Spring has sprung and along came the heavy rain showers. You’ve recovered from cancer and go for a walk through your yard to see all the beautiful plants flourishing, then you spot your least favorite plants…
No, not marijuana unless you were intending to grow it.
Weeds are everywhere thanks to the wonderful rain. Some people like to leave them alone, but others are ready to do anything they can to get rid of them. You can dig them up or use RoundUp, but why risk your health?
Cancer-free weed killer is the right choice.
Here’s how you can make your own and it’s quite simple.
Mix all of these safe ingredients together inside the pump sprayer and be sure that the salt completely dissolves. On a calm day without wind, pump the solution and spray it on the leaves of the weeds. This should only be done on a warm sunny day without rain in the forecast for at least 2-3 days. Within 24 hrs you should see immediate results. A second application might be needed if you have very big weeds. I used this on dandelion weeds and poison ivy revealing incredible effectiveness. If you perform this on a windy day, the spray might land on your favorite plants
How does this work?
The 5% white vinegar is just enough acidity to kill the plant although I highly recommend this 30% Pure Vinegar – Home&Garden (1 Gallon) which is much better. The dish detergent keeps the vinegar from draining off of the leaves too quickly, which helps to permeate the cell structure. The salt gets onto the soil and kills the weed for good. Be careful though. The salt in the soil might prevent other plants from growing, although rain will help dilute the soil.
There are fungi that can attack your fig tree leaves. If you find large brown areas, or with a mold growing – immediately cut off the affected leaves and discard them so that the fungus will not spread throughout. Take note that there is a very dangerous common leaf mold pathogen called Rust. It mainly affects potted plants and can spread to your house plants. It will begin with small brown spots and gradually spread through the leaf. When you discover this type of infection, cut the leaf off and burn it.
This fungus generally appears following long rainy days without a chance for the leaves to dry under the sunshine. If you touch an infected leaf, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before handling other plants. Sometimes if you see sporadic brown spots, on a few leaves don’t be alarmed. Rust will not kill your tree and you don’t have to remove all of the leaves. It’s best to monitor the brown spots carefully to assess the situation before of jumping to conclusions. Sometimes small brown spots can indicate that the plant suffered from lack of water following a yellowing of the leaves.
There are anti-fungal products available, though the most effective means of stopping the spread of this infection is by burning the leaf. I use a small propane torch with the leaf on a non-flammable surface while the leaf is still green.
Fig trees in this area of the Northeast don’t have many pests. Once in a while, you’ll come across leaves being eaten. Most of the time you’ll find that nothing is eating the leaves or branches most probably because the sap (latex) is sticky and can be irritating (even to human skin). Other times, the problem might not be a pest, but a rust fungi infection.
One thing you can try is to stir up a mix of soapy water and then spray it onto the leaves. You can use mild dish detergent. Dish detergent is generally a petroleum product, if this concerns you then use a biodegradable soap. You can find biodegradable soap in camping stores and it’s much better for the environment. If it rains, reapply this soapy water. This is a common method of general plant care when it comes to pest control. Always resort to this method first before you consider other options. Another solution is to release ladybugs onto your tree and hope that they will eat the creatures that you can’t see.
There is a common pest called a Stink Bug. These bugs will lay a cluster of their eggs on fig tree leaves and the larvae will eat the leaves. If you have an infestation, you may need to cut the effected leaves off of your tree and then burn them along with the larvae. Stink bugs are very difficult to eradicate and are currently spreading throughout the Northeastern states.
These bugs were a problem in my neighborhood in 2010, but I haven’t seen any Stink Bugs for a long time. Maybe it was just a wave of a migration through the area.
Yellow, wilting or curling leaves. This is a sign that your tree is dehydrated and needs water ASAP.
If the tree has been growing in the ground, place a garden hose directly at the base of the tree and let the water trickle over it for at least 1-2 hours. Watering a tree can be a daunting experience sometimes, so I recommend that you buy this Drip Irrigation Water Rock Sandstone. It might look ugly, but you can apply latex paint to it to change the color. In the meantime, it will have a continuous water drip into the roots of your tree. If it’s a young freshly planted tree, continue to water it on a regular basis about once every 3 days (skipping on rainy days) until the growing season has ended.