NEWS for North Dakotans
Agriculture Communication, North Dakota State University
7 Morrill Hall, Fargo, ND 58105-5665
August 13, 1998
Ron Smith, Extension Horticulturist
North Dakota State University
Q: Enclosed is a sample of our mountain ash and a few leaves from a tree that I cannot identify. The ash blooms and gets berries, then it dies off, and is now getting some dead leaves. We also have three apple trees right next to the ash that we were told have fireblight. What can we do to save these trees? We did try spraying Malathion at the time of blossoming, but it didn't help. (Berlin, N.D.)
A: My suggestion is to get rid of the badly diseased apples and mountain ash, and allow the black walnut that is growing among them (probably planted by a squirrel) to thrive.
The apple and mountain ash are members of the same family, and both are susceptible to fireblight, along with other diseases. Once they are hit as hard as yours are, there is little that can be done to save them. Enclosed is a publication of apple cultivars that are more resistant to diseases ("Tree Fruit Culture and Varieties in North Dakota"H327).
Q: My 3-year-old lilacs are blooming poorly. I am now cutting the seed pods off. Is that the right thing to do? (Onida, S.D.)
A: The sample you sent in was of late lilacsSyringa villosaor one of its hybrids ("Miss Canada" etc.) This species differs from other lilacs in that it produces flowers on the current season's growth rather than from wood produced the previous season. You are correct in removing the seed heads. Keep it up!
Q: In response to the person who had snakes in their house, I used Lime. The snakes were laying on top of my raspberry bushes, so I dusted around them with the lime. It burns the snakes skin when they go across it. (Devils Lake, N.D.)
A: Thank you for the help with the snakes! I will pass it on to the person trying to get rid of snakes.
Q: I have an asparagus fern that I transplant in early spring, and I never cut it back. Should I? Is it better to transplant them in the fall? Also, will they tolerate a light frost? (Litchville, N.D.)
A: Asparagus ferns are beautiful and somewhat tough. They will survive light frosts. I'd suggest throwing a sheet or newspaper over them when a light frost is called for. You are doing the correct thing by transplanting in early spring, and if you've been successful by not cutting them back, why start?
Q: I have an old patch of asparagus that is overridden with grass. Is there a chemical that can help me to restore the patch the right way? (Litchville, N.D.)
A: Yes, you can use Poast to rid the asparagus patch of grass. However, it would probably be beneficial to dig and reset some of the crowns in another location, since so much time has passed. Refer to the enclosed publication on growing asparagus ("Asparagus and Rhubarb"H61).
Q: My old hackberry tree has these warts, which don't hurt the tree but damage the leaves. What can I do to get rid of this problem? (Lemmon, S.D.)
A: Your (and everybody else's) hackberry is being infested with Hackberry Nipplegalla very small insect related to aphids known as a psyllid. They cause no harm to the plants, just superficial disfigurement. If you really want to attempt control, spray with Sevin or diazinon in early spring as leaves unfold, but it is generally not worth the effort.
Source: Ron Smith (701) 231-8161
Editor: Dean Hulse (701) 231-6136