Green Industry Resources
Hort Update- Seasonal Information for the Green Industry
Show Questions' - August 16, 2012
1. Wayne, this is a viewer who planted dill to attract monarchs, but they haven't seen any caterpillars, eggs, or anything.
a. They feed on milkweed, butterfly milkweed, common milk weed, whorled milweed, green milkweed, or swamp milkweed. For dill, they may be thinking of the black swallowtail. It feeds on members of the carrot family. It's the green caterpillar with black stripes and white and yellow spots. Their problem could be related to the hot dry weather.
2. Speaking of hot and dry, let's talk about how the water restrictions are going to effect the quality of the turf.
a. Here in Lincoln you can water just about every other day. I have a love/hate relationship with the restrictions. It does raise awareness of how much water we are using. They are not that effective, even though you are watering every other day, you can use more water on your day to water. It's a good step, but it's not the best. The other reason that I don't like them is that this is the prime time to seed or reseed your lawn that took a beating over the summer. You need to water once, twice, maybe three times a day just to keep the seedlings damp. All of us can reduce the amount of water we apply. We should be doing that throughout the year instead of forcing it, once a week, twice a week. It's a step in the right direction.
3. We had an interesting question about a pepper that the viewer got in Omaha And they thought it was named Fish, but we think it is Flash. Some of them appear to be variegated and they wonder if it's supposed to be that way or is it a rot or a spot?
a. That particular variety of pepper should be variegated. That's good. But peppers that aren’t variegated can become that way and it's usually a viral problem. Find out which type of pepper you have and if it isn't supposed to be variegated, then they have a virus. They should be free to eat it if it's the one that shouldn't be variegated.
4. This is a viewer who had a dwarf navel orange tree. The leaves are cracking and curling, which is probably from the drought, but the birds and the squirrels are eating the oranges before they are dime sized. Anything they can do?
a. It is the birds. Netting it is the best thing to do. Small quarter inch bird netting, fairly inexpensive from your garden centers. You will want to drape the tree with the net and that will stop the bird and squirrels.
5. Wayne, you get the first series of pictures. This is from a viewer who lives on a sandpit lake. They saw a swarm and the viewer is not sure what they are looking at. They are indeed insects. They wonder what they are. They swarmed against the patio under a lighted window. They want to know what they are and what should they do.
a. The picture you are seeing is great. We look at them and say, okay, this looks like termites. However, when you get closer, you see two wings. Termites will have four equal sized wings. You can see a shiny shell where the wings should be, but they are not there. It's a rove beetle. They will have large jaws like that. We don't see this often. This is new to Nebraska. We are trying to figure out what they are. They are feeding on something. Some eat road kill. But sometimes then they are just there to eat the other insects that eat the roadkill. They don't need to treat for the termites they don't have. They often come to light.
6. The viewer wants to seed in early September but they don’t want the seeds sucked up by the lawn mower. Talk about using a slicer/power rake.
a. A power slicer or dethatcher or anything that will cut into the soil will improve the seed/soil contact. Anything to get the seed in contact with the soil increases germination. You can use an aerator that creates the holes or a power rake, and/or they have slicers or seeders for that purpose. They will achieve the same result. As long as you get it below the existing turf it shouldn't be sucked up by a mower.
7. We had a viewer bring us a silver maple. They want to know what's wrong with it. It doesn't show clorosis, but had a lot of branch die back on the top. What's going on here? Is it pathological or environmental?
a. One of the things I was concerned with is vascular pathogen. You would see tip back like in this one, but the vascular tissue looked fine. I think it's just hot, dry weather and the maple trees are not doing well in that environment, especially silver maples. It didn't seem to be pathological.
8. Alright Dennis, this is a rabbit question. The backyard has been destroyed by rabbits. They have used rodent repellant, have filled in the holes, they still come in. They have large yellow areas in the turf with rabbit pellets in them. They have three Australian shepards who are not doing their job getting rid of them.
a. First of all the yellowing is not from the rabbits. It's from the shepards or something else and you are seeing the droppings more readily because of the lighter yellow. The urine from rabbits will not cause it. They do re eat the green ones and save the brown ones for nothing. That's usually not a problem. Repellents? Well, some are not effective. Fencing in the yard or trapping them is the best solution or suggesting to those shepards they do their job.
