Crape myrtles are one of my favorite landscape additions because they produce blooms that provide summer color, handle drought when established and, overall, have few issues with disease and insects.Bloom color can range from red and pink to lavender and white with crape myrtles, giving you options in the landscape. Crape myrtles have size versatility too, with cultivars that can stay in the three-foot height range to some that will grow to 20 feet or more in height, therefore can be considered a shrub or a tree.Some newer crape myrtle cultivars have improved flower color, better fall leaf color or better-looking bark, plus improved cold and disease resistance than some older varieties.There are downsides to growing crape myrtles. Toward the end of summer, you may see sooty mold on crape myrtle leaves and stems. Sooty mold is a dark coating on foliage and stem areas. It can be removed by simply rubbing off the coating.The sooty mold is caused by a fungus or excretion made by insects such as aphids. The sooty mold will cause few direct issues for the ornamental, but can make the crape myrtle less vigorous. You can reduce sooty mold problems by using aphid-resistant cultivars or insecticides labeled for the pests.Crape myrtles can grow in some tough conditions but will grow and flower better in well-prepared soils. At planting, dig a large hole that is at least two times wider than the root ball. Set the plant in the hole no deeper than the crape myrtle grew in the field or container and backfill the hole with the same soil removed from the planting hole. Break up clods and remove rocks or other debris.University of Georgia Cooperative Extension research shows that organic matter amendments are not necessary when planting in individual holes. Using amendments in the hole will encourage roots to stay in the hole area and will keep the roots from growing out into the surrounding soil. Amendments can help if they are mixed uniformly in the soil surrounding the planting hole. Water the newly planted crape myrtle well to help settle the soil. Adding mulch will help conserve moisture, reduce weed problems and help insulate roots from cold or hot weather. Place three to five inches of pine straw, pine bark, shredded hardwood mulch or shredded leaves over the planting hole. Mulching beyond the planting hole is even more beneficial.Established crape myrtles are considered drought tolerant, but watering in the first two months after planting is important. Watering during dry periods in the flowering season also will assist flowering efforts. Again, water completely at planting time and once a week in the absence of rainfall for the first two months.Planting location is important, as crape myrtles perform better in full sun. Heavy shade can reduce flowering and growth and lead to more problems with sooty mold and powdery mildew on flower buds and new growth. Crape myrtles planted under large shade trees may not flower or grow well, as the tree will compete for soil moisture. Lack of overall sunlight and moisture will limit growth or lead to poor flowering.Proper fertilization can be helpful. Crape myrtles can do well with a general-purpose fertilizer such as 8-8-8, 10-10-10, 12-4-8 or 16-4-8. For newly planted, one-gallon size crape myrtles, apply one teaspoon of fertilizer along the perimeter of the planting hole each month from March to August. For larger, established crape myrtles, use a broadcast approach one time in the spring.You can apply 8-8-8 or 10-10-10 at a rate of one pound per 100 square feet or 12-4-8 or 16-4-8 at the rate of one-half pound per 100 square feet, according to UGA Extension experts. Do not overapply fertilizer. Overfertilization can cause excess growth and reduce flowering. It is better to fertilize right before a rain. If rain is not in the forecast, water well after fertilizer application. It is not necessary to remove the mulch when fertilizing.For more information, contact your local UGA Extension office or see the publications at https://extension.uga.edu/publications.
Hunter Marriott earned $8,000 on Friday when he repeated as winner of the Night of 10,000 Stars feature for IMCA Modifieds at Hancock County Speedway. (Photo by Chad Meyer)BRITT, Iowa (Aug. 11) – Hunter Marriott became the first repeat winner of IMCA Speedweek when he repeated as the Night of 10,000 Stars winner Friday at Hancock County Speedway.Marriott led all but the first lap, earning $7,000 for the IMCA Modified feature victory along with a $1,000 bonus for leading at halfway in the 50-lap main event.Tad Reutzel drew the pole start and was scored first on the opening circuit; the sixth-starting Marriott made the best use of the lower line, had the lead the next time around and stayed in front to the finish.Richie Gustin raced from 13th starting to finish second while hard charger Ryan Ruter passed 21 cars and ended in third.Rounding out the top five were Joel Rust, who had started 22nd, and Ethan Dotson.Marriott, runner-up at Thursday’s Night of 1,000 Stars at Britt, had raced his way onto the 2018 Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational ballot by winning Monday’s Arnold Motor Supply Hawkeye Dirt Tour feature at Clay County Fair Speedway.Randy Brands was the $750 IMCA Sunoco Stock Car feature winner Friday while Cody Nielsen and Johnathon Logue both earned $500 for IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stock and Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMod victories, respectively.IMCA Speedweek concludes with Saturday’s Shryock Memorial All Star Night at Hancock County. That event will be broadcast by IMCATV.Feature results – 1. Hunter Marriott, Brookfield, Mo.; 2. Richie Gustin, Gilman; 3. Ryan Ruter, Clear Lake; 4. Joel Rust, Grundy Center; 5. Ethan Dotson, Bakersfield, Calif.; 6. Kelly Shryock, Fertile; 7. Corey Dripps, Reinbeck; 8. Benji LaCrosse, Green Bay, Wis.; 9. Mike Mullen, Suamico, Wis.; 10. Jeremy Mills, Garner; 11. Mike Mashl, DePere, Wis.; 12. Tad Reutzel, Burt; 13. Kyle Strickler, Mooresville, N.C.; 14. Brian Mullen, Seymour, Wis.; 15. Clay Money, Penokee, Kan.; 16. Jay Noteboom, Hinton; 17. Ricky Stephan, South Sioux City, Neb.; 18. Mark Noble, Blooming Prairie, Minn.; 19. Kody Scholpp, Estevan, Sask.; 20. Stacey Mills, Webb; 21. Mark Joski, Denmark, Wis.; 22. David Brown, Kellogg; 23. Troy Swearingen, Thompson; 24. Ben Kraus, Britt; 25. Shane Swanson, Forest City; 26. Tim Ward, Harcourt; 27. Billy Kendall, Baxter, Minn.; 28. Paul Stone, Winton, Calif.; 29. Josh Ruby, Lakota; 30. Cody Knecht, Whittemore.
