NEWS for North Dakotans
Agriculture Communication, North Dakota State University
7 Morrill Hall, Fargo, ND 58105-5665
March 26, 1998
Ron Smith, Extension Horticulturist
North Dakota State University
Q. When I lived at East Grand Forks I had both the double red and pink poppy. I would gather seed and plant them next year, but they wouldn't grow. The ones that dropped would grow. What didn't I do right? (Lisbon, N.D.)
A. They most likely dried or were stored where the temperatures got too high.
Thanks for writing.
Q. I was given a piece of a jasmine to root. It was doing well and had bloomed once. (When we got up in the morning it smelled heavenly!) The leaf margins started yellowing and finally the whole leaf yellowed and dropped. Several are now in this condition. Can you tell me how to remedy this?
Thank you in advanceyou have so much helpful information in your column. (Jamestown, N.D.)
A. Without plant tissue to diagnose, I can only guess that a nutrient deficiency was showing upnitrogen, iron, sulfur, etc. You didn't say what you were rooting the jasmine inwater, sand, peat or some other media. You also didn't mention whether or not rooting had actually taken place.
Generally, flowering cuttings root very poorly, if at all. Flower production is an energy drain and should be prevented, if possible, while rooting is being attempted.
If you are using "typical" North Dakota water to root the jasmine, it is likely suffering from severe iron deficiency at the least, which would account for the defoliation.
I recall well the beautiful fragrance from the jasmine when we were living in Arizona. Enclosed is the publication "Home Propagation Techniques" as a reference for you. Others may get this publication from county offices of the NDSU Extension Service.
Thanks for writing.
Q. I never miss your helpful hints and have learned much. Since I have put my Christmas and Easter cactuses outside during summer they have blossomed much more. My Christmas cactus has been in blossom since December 1 for the second time.
I am having a problem with my amaryllis bulbs. I plant them in the garden over summer, water them with Miracle-Gro and they are all sending up two-blossom stalks now indoors. The problem is on three of the six bulbs. One stalk has a line of rust causing the stalk to be short, but it has four blossoms on it while the other stalk is normal. Is there anything I can do to get rid of the rust? Thanks. (Robinson, N.D.)
A. Thank you for the kind words about the column.
Concerning your amaryllis problem, it sounds like the one bulb has become infected with a virus, something that was likely picked up over the summer months outdoors. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to rid that bulb of the virus. What you could do is allow that one to set seed, then sow that and see if the seedlings are virus-free. You might succeed!
I have enclosed extension publication H811, "Amaryllis Care in the Home," for further information. Others may get this publication from county offices of the NDSU Extension Service.
Q. I very much enjoy your articles and find them very informative.
I have several evergreens that appear to be afflicted by little white cushiony spots which seem to be causing the needles to turn brown. What can you tell me about this problem? (Brookings, S.D.)
A. There are three insects similar in appearance to the one you describe: cottony cushion scale, mealybugs and wooly aphids.
All three produce waxy secretions that cover their bodies; the young, crawler stages are quite inconspicuous on the host plant.
Mealybugs and scales generally deposit their eggs in white cottony masses, many times in leaf axils. All are destructive feeders, and in addition to causing direct damage to the host plant they cause indirect damage by depositing "honeydew" excrement all over the plant. This causes a sooty mold fungus to develop, which gives the plant a dirty appearance. This in turn reduces the photosynthetic capacity of the leaves, which further weakens the plant.
After all of that, if there are only a few affected branches, prune them out. If the tree is heavily infested, use a systemic insecticide like Orthene, or any other containing acephate.
Source: Ron Smith (701) 231-8161
Editor: Barry Brissman (701) 231-7866