9. Grub issues: they are seeding with fescue because they had grubs and they wonder if they seed with bluegrass and fescue, which one do the grubs like best?
a. They will eat them both, will feed on any turf that they can find. One thing that helps invite them in is lots of thatch. The adult beetles will lay eggs on anything that is irrigated and feed equally on bluegrass and fescue. But the bluegrass shows the damage quicker. Very rarely do we see any grub damage in tall fescue. That's one of the things determining which grass to chose. So what about a blend? A mix is very good. I like those. Depends on where you are in the state. The eastern 1/3 of the state you can use either one or a mix. It's up to you. When you move to the west, winter kill starts and bluegrass wins out. The eastern 1/3 can handle both, but the western 2/3, Kentucky bluegrass is your best bet.
a. The left is Four O'Clocks. It is an old-fashioned annual. Comes in pink, white, and red. It reseeds itself. The flowers open at four and the seeds are poisonous. The one on the right actually showed up in a flower pot. They planted series of flowers for low maintenance and this came up. It is Jimsom weed. It's definitely a weed and poisonous. A pre-emergent next spring would probably control this. When you're controlling weeds in wildflowers, be careful. Do your background checks before you try to control it.
11. Kevin, this is a viewer from Omaha who planted four tomatoes. They are all different varities and have done well. He's left them on the vine, but he thinks they don't taste right and wants to know if possibly the heat and the fact that it took them so long to ripen may have affected the taste or have the genetics bred out the taste?
a. It's my belief that you do sacrifice taste and quality when you go through breeding programs for whatever you are breeding for. You loose the some of the taste quality of the fruit. If it sets too early it's possible you don't get all of the sugars that come into the fruit because it sets too quickly. I don't think the fact that it set late would have anything to do with it. In a nutshell, I think you can loose quality with excessive breeding. It's typical to lose the quality, the taste, or the scent. Unfortunately that's probably what happened.
12. Dennis, we had pictures sent to us of a creature that was black and brown and had a white thing, kind of like a weasel. They want to know what it was?
a. Well, it's definitely a weasel. Short-tail weasel. They eat meat, like mice and small birds, and take eggs out of the chicken coop. You can trap them out of the area. You can keep them out with heavy duty metal. Because they will chew through light duty metal or aluminum. If they are not causing a problem . . .
13. Wayne, the question is, how does one tell if they have Emerald Ash Borer? They have shedding bark.
a. The symptoms are die back in the top of the tree; also the tree will be trying to compensate for those lost branches so you will see lots of suckers and on the dead branches you will see "D"-shaped exit holes. Not oval or round. They are not here yet and they should not be treating for what they don't have. We have viewers that have asked that question. It's not here yet.
14. What should I feed with and why? They are all re seeding questions. What is RTF and why is it better than regular fescue.
a. RTF stands for rhizomotous tall fescue. Over the last five years, genetisists have been working on getting tall fescue to spread with rhizomes. Kentucky bluegrass has a lot more rhizomes and spreads out a foot over the year. RTF will spread 3 to 4 inches over the course of one year.
15. Kevin, this is a viewer who planted 12 fruit trees and did get them sprayed once in the spring. They had some rust on the fruit trees. They want to know whether they should spray this fall after the leaves drop and whether their schedule is correct? It sounds like they are using fungicide and insecticide.
a. I don't recommend that. Rust, the apple side of rust effect the leafs. If they are not longer on the tree, there is nothing to treat. If you see pustules it's already too late. In the spring, the Cedar trees release the spores. In the summer they attach to the tree. I wouldn't recommend treating after dormancy, though. We have a link on the website that has a good spray schedule.
16. This is a viewer who planted 12 fruit trees this year and did get them sprayed once in the spring. But there’s some rust on the fruit trees. They want to know whether they should spray this fall after the leaves drop and whether their schedule is actually correct. It sounds like they are using a combination fungicide/insecticide spray.
a. I definitely don't recommend that. The apple side of rust affects the leaves and the fruits. If they are no longer on the tree, there’s no reason to treat. Plus, if you’re already seeing pustules, it's too late to treat. The reason you would want to apply a fungicide is to prevent those pustules from forming. In the spring they’re released from the cedar trees, these spores. During the summer they attach to the apple trees. I would not recommend treating after the leaves have fallen. We have a link to a publication on the website that has a good spray schedule.
17. Pocket gophers, moles, all sorts of things, in the lawn. This is from York and Lincoln.
a. Even though a lot of people think pocket gophers and moles are very closely related, they are far from each other. One is an insectivore, the mole, who goes after earthworms. The more you water and the more earthworms you have close to the surface, the more moles you’re going to get. You can trap them or use things like Talpirid or Tomcat for moles, which look like gummy worms. The pocket gopher, on the other hand, is a herbivore, going after bulbs, tubers, and roots. You have to use something like a poison peanut. And there are plenty of things on the market for those animals. They can also be trapped. You can use poison baits for the pocket gopher. Remember, the pocket gopher has a mound, wider than two feet in diameter and usually more than a foot high, fan shaped, whereas the mole has a mound less than a foot in diameter and less than 6 inches high and is conical shaped. You don't want to make a mole hill out of a gopher mound.
