Cherry leaf spot is tough to control, but it can be done

Credit: Walter Reeves

Credit: Walter Reeves

Q: All of the flowering cherry trees in our neighborhood seem to be suffering from cherry leaf spot. They have lost most of their leaves. We have a weeping cherry tree we planted in remembrance of a personal loss and it’s affected too. How do we combat this? Josh Chambers, email

A: This disease is tough to stop but it can be done “if” you are willing to spray fungicide religiously next spring and “if” you’re willing to regularly rake and destroy leaves in the fall. I don’t have the space to cover all the details here, but I have assembled the specifics at

Q: I have a problem with wild clematis. The vine has completely covered the area where I used to have a large flower bed. It dies back in the winter, but right now it is climbing behind my siding, up the downspout, and making that end of my porch unusable. How can I kill it without hurting the flowers? Ronnie Armstrong, email

A: Your vine is Clematis virginiana, sometimes called Devil’s Darning Needles due to the shape of its feathery seeds. A single vine can grow 20 feet in a year. For your situation, use hedge clippers or a machete to cut back the rampant growth. Since you want to kill one plant and protect another, it would be best to cut the vine a few inches above ground level, and then carefully paint the stump with glyphosate while avoiding the flowers. The vine will suck the chemical down a foot or so into its root system and kill it. The flower roots nearby won’t be harmed. The vine may resprout weakly next spring. The sprouts can be chopped off with a hoe.

Q: I have been searching for months to find out what cherry lilies are. Someone gave me some bulbs, which are huge, with long strappy leaves attached. I have been searching for the name so I’ll know how to care for them. Sue White, email

A: You gave me a clue by telling their size and their leaf shape. I’ll bet they are crinum lily bulbs, which can grow as big as a soccer ball and can weigh 20-30 pounds. The long leaves are typical of lilies. There are several varieties with red flowers and “cherry” in their name. Bulbs should be planted in loose, organic soil in a spot that gets part-day to full-day sunshine. They should be planted so that two-thirds of the bulb’s body is below ground and one-third, including the neck of the bulb, is exposed. Watch for big flowers in late spring.

Email Walter at Listen to his occasional garden comments on “Green and Growing with Ashley Frasca” Saturday mornings on 95.5 WSB. Visit his website,, or join his Facebook page at for his latest tips.

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