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Past Questions and Answers | October 2013


Question #1

Question:  We have two honey crisp apple trees that are about 8-9 years old. They have only bloomed once 2years ago, had very small apples which fell off soon after they came on the tree. Since then we have not had any blossom, therefore no fruit. We hard pruned them 2 years before they there one and only bloom and fruit. What do we need to do to get fruit from these trees.

  Linda Stewart, Fort Frances, Ontario

 

ANSWER:   They probably need more chilling hours than you get at your house. Ask your Extension Agent how many chilling hours you get in your county. If the trees need more than you get, they will not bloom. The blooms are cued by receiving the required number of chilling hours. Not enough chilling hours results in no blooms.



Question #2

Question:  I have dwarf canna should i dig them up this winter or leave them in the ground?

  Diane Burleson, Mountain Home, Arkansas

 

ANSWER:   Because you live in the South, you have two options. You can wait until frost blackens the foliage and then remove the stems and leaves from the rhizomes. Did the rhizomes up and store in barely moist peat moss where they will not get frost or freeze. Make sure the rhizomes are not touching in the peat moss. In the spring, after all danger of frost, you can replant the rhizomes. Or, you can let the cannas grow without moving them and simply divide the roots every three to four years.



Question #3

Question:  My cucumbers this year turned out bitter to taste. What could have been the trouble?

  Masako Dougherty, Hastings on Hudson, New York

 

ANSWER:   Heat and drought have made normally sweet cucumbers bitter this year. The drought and extreme heat have increased the bitterness and there is really nothing you can do about it other than making sure the cucumbers have adequate water when growing.



Question #4

Question:  I have a large black plastic compost bin and I am new to composting.I regularly add kitchen scraps,shredded paper,cardboard,garden waste,comfrey leaves,dry leaves etc to try to keep the carbon/nitrogen ratio right. However my pile is all slimy and wet at the bottom when I try to fork it over and I don't know how to correct it now. Any suggestions? Many thanks.

  Kerry Cumberbatch, Melbourne, Victoria

 

ANSWER:   How much are you watering the pile? It should be kept moist but not soggy. How often are you turning it? Once a week or so while you are actively adding to the pile and once a month or so once the pile is just sitting there should help.



Question #5

Question:  Hello, please help! I've been dealing with spider mite and grasshoppers since spring! Now we have a infestation. What should I use?? And will spider mites live thru the winter in dirt to return next years garden?

  Deb Steffl, Chandler, Minnesota

 

ANSWER:   Spider mites can be killed with an insecticidal soap. It coats them and suffocates them on the plant. Make sure you get the underside of the leaves and coat that well as spider mites prefer that area of the plant. If insecticidal soaps have not helped, you can use a miticide with bifenthrin in it. The trade name of the most common pesticide with this ingredient is Talstar.



Question #6

Question:  I have 12ft.cedars lined against my wood fence. This summer, my neighbor who lives on the other side of my fence, decided to prune back the branches on his side. Unfortunately, he pruned back so hard,(bald on his side), I fear new growth may never occur. Will my worst fear be realized, or can there be anything done to restore new growth? Please help!

  Laura Connors, Grimsby, Ontario

 

ANSWER:   Your trees will probably grow on the side you have not severely pruned, but may stay flat on the side he pruned. It would be unusual for the trees to try to put out new branches where the pruning was so severe.



Question #7

Question:  I was reading about how to get rid of slugs in the garden but I need to keep them out of my house. Yes they are getting in at night and I find their slimmy trails as well as them inside the house. Can you tell me how to keep them out?

  Nina Carmine, Robards, Kentucky

 

ANSWER:   The first thing to do is figure out what holes or crack they are getting in through and seal it. That will solve the problem completely, as they will no longer get in the house at all. While they are there, you use the same products, Sluggo or Escar-go, to kill them. These contain iron phosphate and are not as poisonous to pets as the old copper based slug bait.



Question #8

Question:  I just received some rose of sharon shoots. All are well rootted in water. I want to make a 50' fence across my back yard.Can I plant them now ? or should I put them in a cup with dirt and wait till spring. I have about 100 of them . We already had a slight frost. Can you help me. Thank You

  Joanne Williams, Glenwood, New York

 

ANSWER:   You essentially have bare root plants. Bare root plants are usually planted when they are dormant in the winter. However, you will probably be okay planting them now as they are becoming dormant with the approach of winter. Have you had them in the house the whole time? If so, you will need to harden them off by leaving them out a few hours at a time in good weather until they are used to the outside, then planting them in the place you intend to leave them.



Question #9

Question:  I have had a Jackmanii clematis for 15-20 years. In the last 3-4 years, it has had no flowers at all. It used to be full of flowers. It grows a huge plant with leaves, but no flowers. I fertilize it with Bloom. Why no flowers?

  Inga Holcomb, Onamia, Minnesota

 

ANSWER:   It is approaching the end of its lifespan and is putting all its energy into surviving, not reproducing. You may try repotting it and see if it has become root bound and just needs more space to grow, but it is probably just getting old.




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Gardening-tip:



Is space a problem for you?

Then you might want to consider growing your vegetables, fruit, citrus, or annual color in tubs, 1/2 wine barrels, window boxes or hanging baskets.

All make great areas to grow columnar fruit, citrus, beans, tomatoes, herbs, or even onions or lettuce.

Get creative! What can you think of that would grow well in a small space?


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