18. Tiny little gray moths in the house. What would they be and how can she figure out where they’re coming from? And how to kill them?
You might be dealing with some of the clothes moths. Some will be small and grey like that. You can find them in natural fiber clothing that’s just been laying around and not being used. Neither is overly common as far as the clothes moths. I would vacuum, clean up, check out some of the clothing. Maybe some moth balls are in order. If it’s Indian meal moth, you have to find out what they are feeding on, what the larvae are in. Get that out and then make sure everything is in a sealed container.
19. Should the normal fall fertilizer schedule be delayed or abandoned this year?
a. Fall fertilizer should never, never, be abandoned. It's the best thing, in terms of fertilization, the best application we can make to our lawn. Typically we say about the middle of September and pretty close near the last mowing of the year--the end of October more or less. Those are the two application times. Who knows it might start raining next week some time and we’ll be fine. The first application in September, we like that to be applied to green turf. If it's not green by then, you probably can delay it. We really want to put down two applications, especially after this year with all the thinning and damage that we have. Two applications in the fall will go a long way. Athletic fields and other highly used turf, we’ll sometimes say put three applications down. But for most lawns two applications is a great.
20. We have some viewers who have tomatoes that have white stripes on the interior of the flesh. Is that something that is a pathogen, or a virus of some sort, or is it simply a ripening thing and can they still eat those tomatoes?
a. I'm not certain to be honest with you. Striping or modeling is a good indication of a viral infection. But there are some nutrient deficiencies that can present themselves as stripes on the fruit. Insure adequate watering and nutrition and see if that remediates it. If not, then we could be looking at a virus. Typically, if it was viral inside it would get gross. And normally they’re just stripes. Maybe they could send us one. We'll try it and see.
21. This animal thinks he is in the wildlife relocation program from last year’s floods. And the burrow is probably in the thicket. The owner doesn't want him to be gone. He just wants him to stop eating the garden. How does he keep him from eating the garden and not get rid of him.
a. Norman is a groundhog or woodchuck, same animal. I don’t know if you can relocate it And I don't know if it's a him. Just by the looks of it, I almost think that Norman might be Nancy. Kind of hard to tell. I think it's a female by the way it’s acting. Difficult one. If you want to keep it but not let it eat things, supplement its food. Give it some cucumbers, or something you don’t want or have extras of. Zucchinis or something like that. Usually people have hundreds of zucchinis and they love those. Otherwise, if you don’t want it in that same location, pack the burrows with pea gravel. And those burrows go deep, maybe 20 foot, so it will take a lot of pea gravel. That could discourage her to move to another location other than your yard.
22. How far north have fire ants come? Are they in Nebraska?
a. We do not have fire ants in Nebraska. And as far as I’m aware, they are fairly far south--below the freeze line. We don't have to worry about those up here. What some people will call fire ants are harvester ants that we have in the western end of the state. They hurt when they sting and bite and they do attack en masse, but they are not the same thing. And to tag on to Dennis’s lightening round question earlier, the tomato with the half centimeter hole. It's probably a tomato fruit worm, which is also known as the corn ear worm.
23. We had a Logan, Iowa, viewer send us this sample. They want to know what it is. And what will kill it—or should they kill it. It’s a clump.
a. Number one, whenever you are sending in samples, try to send them in as close to Thursday as you can just so they’re fresh. This one we can identify because of the seed head. This is some type of a tall fescue. And I bet since it’s growing in a clump, and she says it’s a bit wider than the rest, it is probably Kentucky 31 tall fescue. The only way to control it is to dig it out or you can spot-spray it with Roundup. And really, that’s the only way to get rid of it.
24. You have another sample. What's going on with the pepper?
a. This is something we’ve seen on the show before. It's called blossom end root. We have seen it on tomatoes, but this is a bell pepper. Just like tomatoes, oftentimes on the blossom end of the fruit you'll see these circular lesions that start off with kind of a yellow color. And then after some secondary fungi take hold, they will turn dark brown to black. On peppers it doesn't have to be on the blossom end. What it will do is it will turn from the green color that it normally is while it’s ripening, to the color it gets when it is ripe. And it will do that early. This is actually a calcium deficiency. You need to insure your soil, both during the day and the night, is wet. Because the plant can only take up calcium when the soil is wet. You want to avoid high amounts of nitrogen during fruit set. If you apply nitrogen during fruit set it’s going to promote vegetative growth. All the calcium that the plant takes up will go to the vegetative growth instead of the fruit set.
