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Past Questions and Answers | June 2016

Question #1

Question:  I have a flowering dogwood tree, on the branches there is some sort of growth/disease . I cut the infected areas off. Is there a way to save the tree?

  Stan Wetaskiwin


ANSWER:   What you describe is the colonization of your tree by fungus. They would not be able to attack your tree if it was not already dying.

Question #2

Question:  I have had a slope covered with Mahonia nervosa for 25 years. Last year they started dying in an apparently contagious fashion. The leaves turn mottled yellow and red, then black, then brown and fall off. (can send photos). I've lost at least 30 plants in the last 12 months. I've assumed it is a fungal problem and tried 3 fungicides. Advice?

  Oliver Press, Seattle WA


ANSWER:   Take a sample to your county Extension office. They will be familiar with diseases that infest your grape vines and can point you toward a solution.

Question #3

Question:  I have just noticed a dead branch on my apple tree. It has started to sprout leaves and I can see the blossoms starting to sprout. When or can I cut off this branch now or will it disrupt the growth and the fruit that it will bare this year.

  Brian, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada


ANSWER:   You should prune your tree before the blossoms sprout. Once they do, the tree is out of dormancy and you could harm it by pruning it. The only exception to this rule is if the dead branch could fall on something important, like your house. Then you go ahead and prune it off.

Question #4

Question:  My apple tree has a thousand blooms right now and I need to know how can I thin out some of these blooms safely to help produce larger apples when the blooms turn to fruit?

  Robert, Sugarloaf, California


ANSWER:   Apple trees are usually thinned by hand. You leave one bloom each six inches on a branch.

Question #5

Question:  I put in my very first straw bale garden this year, and have noticed that my leaf vegetables leaves are turning yellow. Too much nitrogen? Too much water? Not enough sun? Help my spinach and lettuce look very sad!

  Mary Armstrong, Republic


ANSWER:   Your plants have fusarium wilt. It is a fungal disease which infects the plants vascular system. Fungal spores live in the soil and can by carried by cucumber beetles. Plant disease resistant varieties. Be sure to rotate crops every year. Take the sick plants and put them in the trash, don’t compost sick plants.

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