Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Daylily Leaf Streak and Spring Sickness

Daylily leaf streak.  Daylily Spring Sickness.  Daylily Aphids.  I've been growing daylilies for years and never heard of these three things. I know about them now.  I have all three!
I knew about daylily rust but never concerned myself with it because we don't have it in Michigan.  And I was told that if it ever did appear it would not kill the plant and would disappear in the winter cold and would not return the next season.  So I felt safe and bragged about my disease resistant daylilies.  I told people that said they did not have a green thumb to try daylilies -- a never fail plant.
BUT this year I have problems.  And it is the first year with my new garden in my new location.
We had a crazy spring, weatherwise.  March brought weeks of 70 and 80 degree days.  Then April swooped in with winds, rain, followed by a freeze/thaw routine that had three go-rounds.  One day in April, the temperature was 75 degrees, the sun was shining and it began to hail. I was worried about the vegetable plants because they were young and tender but never thought about my resilient daylilies.
I had been anxiously awaiting to see what will bloom this July, watching for the scapes and new buds, when I realized there was more to those yellow leaves than just a little winter kill.  After researching on the Internet and comparing pictures, I knew I had a problem.

Leaf streak is one of the results of the freeze/thaw cycle. The leaves begin to yellow in the center and radiate out to the tip. It does not kill the plant but without the proper amount of chlorophyll the plant will weaken and not produce the usual amount of buds and flowers.
Spring Sickness is similar with the yellowing more on the edge of the leaf and produces a curly leaf.  Sometimes the leaf is curled so lightly that the scapes cannot "escape"  thus preventing your beauties from blooming. Often the young tender leaves will turn to mush and die off.
In both of these cases I discovered I should cut as much of the damaged leaves off as possible and remove any dead leaves from the garden area to avoid the damage from traveling further. After a good cleanup, the garden area was much more attractive, but I noticed that some of the leaves continue to yellow. I can't cut the plants back any more or I will lose all chance of producing energy for the flowering season.  Now I just hold my breath.  I'm hoping these blights also disappear with the winter temps.

And then there are the aphids.  I had no idea that daylilies had their very own aphid species. While tending to my ill plants, small bugs, which I thought were gnats at first, were annoying me.  When I stopped moving for a few minutes I saw them land on the diseased leaves.  They are an almost transparent light green and difficult to see when they are still.. I've sprayed a few times with an all natural pest control from the Safer company.  I am trying my best to avoid using chemicals.  But that, too, now needs a close watch. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Stay tuned for the results and see where how my garden grows.

You might also like to visit my cooking blog at An Herbal Bedfellow.

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