Last season, when a Syracuse point guard dribbled toward the right wing for a handoff, Tyus Battle usually took the ball to attack left. But late in the first half Wednesday night in Syracuse’s 89-52 exhibition win over Le Moyne, Battle did the dribbling and handing off to Elijah Hughes, who pulled up to knock down a 3. Battle, after two exhibition games against Division II opponents as Syracuse’s point guard due to injury, is settling into his temporary role. He finished with five assists and no turnovers against Le Moyne.“I was low on turnovers, tried to find the open guy, tried to make the right play,” Battle said. “So I’m getting more comfortable with it as time goes on.”Battle, a 6-foot-6 junior, exemplifies the modern shooting guard. His size gives him the length he needs to blow by defenders with a quick, long first step. He operated most of last season, during which he averaged a team-leading 19.2 points per game, from the wings, where he could work off high screens to showcase the one-on-one ability that made him a near-NBA Draft pick.The former five-star recruit decided to come back to No. 16 Syracuse for his junior season. But he didn’t anticipate moving down from shooting guard to the point.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textA series of injuries set him up as the Orange’s point guard, at least for now, with returning starter Frank Howard, freshman Jalen Carey and sophomore Howard Washington all sidelined with injuries in varying degrees. Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said Wednesday night that he’s “not a doctor,” and doesn’t know exactly when his point guards will return to game action. SU’s regular season starts Tuesday, Nov. 6.“We’ll see how the health of our point guards is over the next few days, but at least now we’ve had two games where we’ve played with Tyus handling the ball,” Boeheim said. “That’s good for us.”Because Syracuse’s offense a season ago centered on three players — Battle, Howard and forward Oshae Brissett — Battle did a lot of ball handling himself. But then, Battle knew Boeheim wanted him to score. He’d receive a down screen and attack the basket. In SU’s two exhibitions, though, Battle’s movement has been more side-to-side, drive and kick to Hughes, Buddy Boeheim or Brissett on a wing. After Wednesday’s win, Battle spoke about the importance of the point guard recognizing the hot hand, and Hughes’ 21, Brissett’s 14 and Buddy’s 13 were due in large part to Battle’s facilitation.“This year, other guys score the ball and any player can get going on any given night,” Battle said. “And when they get going, we want to give them the ball.”Position change is not foreign to Battle over his Syracuse career. A year ago, he bumped down to forward when Syracuse played its three-guard lineup, usually due to foul trouble with its bigs. That put Battle at the bottom of the zone on occasion and in somewhat awkward spots offensively, because he wasn’t where he’s used to being: up top, near or at the wings. Entering 2018, before SU’s point guard injuries, this much was clear: He thrives as a true shooting guard.Yet Battle’s progression in reading the floor from the point is encouraging, he said Wednesday. He said he’s seeing plays develop and is hitting players with passes he may not have made a year ago. He also said he’s more confident in his ball handling, which was suspect during his first two seasons at SU. His ball-handling development could make him more of a threat when he returns to his usual role.“He’s a pretty good ball handler,” Boeheim said. “It’s hard to make that switch, he’s always been a scoring guard. I think he’s done a good job of it but he’s still more of a scoring guard. I think the thing he did tonight, what he’s gotta do is get to the basket, that’s what he does best.”When Battle checked out with 8:36 to go on Wednesday, he sat down with Howard and Carey to his left on the SU bench. They laughed on and off for the rest of the game. Battle said that at that point, the guards weren’t talking about playing point, just “playing around.”But come next Tuesday, for Syracuse’s regular-season opener, one of those three will have to run the show. Published on October 31, 2018 at 10:36 pm Contact Matthew: [email protected] | @MatthewGut21 Facebook Twitter Google+ Comments