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Past Questions and Answers | June 2015


Question #1

Question:  I would like to grow tomato plants on my screened in balcony, but an attempt 2 years ago led to flowers but no fruit development. I suspect they could not be fertilized due to the screen, what do you say, and is there any variety that can grow in these conditions?

  Pat O'Brien, Aurora, CO

 

ANSWER:   No variety of tomatoes will produce tomatoes in a screened in porch as there is no way for them to be fertilized by bees. You will have to grow them where bees can get access to them or you will not get any tomatoes.

Question #2

Question:  What can I spray my apple tree with to prevent insect damage and when should I spray it?

  Candace Bell, Waukesha, Wisconsin

 

ANSWER:   Apple trees require a variety of different sprays at different times of the year to eliminate different pests. You can obtain a spray schedule for your area by contacting your county Extension agent and requesting on.

Question #3

Question:  I have wild onion problem. After pulling & cutting them for two years I finally planted A LOT of Marigolds after my local greenhouse suggested it. It's not working. :( Now what?

  Chandra Grawe, Lentner, Missouri

 

ANSWER:   Marigolds will have effect on wild onions. If you are treating them in a Bermuda lawn, you can get a herbicide with 2,4,d in it that will kill the onions and not the lawn. If you have St. Augustine grass, you cannot use 2,4,d as it will kill the St. Augustine. The best defense then is to fertilize and water your St. Augustine grass and pamper it until it crowds out the onions. Frequent mowing will also help, as they will not be able to go to seed and spread.

Question #4

Question:  About to plant some Hydrangea - what do I amend my damp sandy soil with?

  Joe Foley, Conway, SC

 

ANSWER:   Hydrangea like acid conditions, so mixing one part potting soil to one part peat moss and filling the flower bed with that mixture around the hydrangeas will help them thrive. If you cannot afford to fill the flower bed with that mixture, mixing it one part to one part of your sandy soil will help.

Question #5

Question:  I am having difficulty identifying a thread-like cord (don't want to use the term vine but that might help you) that invades bushes -- it looks like a green thread, the weaves, and eventually strangles rose bushes and other plants. There are no leaves on this living thread just a mass of stringiness.

  Sherry Klusman, Phoenix, Arizona

 

ANSWER:   You need to take a sample of this plant to your local Extension agent for identification and to find out how to kill it without killing your roses. Without seeing it, I cannot identify it for you.

Question #6

Question:  I remember one time a master gardner wrote about a solution made of suger and water to pour in the bowl of a tomato plant to kill nematodes. Do you know the formula and how much and how often to use with a plant? Thank you for any assistance you can provide.

  Bill, Parchman, California

 

ANSWER:   There is no research showing that such a mixture will have an effect on nematodes. However, planting lots of marigolds in and around your tomatoes will repel nematodes and keep them from bothering the tomato plants.

Question #7

Question:  I just recieved an Asiatic Lily (tiny Double You). can it withstand the weather in Maine if I plant it outside?

  Evelyn Cahill, Albion, Maine

 

ANSWER:   No, it is too cold there for this type of lily. It will have to stay a houseplant in your area.

Question #8

Question:  I just put young tomato plants in ground and the next day they look punny and the tips of leave are brown & feel dry! I have been watering them with miracle grow. What have I done wrong?

  Rebecca Bane, Salisbury, North Carolina

 

ANSWER:   You have probably over fertilized them and burned the plants. Normally, you do not fertilize a plant heavily when it is first planted as it can burn them and it makes the top grow faster than the roots can provide water to them, so they wilt and die. Use water to water the plants and place fertilizer beside the plant, not on top of it, a couple of weeks after you plant them, then once a month until the tomato plants are through bearing tomatoes.

Question #9

Question:  I have 2 hibiscus plants in my back yard they get afternoon sun. we planted them using Kow manuer because we are sandy. 1 plant is OK but the other has leaves that turn yellow all the time and very few flowers what can we do to stop this. Thank you

  Dora Cunningham, Lady Lake, FL

 

ANSWER:   That is a symptom of a stressed plant. Too much or too little water is the primary cause of yellowing leaves. Make sure that you keep the plant damp but not soggy.

Question #10

Question:  Can you plant gerber daisy seeds harvested early in the year in the same year as they were harvested?

  Kay Dobbs, Hixson, TN

 

ANSWER:   Yes, but they will not normally bloom that year. Since they are an tender perennial and survive the winter only in zones 9-11, you would essentially be wasting your seed to grow a lot of foliage and no flowers.

Question #11

Question:  I have an area of my yard that is mostly shaded by a tall bay tree. I have noticed black mold on the bay leaves, ivy, and plants in this area. Initially I thought it was soot from when we had a BBQ. I was able to wash the black substance from the large leaves of a plant, and had to gently scrub it off. What do you think it is and what should I do to eliminate it. I'm thinking that it has something to do with the dampness of this area.

  Roberta Jue, Petaluma, CA

 

ANSWER:   That is sooty mold. It usually follows an infection with aphids because they produce a honeydew like substance and the mold grows on it. Treat your plants for aphids and it will most likely solve the problem. Use insecticidal soap and thouroughly apply it to every surface in the affected area.


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