NEWS for North Dakotans
Agriculture Communication, North Dakota State University
7 Morrill Hall, Fargo, ND 58105-5665
January 22, 1998
Ron Smith, Extension Horticulturist
North Dakota State University
Q. Will you please identify this plant. It came up under the bird feeders on the south side of our house. I thought it was rather pretty at first with leaves sort of like watermelon with yellow flowers. When they turned to burrs it was another story. I have tried to see to it that no seeds were dropped.
I have been a gardener since I was a teenager. I enjoy your column. Thank you. (Twin Valley, Minn.)
A. Thank you for the good sample and the accurate description in your letter.
This plant is known as buffalo bur, Solanium rostratum, an annual that is rare in your part of the country. Pulling it out before it dropped seed will be one of the best gardening decisions of your life. I don't know how you handled such a beast!
Thanks for writing and the kind comments about the column.
Q. I've been keeping up with your column in the farm papers every chance I get and use many of your answers to my advantage.
What I would like to know is if anyone would have some spare Evening Scented seed (Auben Duft) that I shared with so many people a few years ago. I ran out of seed due to grasshoppers and dry weather. I would be glad to send a stamped and self addressed envelope. (Dickinson, N.D.)
A. I will certainly put the word out through the column. Sorry I don't have any to send you.
If anyone responds, I will have them get directly in touch with you.
In the meantime, I thought you might like to know that Territorial Seed Company, PO Box 157, Cottage Grove, OR 97424, has some Dwarf Scented stock, Matthiola incana.
Thanks for keeping in touch and the kind expressions about the column.
Q. The enclosed egg cases with hatched insects were collected from a day lily leaf this summer. Within hours the insects emerged from their cases. How glad I was to find them when I did! Could you identify them and let me know what to do when spotted in future years.
Also, I have been interested in trying a process for developing triploid day lilies from seed. I have lost my instructions for the process and chemical to be gotten from a drug/chemical source (I understand it is poisonous). My day lily cross finally yielded seeds to maturity so I am eager to give it a try or two.
I am in the process of transplanting white oak and black walnuts grown from seed, and look forward to spring. My redbuds (planted last fall as seeds) grew knee high this year and am hopeful just one at least will make it through the winter even though I know they are out of their range. The seeds came from southern Minnesota.
Thank you for your information in the paper. It feeds my love for working with plants and caring for them. (Dickey, N.D.)
A. I have requested help from our entomologists in identifying your egg mass. When they get back to me, I will give you the information.
Concerning your question on developing triploid day lilies: triploids, to my knowledge are nonfertile. What I think you want are tetraploids. As you can see from the enclosed information, the chemical used to increase ploidy in plants was colchicinederived from the autumn crocusand it is indeed poisonous and no longer available to gardeners.
I hope you will enjoy reading the hybridizing information I have enclosed.
Thank you for writing.
Q. Enclosed are some leaves from a Martha Washington geranium. At first a few rusty spots appear; the whole leaf turns this rusty color and drops off. The blossoms are not affected. The plants were outside during the summer with no improvement.
I started some new plants with cuttings and the same thing happened to them. Other types of geraniums seem to be immune.
Your comments will be appreciated. I read your column with much interest. Thank you. (Jamestown, N.D.)
A. Your geranium samples had the classic symptoms of bacterial leaf spot, including the dropping of the leaves, as described in your letter.
Unfortunately, this is one of those terminal diseases on a plant. It was likely picked up when it was summered outdoors and could have come from splashing water or insect feeding activity.
Control measures call for sanitation of pots, cutting knives and soil. Diseased plants in the greenhouse business are dumped.
Sorry I can't give you good news. Thank you for being a faithful reader of the column.
Source: Ron Smith (701) 231-8161
Editor: Barry Brissman (701) 231-7866