Q - We have a vegetable garden this year for the first time. How can we protect our beans and tomatoes from diseases? Is there something we can spray them with every week or two to keep them from becoming infected?
A - Fungicides are used to protect plants against diseases, to prevent, not to cure. Each fungicide is specific for certain diseases and certain plants, and there are lots of different plants and different diseases. Unless you know exactly what you are trying to prevent and what to use for that purpose, it is better not to spray at all.
In many cases, a condition that looks like it might be a disease can be due to fertilizer burn, need for water, poor drainage or chemical injury. Spraying under these circumstances can do a lot of harm and no good whatever.
Q - Our dogwood was in bloom nearly three weeks this spring. Down the street are dogwoods that were in bloom nearly two months. Isn't that very unusual?
A - It probably was a combination of American dogwoods (Cornus florida) and Japanese dogwoods (Cornus kousa). The Japanese variety blooms soon after the flowers of the American dogwood fade.
Q - My wisteria vine is taking over the place. Can it be pruned and when?
A - The Chinese wisteria, which blooms before the leaves appear, can be pruned within three or four weeks after blooming without decreasing the number of flowers the following spring. Severe pruning causes development of many new long shoots which produce flower buds.
Q - There are ugly growths on the tip ends of the stems of my two pink azaleas. Is it a disease?
A - It is a fungus disease called azalea leaf and flower gall. It is more alarming than damaging. Pick off the galls and put them into the garbage cans. That will take care of it.
Q - I want to plant primroses; will they hurt my dogs and cats?
A - Primroses that grow outdoors the year around are not considered hazardous except possibly to thos allergic to them. They are not reated as hazardous to dogs, cats or birds.
Q - Should I remove suckers from my sweet corn or leave them?
A - Leave them: Research shows no advantage to suckering corn.