I have a dozen plants in the garden which I don’t know the name of. Attached is one plant that got infected very badly. I am going to send them one by one online. Hope you can help. I am new to this.
Hello, thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners. One of our goals is to encourage and assist new gardeners, and so I am pleased you reached out to us. Looking at your message and the photos you included leads me to believe you have inherited a problem garden. I admire your willingness to try to improve the situation, it can be a daunting task but one, armed with a little information and a lot of patience can be turned into a labour of love.
I will try to answer all of your questions, in sequence, starting of with some general gardening practices and then touching on your individual entries.
Some of the photos you sent don’t in fact show signs of disease, instead they show signs of undernourishment and lack of care, so let’s look at the steps needed to bring this garden back up to good condition
Firstly, Clean up. Your first photo, the one shown above shows what I think is a Purple sand cherry Prunus × cisterna that has been attacked by a skeletonizing insect, possibly sawfly or Japanese beetles. There also seems to be what appears to be scale on one of the branches. You need to prune out and get rid of all infected parts of this plant and any others showing positive signs of disease or pest infestation. Remove the affected leaves and also very importantly rake up and dispose of all of any leaves or branches that have fallen to the ground. Do not put in the compost, instead send it all to garbage. Try to leave as many unaffected branches including leaves as possible as the leaves will help the plant to heal.
Here is a link to a reply to question posted by another gardener who is having problems with their purple sand cherry.
Another important component of the “Clean up” step is to remove weeds. Weeds are a real problem in a garden, not only do they crowd out and sometimes strangle your prized plants, but they compete for nutrients and water, robbing those from your other plants.
This photo shows a common weed; Lady’s Thumb Polygonum persicaria . This is an annual weed which is spread by seed. The good news is that your photo would indicate that these plants have yet to set seed. You can get a head start by pulling it right away before it does so. I find weed pulling best done after a heavy rain, so again – perfect timing! Be aware that weed control is not a one-time affair, it will take constant vigilance. As time goes by and your soil and maintenance habits improve you will find fewer weeds to pull. I am including a link on this and some other weed controls.
The next step to your garden renovation is to amend the soil. Soil is the foundation of your garden, it provides the food your plant needs to stay healthy and the importance of good quality soil cannot be overstated.
This photo shows what looks to be chlorosis on milkweed. Signs of chlorosis are when the leaves turn a yellowish colour leaving the veins green. There are several causes, but one of the most common is lack of nutrition in the soil. Over time your soil becomes depleted, annual additions of compost will help maintain your soil’s health. It sounds as if your soil has not been amended for quite some time, so I would suggest your adding 3 to 4 inches of organic matter (compost, manure) into the top and working into your soil bed. Here are some links that will be helpful for amending your soil.
This article from the University of Minnesota Extension https://extension.umn.edu/how-manage-soil-and-nutrients-home-gardens/amending-soils-perennial-beds
provides excellent information and a step-by-step guide to amending clay and sandy soils.
Our archives contain an article that may be of interest https://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/askagardener/help-needed-with…owing-vegetables/
Other included photos seem to indicate a lack of water. This part of Ontario has experienced more than its fair share of dry sunny days. This combined with high winds will quickly deplete your plants and their roots of moisture. When we see leaf tips browning, this is a cry for water from your plants. The last few days of heavy rain have been very good, but because the soil was so dry to begin with, much of that water ran off and did not soak into the soil. Proper watering is especially important. When you water , water less often but for longer periods. If you water thoroughly the water will soak into the ground causing the roots of your plants to grow deep into the soil. If you just sprinkle the top, your roots will stay at the surface and will be more subject to drying out.
Plants 1, 2 and 7 are difficult to identify, I think one of them is a raspberry which seems to be doing OK, but the other leaves are so dry and damaged that its difficult to tell what plant it is.
These photos below are of a Hydrangea and a variegated Weigela.. The browning and curling of the leaves do indicate lack of water. Both of these are tough, generally easy-care shrubs. They will bounce back with some tender loving care. I would take off any very badly browned and shriveled leaves, water them well and top dress with some compost and you will find them improved in no time.
I hope this has been helpful to you, I am giving you one more link. Here is our Master Gardener Guide for your garden’s spring “cleanup”. Even though we are well past spring, this link will guide you through the steps for successfully maintaining your garden. Best of luck!