So they can cut it out and eat it?
25. How do you control the voles?
a. There are several ways. Voles are a granivore. They don't eat grubs or anything like that, but they do go after seed material. Catching them works very well. You can get them with a multiple catch trap that’s sold at some co-ops. And these are the metal traps that hold up to fifteen of them. Just put a little grass seed or bird seed around the entrance and leave them out overnight and they run right into them. In fact, on campus Jeff caught eleven in one night using the metal traps with the one-way doors. They are fairly easy to catch that way.
1. We have two viewers who said they’ve seen voles running around in their garden in daylight. Are they daylight creatures?
a. They’re more corpuscular—dawn and dusk. But they can come out during the day, especially if they are hungry or they want water.
2. What would be eating a half a centimeter hole out of tomatoes?
a. Half a centimeter. That’s awful small. That’s a little more than a quarter of an inch. Probably more insects than a rodent or wildlife.
3. Copper sulfate—will that control algae in a tank that has coy in it? Or is that not a good choice?
a. It will control the algae. Improperly used it can also kill coy. So it has to be very properly used. Follow the directions exactly.
4. Is there a different option for viewers that would be safer?
a. Lot more aeration, less coy.
5. How does a person provide water for the birds and the animals right now without attracting the ones they don't want?
a. Without attracting mosquitos, just constantly change it every day with fresh water. I don’t know which animals they don’t want to attract.
1. Have you ever seen pig tailing on tomato leaves. If so, is that viral or nutritional?
a. Epinasty, or the pig tailing, could be viral.
2. Do you think the spring fruit tree spray schedule is going to change next year because of what’s happened this fall or is it too early to tell?
a. It may be too early to tell. It depends on what the spring is like next year.
3. Do the oaks get anthracnose here?
a. Yes, the leaves can get it.
4. We have rhubarb from a Scribner viewer that went soft and rotty in the middle. They think it was crown rot in the soil. Can they replant in the same place?
a. I wouldn't, no. I would till that place up and plant in another area of the garden. Maybe in a couple years they can plant rhubarb again in the same spot.
5. Is it possible to sterilize and reuse the soil out of containers successfully?
a. You can steam pasteurize it. Sterilizing isn’t good. There’s a lot of chemicals involved in it, and it’s pretty nasty. You wouldn’t want to do that.
1. Where is turf grass seed for use in Nebraska produced?
a. The vast majority is produced either in Oregon or in Washington.
2. So it won’t sacrifice quality because of the drought here because it doesn't come from here?
a. It will not. The economy out there and the amount that's produced out there is a way different world than what’s out here.
3. Is it going to be necessary to control dandelions this fall?
a. Most likely with most of our lawns being very thin, dandelions will be either coming out of dormancy or germinating in those lawns yet this Fall. So sometime about October 15 is pretty good. Middle of October.
4. We had a Howells viewer that tried to control honey locust sprouts in her yard with brush killer—not successfully.
a. Mowing is probably the best way to control honey locust in your lawn. A brush killer should work. Unless they were really, really big. Mowing should work. I’m surprised a brush killer didn’t work.
5. Controlling knotweed and puncture vine along sidewalks?
a. Too late to do it now. Spring--a couple of applications in May would work the best. Or use a pre-emergent herbicide that contains Isoxaben which is either Snapshot or Gallery from Dow.
1. What are the giant masses of webbing that we’re seeing in the plum thickets and the walnuts right now?
a. That would be fall webworm. Lots of time just open them up with a tall stick or broom handle. And the birds will get them.
2. Grubs are eating the potatoes on an acreage near Hooper. Not in the lawn, apparently. But they’re wondering how in the world to control the grubs next year?
a. Next year? I'm hoping that this year it was just the fact that the garden came out of grass within the last year or two. Hopefully they will be gone. Otherwise, they might just be migrating out of the lawn because it might be the only thing to eat.
3. Is Merit available to the homeowners? And, if not what’s another product?
a. Merit is available to the homeowner.
4. What's the active ingredient?
a. Imidacloprid. And there should be some generics out there, too, if you’re looking for something else.
5. How do you control carrot maggots?
a. You dig up your carrots and pick them off.
6. In Fall broccoli are we going to see cabbage worms?
a. I would imagine so since we still see the white moths, or butterflies flying around.