Posts tagged pear

Answers to your questions and what about those tiny worms??

Cyndi Lee asked the following: I have found a large trail of what at first looked like sawdust, but upon closer examination are very tiny worm like things. They are falling from the large tree I have which overhangs our deck. Any idea what these are? They are very tiny and are falling in clumps. They are a pale yellow in color.

 If you know what the worms might be, please leave a reply below.

 Linn County Master Gardeners have answered some of the other questions you’ve been asking:

 Q: We have a small vine-like weed that is taking over the gardens and flower beds. they are small leafed the stems are strong and grow upon the plants and choke them off. I pull them constantly but they continue to grow back. Is there anything that I can spray them with without killing off the flowers and garden plants? I would appreciate your input.

ANSWER: Cut and paint cut end with undiluted Round Up.  Use a small foam brush.

 Q: I found a large worm on my mom’s apple trees and what to know if they are good worm or bad. where can I take then to find out? I can take them to Ames but where in Ames?????

ANSWER: Bring sample to Linn County Extension Office, 3279 7th Ave., Marion.  We’ll try to identify it here, or give info to ISU.

 Q: I am in need of help to get rid of the seedlings from my pear tree. I need to know when and how to manage them as I have a flowerbed under my tree. I did not put these in but inherited them from the previous owner. They are a nightmare to deal with. Thank you for your help.

ANSWER: They will need to be pulled out.

 Q: I have a beautiful Walnut tree but it has been sprouting branches near its bottom and just does not look right. Can I prune them now ? If so what angle? And should I put something on the exposed ends? Some of the branches are approx. an inch in diameter. I surely don’t want to harm my tree!

ANSWER: The tree is under stress for some reason.  Prune now.  Do not paint anything on wound.  It will heal itself.

 Linn County Master Gardeners also answer questions on Iowa State University extension’s horticulture hotline at (319) 447-0647.

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Your questions: tree talk

Readers have trees on their minds this month.

Dale, who lives in southeastern Wisconsin, submitted the following question: I have a beautiful Walnut tree but it has been sprouting branches near its
bottom and just does not look right.  Can I prune them now ? If so what angle? And should I put something on the exposed ends? Some of the branches are approx. an inch in diameter. I surely don’t want to harm my tree!

Teresa submitted the following: I am in need of help to get rid of the seedlings from my pear tree. I need to know when and how to manage them as I have a flowerbed under my tree. I did not put these in but inherited them from the previous owner. They are a nightmare to deal with. Thank you for your help.

If you have advice for Dale or Teresa, leave a comment below.

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Your Questions: answers, and a new one

Tom from Cedar Rapids left a question that hopefully someone in this area can answer. He asked the following:

I’m looking at harvesting some of the water that comes off my roof, but I haven’t found a good source for rain barrels in the greater CR, IA area. Where’s a good place to get one?

Thanks!

If you have an answer for Tom, leave your comment below.

 

 

Pam and Leora last week asked the following:

 

   I have started a flower garden in the front of my home which is facing east but does get some south sun on part of the garden area. I love flowering plants but I have not done a good job with finding appropriate plants. Does anyone have ideas of various plants that are perennials to put here?

 

 How soon should you start trimming the fruit trees: apple and pear? What other tips should I know to get the trees ready for spring? I have heard a lot about spraying the trees so what should I use?

 

 We have heard of growing potatoes in tires, but need to know the procedure. We have two big tractor tires to work with. Please help us.

 

Gardeners can be a shy bunch, but Bev Lillie, Master Gardener coordinator for Linn County, was able to get answers from some of the Linn County Master Gardeners.

Here’s what they said about the pear and apple trees: prune fruit trees in late winter/early spring.  Apply a fungicide/insecticide, e.g., home orchard spray biweekly after the blossoms drop.

As for what perennials to plant, if the site is in partial sun or shade, you can find suggestions at the Iowa State Extension Web site by searching on partial shade plants:  www.extension.iastate.edu/ipm/hortnews/

Some of my favorites include Japanese iris, which flower in early to midsummer; turtlehead, which grows 2-3 feet tall and has pretty pink or white flowers in the fall, and for foliage plants lungwort or pulmonaria and the groundcover lamium, which stays green almost year-round and flowers during the spring, summer and fall. 

 For the potato question, Ed Hume Seed’s Web site: http://www.humeseeds.com/index.htm offered some possibilities. My mom has had success with the first method, which uses straw and might work in large tires, as well.

Straw: For centuries, Scandinavians have grown potatoes in stacks of straw or other mulching material. Potatoes are planted above ground in the straw, and as the vines begin to grow, additional straw` or mulch is mounded up around the base of the plants. This results in a yield of very clean potatoes. New potatoes can be harvested easily even before the potato vines mature completely.

Under plastic or in plastic garbage bags: Garden soil or a commercial potting soil can be used to grow the potatoes in the bags, Fold over the top half of the bag, fill with soil, and plant a certified seed potato that has been cut in half. The plastic bag can be set above ground wherever it’s convenient. Punch holes in the bottom of the bag for drainage.

You also can plant potatoes under black plastic. Cut open a piece of the black plastic, and plant a potato piece. The potato tubers will develop as they would in the open ground. However, the tubers that develop close to the surface of the soil are shaded by the black plastic and should not develop the green inedible portions that often are found on other tubers. The black plastic also will aid in controlling weeds.

