Readers: With my exit from the Hortiscope column and retirement, I have been asked by many how to get information on horticultural problems.
The answer simply is to contact your local NDSU Extension agent. If the agent is not sufficiently schooled in horticulture to answer your questions, he or she will know where to turn to get the answer.
Hortiscope columnist retires after 27 years
Fargo - North Dakota State University is losing its resident expert in all things horticulture.
Ron Smith, the NDSU Extension Service horticulturist for the past 27 years, will retire Dec. 31.
Smith started at NDSU as an associate professor in the department of plant sciences in 1985, and since then has racked up quite the list of accomplishments.
To everything, there is a beginning and an end. The Hortiscope column started in the early 1980s but will end its run at the end of December because that is when I’ll be retiring from the NDSU Extension Service.
Q: I have several questions about different plants. I would like to know if I can trim a schefflera plant. I have a nice plant that was given to me for my son’s funeral. The plant sits in my enclosed sunroom by an east window. It is very big, so I’m wondering if I can cut some of it off.
Readers: One of my colleagues, Joe Zeleznik, NDSU Extension Service forester, had what I thought was an interesting question posed to him. His response is excellent and I think worthy of a read by anyone who ever has wondered the same thing about trees. Read on!
Q: I am working on the scale insects on my orange tree. I have been using Bonide systemic for four weeks and also cleaning off the new scales. How long does a systemic killer take to clear up the problem? Is there an advantage to wiping off the scales with rubbing alcohol or is water OK?
Q: I planted four honeycrisp, four haroldson and two prairie spy apple trees several years ago. I am interested in information on tree care and basic maintenance because I would like to keep them healthy.
Q: I have three red maple trees that I planted several years ago. They were beautiful before this spring. One did not have a full production of leaves. Now that fall is here, the other two trees have dropped their leaves.
Q. We have an old silver maple tree that we have trimmed three times in the past 15 years. The most recent trimming took place earlier this year.
This summer, I noticed a lot of sap all over everything on my deck, which is underneath the tree. My husband says he’s seen it do this before, but I have not noticed it before and I am out on the deck more than he is.
Q: I have a couple of questions related to fall lawn preparation. I have some large areas of crabgrass in my lawn, so I am wondering how I can get rid of it before winter hits. Should I apply Roundup on the plants and then reseed? Is there an easier way to deal with crabgrass?
Q: I read your article about blossom end rot on tomatoes. All the articles I have read say to give the tomatoes some calcium. It does work, so the rot has nothing to do with watering. I figured a man in your job would know better than to say it is the watering.
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