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Past Questions and Answers | April 2017

Question #1

Question:  My Victoria plum tree appears to be dying. There does not appear to any bud growth & the bark has what looks like a fungi growing up it. It looks lie the bark of silver birch when it peels but it feels very hard to the touch. Can you help please.

  RAW Carey, Birmingham, UK


ANSWER:   Your tree is dying. The fungi and peeling bark are usually only found on trees that are in the last stages of death. You need to have a licensed arborist come and look at it. While there may be some treatment that will help, the arborist will most likely recommend that you remove the tree.

Question #2

Question:  I uncovered my potted tulip bulbs today, and brought them inside. When I uncovered them, several have started growing already, and there are several 6-10inch root like growths on top of the pot. Can I cut them back?

  Peter Metz, Manlius


ANSWER:   It sounds like your tulips have come out of dormancy too soon. This is happening more frequently with the unusual weather the United States has had this year. I recommend not cutting the roots on top of the pot. Leave the bulbs inside and place them near a window where they can get bright sunshine but not close enough to get burned. They may go ahead and bloom. When it gets warm enough, plant them as usual.

Question #3

Question:  I have trouble growing cucumber both from seed and plant. The plant will develop, have buds and very small cucumbers. With in a few days the plants start to die and the cucumbers never developed into larger vegetable. Sometimes the cucumber develops and is small and curved. I never get larger cucumbers. I side dress with fertilizer, water and compost. I even tried putting the plants on hills. I rotate where I plant them but that still does not help. Looking for recommendations to try this year. Thank you.

  Tony Witczak, Wayne, PA


ANSWER:   You need to use either fertilizer or compost. Doing both is overloading the plants with nutrients and making them die. Too much of a good thing is, in this case, toxic. You need to take a soil sample and contact your Extension agent about getting it tested. The soil lab will tell you exactly what you need to add to your garden to get the best vegetables possible.

Question #4

Question:  I have a older naval orange tree and I've noticed one large branch that the bark that is splitting off running down the branch towards the main trunk. What is this indicating and what if anything can we do? We still get a great crop of oranges and would hate to lose the tree. Thank you in advance for any info you can supply.

  Bill Parchman, Garden Grove


ANSWER:   This is indicative of disease and means that branch is dying. You need to call a certified arborist to have him diagnose and treat your tree before the main trunk is affected and the whole tree dies.

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Use Edgings

Nothing finishes off a flower bed like low, long flowering edging plants.

Alyssum, lobelia, and dianthus are great for just this purpose.

For good continual flowering, also fertilize every few weeks with a balanced fertilizer like a 15-15-15.

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