NEWS for North Dakotans
Agriculture Communication, North Dakota State University
7 Morrill Hall, Fargo, ND 58105-5665
December 3, 1998
Ron Smith, Extension Horticulturist
North Dakota State University
Q: I have a water lily question for you. Last summer we had a small tub that had two water lilies in it. My question of course is how to take care of them this winter? I read somewhere that they can be kept in a plastic bag and stored in the refrigerator. Is this true? (Valley City, N.D.)
A: Water lilies can be kept moist and in their containers in any above freezingbut coolenvironment. I am afraid of the plastic bag in the refrigeratortoo little air movement may cause pathogens to develop.
The hardy lily you can leave in the pool as long as the water will not freeze to the crown lots of luck on that not happening!
Q: Can you identify this plant that has been found growing in a well-cultivated area. It develops purple flowers on its stem at the top of the branches. It doesn't seem to spread, or have much die-back from Mother Nature. (Georgetown, Minn.)
A: Thanks for the excellent sample! I had to call on the expertise of Bill Barker, a professor in Range Science, who knows native plants better than anyone north of the Tropic of Cancer! He identified it as lead plantAmorpha canescensa native legume that grows in sites like you describe, from Manitoba to New Mexico.
Q: Can you tell me what the ratio of Poast is that I should spray on my strawberry patch to get rid of the grass? My bed has an area of 200 square feet. I also would like to know the application times and any other info that would improve my situation without having to dig up my patch. (e-mail)
A: Someday universities will turn out doctorates in pesticide label reading and interpretation! The Poast label just about needs one. Based on what I was able to glean, I have come up with the following for your application rates:
Maximum application for the season per acre is 2.5 pints. Your 200 square foot patch is just 4.4 percent of an acre; therefore, you would apply 4.4 percent of those 2.5 pints to your 200 square feet. This equals about 52 milliliter or 1.8 fluid ounces of Poast being applied to that area. You need a minimum of seven days between application and harvest.
The lesser of the two evils may be to simply dig up the patch, kill off everything else with Roundup, and replant. Hope this helps!
Q: Could you please tell me what is wrong with my apples this year? They had these black spots on them that cover different areas of the apples. Is there any way to prevent this? (Hankinson, N.D.)
A: Your apples had plenty of company this last year with this common, but relatively harmless malady known as fly speck and sooty blotchboth typical fungi.
The fungi overwinter on twigs and buds, and during wet, mild spring weather, the fungi produce spores that are carried to apple fruit via wind or rain splash. If you were attempting to market your apples, you would have to hand rub each one vigorously to clean up the fruit for selling. For house consumption, the markings do not affect the eating quality.
Anything you can do to improve air circulation and sunlight penetration via selective pruning would help to control these disease symptoms. Spraying the tree with lime-sulfur next spring while dormant would do an excellent job of sanitizing the treeacting as a fungicide, insecticide and miticide. This is all done with two plant elements, sulfur and calcium, with some wetting agents added.
Q: Last spring we rooted and planted the top off a fresh pineapple. We got tired of it and pulled it out, but there were many hairy type roots. Now we have discovered six new little plants coming up in the same pot. What I need to know is how to take care of them? Do we feed them anything, should we divide them now or later, and will that hurt the root system? Any information you can give me would be appreciated. (e-mail)
A: E-mail is great, but it gives me no clues as to where you are making reference to. It makes little difference with pineapple, however, as it will grow just about anywhere in the United States indoors with plenty of sunlight. So be sure to place them in a sunny window.
Water the compost only when it is dry, and resist the temptation to overwater. In a few months, some small pineapple fruits may appear. Nothing spectacular, but interesting and fun to try.
I would suggest just letting the cute little ones go on their way of developing. As we get closer to spring, give them a monthly shot of all purpose houseplant fertilizer and see what happens.
Q: I have a Christmas cactus that is 2 years old and always looks wilted. It still bloomed last year, but it doesn't look like it will this year. I water it once a week and keep it in the west window. It is also sitting by a heat vent. Can you tell me what is wrong with it? (Ashley, N.D.)
A: The Christmas cactus should probably be repotted, and the roots examined for disease. Generally, they prefer cool, drier conditions going into this time of year, which it sounds like you are providing.
My only guess at this point is that the plant may be in a container that doesn't drain freely and water could remain in the root zone creating septic conditions.
I find they are somewhat fickle plants. I've known people who treat them like an afterthought and they do beautifully, and I've known others who follow the rules to a "T" and have the plants fail completely.
Q: What kind of fern is this? The picture I received with it said it was a Fluffy Ruffles but I don't believe it. (Fargo, N.D.)
A: Ferns are sure tough to identify from just one frond! But from looking at yours, I would say that it resembles a Boston FernNephrolepis exaltata.
While not the Fluffy Ruffles, it is a very durable and beautiful fern! Enjoy!
Do you have a gardening or houseplant question? Write to Hortiscope, Box 5051, NDSU Extension Service, Fargo, ND 58105 or e-mail to Ron Smith at email@example.com.
Source: Ron Smith (701) 231-8161 firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor: Dean Hulse (701) 231-6136