NEWS for North Dakotans
Agriculture Communication, North Dakota State University
7 Morrill Hall, Fargo, ND 58105-5665
October 29, 1998
Ron Smith, Extension Horticulturist
North Dakota State University
Q: Can you tell me why my potatoes are growing in bunches joined together? They look really weird and I would like to know what is causing this. (Pierre, S.D.)
A: The problem could be one of two things: a varietal trait or stress-caused physiological disorder caused by heat or drought. Russet Burbank is one of the more sensitive to problems, so I recommend Goldrush or Russet Norkotah. They both will provide uniform baking potatoes.
Q: Can you tell me what this plant is that is growing on the edge of my garden? (Kulm, N.D.)
A: The sample appears to be from a boxelder (Acer negundo) tree. I can give a more definite identification if you would like to send a larger sample with buds.
Q: Can you tell me what this growth is on my trees? I would also like to know how to treat this and if the tree can be saved. (Turtle Lake, N.D.)
A: Your trees are infested with the poplar bud gall mite, which causes cauliflower-like galls to form at leaf buds of cottonwoods and other poplars. These galls are dark green in color early in the season and turn brick red by late summer. Older galls have a rigid and furrowed surface, are hard and grayish in color.
The trees may lose aesthetic value quickly since new galls are formed every year, while the old galls are still active for up to four years. This continuous attack may weaken a tree, and may kill off the lower branches. There are some poplars that appear to be more resistant than others to the mites, including Walker, Wheeler, Griffin, and Dunlop. If chemical control is necessary, Carbaryl can be sprayed as buds and leaves are expanding in the spring. Refer to the NDSU extension publication "Common Insect Pests of Trees and Shrubs of North Dakota" (E-296) for a list of other chemicals that may be used.
Q: Can you tell me where I can purchase fern peonies? (Ipswich, S.D.)
A: I could only find one source in all of my many seed catalogs, and that would be Farmer Seed & Nursery.
Q: I am sending you three of my apples that have spots on them, and I would like to know why? Most of the apples seem OK, but a few of them look like this. What can I do to stop this from happening next year? (Oakes, N.D.)
A: The apples you sent appear to be infected with the black rot fungus Botryosphaeria obtusa. This fungus can cause a "frogeye" spot on leaves, a dry rot of fruit and cankers that can kill entire limbs on trees. Remove all diseased twigs, branches, and clean up all fruit and leaf litter in the fall. Refer to the NDSU extension publication "Diseases of Apples and Other Pome Fruits" (PP-454).
Q: Can you tell me if there is anything I can do to save my apple tree? I have enclosed a picture of the tree. (Jamestown, N.D.)
A: Your apple tree is suffering from a fungus (Schizophyllum commune). The fungus probably entered the tree through the sun scald that seems apparent on your tree. Your tree may not completely recover, but you should not give up hope. If the wound on the tree completely closes, the fungus will not be able to spread, and your tree will survive. Encourage tree health by mulching, providing adequate water and protecting it from further injury.
Source: Ron Smith (701) 231-8161 email@example.com
Editor: Dean Hulse (701) 231-6136