Q: We had thousands of Japanese beatles this year for the first time in years. What can we use to take care of the grubs that come from the eggs they lay? It used to be chloradane, but that has been banned.
A. The specialists' recommendation for a application at this time of the year is diazinon (sold as spectracide). Directions on the label should be followed closely. It is rated as being particularly effective against young grubs.
Q. Comfrey has been reported to be useful in making tea, fodder for animals, composite material, etc. What are its uses and is it worth growing?
A. Cromfrey is rated as a medicinal herb, with some value for treating wounds, burns and uclers. The leaves are rich in vitamins A and C, can be used in a salad and can be cooked like spinach. The young, tender leaves have the best flavor. It is useful as cattle food and for making compost. The leaves can be used to make tea, and the roots to make a substitute for coffee.
All of the above strongly implies that it is a worth-while plant. However, it has escaped cultivation, has become a weed, and since it grows wild in profusion, there are few places where plants are offered for sale.
Q. A yellow vine is wrapping itself around my chrysanthemums. What could it be? It doesn't seem to have any connection with the ground and it has no leaves.
A. It is a weed called dodder (Cuscuta pentagona), comes up from seed in the spring, climbs on and wraps itself around nearby plants. It is also called love-vine, hellbind, strangle-weed, devils-hair and devils gut.
It is a parasite plant without chlorophyll, gets its sustenance by twining around a plant and sending root-like projections into its stem. it bears clusters of small white flowers and produces seed pods, each containing four seeds.
The only way to control dodder is to prevent seedling growth.
Black plastic or newspapers spread and anchored over an area where it has been growing will keep the seedling from getting started. Once it get started good, it doesn't help to pull the vine off the plants. If even an inch of it is left, it starts growing and can spread rapidly.