Garbage cans or containers: Old garbage cans, or wooden or fiberboard-type containers are suitable for growing potatoes, if they have adequate drainage. You can conserve space by growing them in this manner. A word of caution, though: The plants tend to dry out more rapidly when grown in containers, so additional watering will be needed. Otherwise, you’re likely to end up with misshapen tubers.

Pulmonaria, or lungwort, in bloom

Pulmonaria, or lungwort, in bloom

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New feature: Your Questions

Every so often, I see comments posted that ask gardening questions that I’m sure many of our readers would be able to help answer. With that in mind, a new category, “Your questions” has been added, so readers can ask and answer gardening questions. I’ll also try to find expert answers if no one else can help.

 

Click on the arrow next to the categories box, at the right, to find this feature.

 

 The first questions come from Pam who asks the following:

 

 I have started a flower garden in the front of my home which is facing east but does get some south sun on part of the garden area. I love flowering plants but I have not done a good job with finding appropriate plants. Does anyone have ideas of various plants that are perennials to put here?

 

Pam (who lives in Marion, Iowa) also asked:

How soon should you start trimming the fruit trees: apple and pear? What other tips should I know to get the trees ready for spring? I have heard a lot about spraying the trees so what should I use?

Leora left the following question:

 We have heard of growing potatoes in tires, but need to know the procedure. We have two big tractor tires to work with. Please help us.

Does anyone have advice for Pam or Leora? Please add your suggestions in a comment below.

 

If you have any questions of your own, you can post it in a comment here, or send an email to: cindy.hadish@gazcomm.com

Please include your location – Northern Iowa, Central Iowa, etc., – as that will help tailor the responses.

 

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Invasive species alert!

Callery pear photo by New Invaders Watch List
Callery pear photo by New Invaders Watch List

  

 Cedar Rapids City Arborist Daniel Gibbons wants residents to be aware of an invasive species that could become a problem soon in Iowa. The ornamental Callery pear is a popular urban landscape tree, valued for its white flowers.  But Gibbons, who served as horticulturist in Columbia, Mo., and has held his Cedar Rapids post since January, warned that as the trees age, hybridizing starts. The wild seedlings, which produce thorns and have weak branches, can grow in the sun, shade, or anywhere and overtake prairies and other native areas. Birds that eat the berries spread the seeds.

    While Gibbons has not heard of the wild version growing in this area yet, he noted that education is important. “In order for it not to happen, the word needs to get out,” he said. “Education may save us.”

      Here is more on this invasive species, from the Cedar Rapids Public Works Department:

 The introduction of exotic plant and tree species for the purpose of aesthetic gardens or utilitarian roles has been practiced within the fields of horticulture and forestry since ancient times.  Our tendency to become dissatisfied with native flora all too often cultivates a desire to expand our landscape pallet to non-native varieties and cultivars.  Such new specimens can produce vivid floral or textural displays, offering an arboretum or landscape renewed appeal. 

 Unfortunately, the cost of promoting newly discovered species that are out of place in our native ecosystem is rarely known until years after introduction.  Much of the time there are minimal impacts to the native ecosystem from well contained non-native landscapes.  Occasionally however, a plant or tree can escape and pose enormous consequences to native plant communities.

 Pyrus calleryana, is one such exotic species that has “escaped”.  Ornamental (Callery) pear trees have been prized for their tidy form and magnificent spring display of snow white flowers.  Although now known to be weak-wooded and prone to storm damage, Callery pear cultivars such as ‘Redspire’, ‘Bradford’, ‘Capital’, ‘Cleveland Select’ and others are foundational to many landscapes because of their sure establishment and nearly pest free acclaim.

 Although earlier thought to be sterile and unable to reproduce, wild hybrids are now sprouting up across the country where landscape pear plantings have matured.  These new pear hybrids are not only thorny, but also have retained the weak branching structure of the parent cultivars.  Hybrids from nursery produced trees are also extremely vigorous, and seem to tolerate numerous site conditions, eventually producing a thorn-filled stand of trees too thick for native regeneration. This spread may prove to be one of the most serious problems to date for land managers and home owners alike.

 Within our neighboring state of Missouri, Columbia Park Natural Resource Supervisor Brett O’Brien successfully partnered with the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Missouri Community Forestry Council to form an educational program called, “Stop the Spread!”  In 2002, the Columbia Parks Department began noticing wild pear trees growing in a natural area.  Within 6 years, thorny hybrid pear trees are now abundant and increasing within Columbia utility right-of-ways, natural areas, and even well-maintained park landscapes.

 According to an article by Theresa Culley and Nicole Hardiman in Bioscience (December 2007 / Vol. 57 No. 11), Callery pear cultivars are now listed by 6 eastern states as invasive, with more to come.  Culley/Hardiman note that pear hybrids spread rapidly within restored prairie wetlands and are capable of producing “impenetrable” thorny thickets.

 As ornamental pear populations increase from landscape plantings within our region, the danger for cross-pollination and the production of wild pear hybrids will increase.  The importance of developing awareness to this problem and reduction of market demand for ornamental pear trees is critical.  Homeowners, developers, nursery growers, and municipal forestry departments share the responsibility to promote the use of alternative species as substitutes for the Callery pear.  Without such cooperation, Central Iowa could soon face the costly and ecologically devastating effects of hybrid pear colonization now being realized elsewhere.

 Pictures are available at www.cedar-rapids.org under City News.  Click on the Invasive Species Alert link to view the PDF file.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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