top leaves and branches exposed. This will cause more roots to develop along the stem, speeding development.

Mulch? Yep! Surrounding your tomato plants with three inches of an organic mulch beneath the plants helps moderate soil temperature, reduces water evaporation, controls weeds and helps to feed the soil as it breaks down. Some gardeners use red plastic mulch beneath their tomato plants. A couple of university studies have shown that this can produce an earlier, bigger crop of tomatoes. Other studies indicate that the reduction of light spectrum that results with the use of red plastic mulch may stress the plant into producing most of its fruit earlier in the season, with reduced production in the late season. Your call.

Stake, stake, stake. Supported tomato plants produce more fruit and are subject to fewer problems. One of the best tomato support systems that can be used repeatedly for a number of years include "cages" made from concrete reinforcement wire. A  50-foot roll of this six-inch mesh, five feet-high wire can be cut to make about a half dozen tomato cages, each with a diameter of two to three feet. The six inch mesh allows for easy access at picking time. Stake and tie the cages to the ground, with one stake on either side of the cage.

Water carefully. Tomato plants like water on a regular basis, deeply, once or twice a week. Soaker hoses or drip irrigation work best. Regularly scheduled deep watering reduces plant stress, one of the causes for that mushy, black or brown discoloration on the bottom of tomatoes, called blossom end rot.

Fertilize regularly, but sparingly. Lightly feed the plants every other week with a balanced fertilizer (10-10-10 or less, for example). Use half the recommended dosage.

Pick, pick, pick. Don't let the fruit overripe on the vine; pick when fully firm and red. Hand picking is also the most potent control for mature tomato worms. If using chemical products, make sure the label states that hornworms are controlled by the product. Also available for hornworm control: a bacterial insecticide containing Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). If you spot a tomato horn worm with a patch of white on its back, let it be. Those patches of white are the eggs of the parasitic trichogramma wasp that eventually will do the dirty work, eating away at the host tomato worm.
The Tomato Dictionary.

Determinate: Tomato plants whose vines make little or no growth once fruit is set. Most of the fruit develops at the same time. A desirable trait for those wishing to can or process their crop. 

Indeterminate: Vines keep producing new shoots, blossoms and fruit throughout the growing season. 

V: A tomato variety with this letter listed after the name is resistant or tolerant to verticillium wilt. 

F: Tolerance to fusarium wilt. 

N: Nematode resistance.

T: resistance to tobacco mosaic virus. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Entomosporium Leaf Spot: The Fungus Among Us

As winter transitions into spring here in California, the temperatures rise, but the rains remain. You may be gardening in a short sleeved shirt, but your boots are still caked with mud.

Another unpleasant consequence of this combination of wet and warm: a leaf spot disease on many evergreen and deciduous plants, entomosporium.

If there is spotting on the leaves, and the leaves are falling, it could be entomosporium, a fungus that pops up during warm, wet, late winter-early spring weather. 

Entomosporium on Photinia x fraseri
Entomosporium is a fungal disease that spots the leaves of plants in the Pomoideae group of the rose family, including apple, flowering crab apple, evergreen pear, hawthorn, pear, photinia (especially photinia!), pyracantha, quince, Rhaphiolepis (Indian hawthorn, among others), and toyon. 

Indian Hawthorn with Entomosporium
According to the UC Davis Integrated Pest Management website, entomosporium appears as tiny reddish spots, sometimes surrounded by a yellow halo, appear on the leaves of infected plants, usually on older growth. These spots darken and enlarge as the leaves mature. Spore-forming bodies eventually appear in the center of the spots; these dark fruiting bodies may appear to be covered with a glossy membrane, beneath which white masses of spores may be visible. Infected plants may prematurely drop many leaves.

If that is the case, remove infected leaves from the ground and the shrub. Also, avoid overhead watering. Making sure there is room between the plants for good air circulation can help. If that is impractical, try removing some of the lower branches.

Toyon with entomosporium
Toyon / entomosporium

In overwhelming situations, the experts at UC say to remove any ground covers beneath the plant, which may harbor the fungus. It might not be a bad idea to replace any mulch that is there, as well.

 The folks at the Plant Pathology Department at North Carolina State University offers these common sense tips:

• Purchase plants showing no leaf spot symptoms. 

• Isolated healthy plants or hedges can often remain healthy as the spores are only splashed over short distances. Space plants to improve the air movement around the plants and promote rapid drying of leaf surfaces.

• Do not water or fertilize plants any more than necessary to avoid promoting excess new growth. 

• Reduce pruning during the summer which promotes continual new growth. 

• It may be necessary to remove severely diseased plants and replace them with another plant species that is not susceptible to leaf spot. (Life is too short to put up with a problematic plant)
Alabama Cooperative Extension reports that in recent
trials in Alabama, the Indian hawthorn cultivars, ‘Dwarf Yedda’, ‘Olivia’, ‘Indian Princess’, ‘Snow White’, and Raphiolepis. x delacourii, have shown excellent resistance to this disease.

The good news: as drier weather takes hold here (and you avoid overhead watering), the entomosporium may go into hiding...until next year. Entomosporium fungi that infect deciduous plants overwinter mainly as spores on fallen leaves or as mycelia within tissue. On evergreen hosts, the fungi may remain on leaves year-round. Fungi are spread from infected tissue or contaminated leaf litter to healthy leaves by splashing raindrops or overhead irrigation. The pathogens are most severe during wet weather, especially when it coincides with new plant growth, according to UC.

In other words, the plant can tolerate it in most situations, if you help it along by a thorough cleanup of infected leaves and careful watering. The question is: can YOU tolerate it? In the larger scheme of all things horticultural, you have bigger bugs to battle.