FARGO - It's the phrase that caused panic to every high school student: Close your books and take out a sheet of paper.

Based on reader responses, our garden quizzes are more fun and much less stressful than locating Mozambique on a classroom map of Africa.

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Our latest quiz questions can be answered with a few short words. Oh, and keep your eyes on your own paper.


1. Do freshly dug vegetable like carrots and potatoes store better washed or unwashed?

2. Is it true that late-season apples become sweeter if left on the tree until frost?

3. When choosing between 2,4-D herbicide formulations, which type is safest for home yard use, ester or amine?

4. Can squash vine borer be prevented by spraying squash leaves with insecticide?

5. What fungus disease causes a grayish-white powdery coating on leaves, commonly found on lilacs, peonies, roses and ninebark shrubs?

6. Do Styrofoam rose cones provide adequate winter protection in hardiness zones three and four?

7. Are there benefits to mowing leaves back into the lawn rather than raking, or is it just being lazy?

8. Are the thorny canes of roses, raspberries and barberries nature's way of protecting them from rabbit injury?

9. If you save seed from a Honeycrisp apple, will it grow into a Honeycrisp tree?

10. When planting a potted tree or shrub whose roots are circling around the soil ball, is it best to leave the roots undisturbed, or to cut through them?


1. Fresh garden carrots and potatoes store better unwashed, with excess soil gently rubbed away. Washing can damage the vegetables' natural waxy coating that helps them last longer in storage.

2. Late-season apple varieties do become sweeter with near-frost temperatures, because cool weather triggers the conversion of starches into sugars.

3. The amine form of 2,4-D is much safer. The ester form is more volatile, which increases the likelihood that the herbicide will vaporize and drift onto valuable trees, shrubs, flowers and vegetables.

4. No, spraying the leaves alone won't prevent squash vine borer. Insecticides must be applied to the stems of squash vines, concentrating on the twelve inches of stem above soil level.

5. The gray, powdery coating on foliage is a fungus disease called powdery mildew.

6. Roses cones alone don't usually provide adequate winter protection to roses, because there's still too much open cold air around the canes. Increase their effectiveness by stuffing them full of leaves or straw.

7. Mowing leaves back into the lawn instead of raking provides the benefits of nutrition, increased moisture retention and weed suppression.

8. Although plants are thorny, it doesn't protect them from rabbits. They nibble canes, thorns and all, as though they were candy.

9. Unfortunately not. Because bees mix pollen from various trees as they visit apple flowers, seeds produced within fruit are of mixed heritage, and the resulting seedling trees would be different from Honeycrisp.

10. Roots circling around a soil ball should be cut by slicing down through the rootball in about four places, plus across the rootball's bottom.