Issue: March 23, 2002

Transplant daylilies now?

Question:

Is it too late to move daylilies after they have started growing? They are being crowded by shrub overgrowth, but I forgot to move them during the winter? Keith D. Artesia

Answer:

Daylilies are an excellent plant because they are tolerant of many conditions, including transplanting when growing. This makes them excellent landscape plants for New Mexico, and they also produce many beautiful flowers. Moving them now should cause little problem for the plants. You may lose this year's blossoms, but as tolerant as they are, I think they may bloom anyway. Their current location, where they are crowded by shrubs, competing for light, water, and nutrients will also have a negative impact on their growth and flowering. Moving them will be the best long-term strategy. As you move them, you have an opportunity to thin them and to prepare the planting bed for the growth of the daylilies over a period of several years. Loosen the soil as deeply as possible, incorporate well-decomposed compost and phosphate fertilizer, and the daylilies should grow and blossom profusely for several years before you need to thin them again.

Pine trees "sapping"

Question:

I have 3 very large mature pine trees that are fairly close to each other. The trees are sapping quite a bit. Is there anything I can do to slow down the sapping? Can I treat with a systemic labeled for insect, disease, etc.? Will pruning help? C. Albuquerque

Answer:

The term "sapping" has several interpretations. It may refer to a fine mist of material "raining" from the tree and coating objects under the tree. It may also refer to clear pitch running down the trunk or to masses of cloudy pitch on the trunk. Each of these is a symptom of a different circumstance. The "raining" of sap is probably honeydew excreted by aphids feeding on the twigs and needles. This honeydew is a syrupy substance. The aphids may be treated with any of several insecticides labeled for controlling aphids on ornamental trees. However, you will probably need to hire a licensed pesticide applicator to apply the insecticides. This is a case where the systemic insecticides may also be used. There is concern that some methods of systemic insecticide injection into the tree trunk cause damage to the cambium of the tree. Some pesticide applicators disagree with this assertion. Soil-applied systemic insecticides avoid this problem as does foliar spray application. The application of the foliar spray is difficult when treating large trees because it is necessary to control drifting of the insecticide onto adjacent properties. Clear pitch on the trunk is not a cause for concern. This may be the result of bark cracking as the tree grows or as it sways in the wind. This pitch is the tree's method of closing the wound and is not a problem. Pruning can also be a source of this type of pitch flow. The masses of cloudy pitch may indicate infestation by pitch or bark moth larvae. Both of these moth larvae do only minor damage to the tree. They are not active at this time of year, so they are not harming the tree now. Because they inhabit the pitch, it is difficult to effectively treat them with insecticides. Because their damage is mostly cosmetic, treatment is not recommended.

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Send gardening questions to Southwest Yard and Garden, Attn: Dr. Marisa Thompson at desertblooms@nmsu.edu or at https://www.facebook.com/DesertBloomsNM/. Please include your county Extension Agent (aces.nmsu.edu/county) and your county of residence with your question! For more gardening information, visit the NMSU Extension Horticulture page: desertblooms@nmsu.edu. Marisa Y. Thompson, PhD, is the Extension Horticulture Specialist, in the Department of Extension Plant Sciences at the New Mexico State University Los Lunas Agricultural Science Center, office: 505-865-7340, ext. 113.