by Susan Harris
It took having a really sick-looking shrub for me to see Homestead Education Coordinator Gene Sumi jump into research-scientist mode, and it was kinda fun – almost worth it!
So here’s the problem – leaves on my Itea virginica ‘Little Henry’ look shriveled and bug-eaten, and these symptoms caused the actual demise of one of these beauties last year. This year I’m taking no chances – enter Professor Sumi at his Diagnostic Desk in the Davidsonville location.
Turns out that what looks like holes from hungry critters is, in fact, the result of a nasty fungal disease, and it won’t be solved by heavy watering and talking nicely to the poor suffering plants. So after making his definitive diagnosis, Gene led me to the selection of product and told me sternly that only something like Daconil that contains chlorothalonil will do the trick. Hope so, coz I have my heart set on these Virginia Sweetspires filling up a new border in my back yard, and just imagine how great five of these babies will look altogether – once they get over their little fungal problem.
In the photo, Henry shows off in his fall color in the garden of Alison Gillespie.