Dear Master Gardener: New trees were planted along Highway 371 last fall after road construction and seem to be struggling to survive. Should they have been planted in the spring instead of the fall? Kentucky coffee trees and swamp white oaks were planted. How common are they in this area?
Dear Master Gardener: How do I protect my apple trees from apple maggots? Answer: The most unwelcome insect pest for Minnesota-grown apples is the apple maggot. To help protect your apple trees from apple maggots it is very important to keep your garden area clean. Pick up and remove apples that fall during the growing season and put them in the trash. Do not compost them in your yard. Apple maggot infestation will be greatly reduced by removing overripe and rotten apples from around your trees.
Dear Master Gardener: We have nine apple trees and six of them have no bark left on the bottom 12 inches of the trunks. We have had the trees for two to three years and this is the first time we've seen damage. I'm pretty sure it is mouse damage. Will they survive?
Dear Master Gardener: What should I be doing for lawn fertilization this spring? Do you recommend a weed-and-feed product? Answer: If you need crabgrass control, you should apply a preemergent herbicide before fertilizing your lawn and before crabgrass comes out of the ground. So, don't buy a product that contains both crabgrass control and fertilizer—applying them separately is the best approach. A good rule of thumb is to apply a crabgrass preventer when the lilacs are blooming.
Dear Master Gardener: When is it safe to plant annuals?
Dear Master Gardener: Deer browsing has been terrible this winter. The deer have been eating plants I thought they avoided, like spruce and junipers. What can be done to protect plants from deer?
Dear Master Gardener: I bought a Bromeliad recently at a local store, but it didn't have any directions on how to care for it. When I unwrapped it, there was water in among the leaves at the base of the orange-colored flower. What is the best way to care for a Bromeliad and how long will the flower last?
Dear Master Gardener: I have made rosaries from the seeds of the plant Job's Tears, so two years ago I tried growing it in my garden. I purchased the seeds online from the same source the past two years, but did not get a crop. What should I do next summer to get a crop from the Job's Tears plant?
Dear Master Gardener: I have a Christmas cactus that didn't bloom this year. What can I do to get it to bloom? Also, I have a friend whose Christmas cactus leaves look different than mine and blooms earlier. Are there different types?
Dear Master Gardener: Are poinsettias poisonous? Are there other Christmas plants that are poisonous? Answer: The sap of the poinsettia is mildly irritating, but that is the extent of it. The poinsettia plant is not toxic when eaten. Because of the common misconception it is poisonous, Ohio State University conducted extensive research into the safety of the poinsettia plant and disproved the notion the poinsettia is harmful to human and animal health. Although it is not toxic, the poinsettia is not intended for human consumption.