Bumps on pecan and peach trees cause little damage

BACKYARD Q&A

June 20, 1999

Q. I'm noticing some small, strange bumps on my pecan and peach trees. They are white and black and I can scrape them off with my nail. What in the world are they?

A. You're seeing the adult female form of calico scale, a common soft scale that can be observed on many different landscape trees. They cause little damage, and are controlled by beneficial insects such as lady bird beetles.

Q. My cucumber plants are big and loaded with blooms. But I'm not getting any cucumbers. Is something wrong with my plants?

A. You'll have to be patient. Cucumbers produce separate male and female flowers on the same plant. The first batch of flowers is always male (they have a straight stem). You'll recognize the female flowers by the small ovary (cucumber) below the unopened bloom.

The fruits will grow after bees carry the heavy, sticky pollen from the male flowers to the female flowers.

Q. I helped my daughter plant 12 black raspberry bushes in her back yard last year. Two of them are covered with a thick orange dust. What is it and how do we take care of this problem?

A. The plants are infected with orange rust, a common fungal disease that affects blackberries and black raspberries. There is no cure, and the disease can be spread by spores to neighboring plants.

Dig out, bag up and throw out the two infected plants and monitor the others for signs of the disease. The rust probably blew onto your plants from nearby wild blackberries.

THIS WEEK'S CHECKLIST

1. Plant a second crop of beans, squash and cucumbers in areas where you've pulled up cool-season crops such as spinach, lettuce and radishes.

2. Use grass clippings for a mulch around vegetable and flower plants. They are high in nitrogen and will break down by summer's end.

3. After their bloom, fertilize flowering shrubs that are slow-growing and pale green.

Garden tips are provided by the Home and Garden Information Center of the Cooperative Extension Service of the University of Maryland. For additional information on these questions, or if you have questions of your own, call the center's hot line at 800-342-2507, or visit its Web site at www.agnr.umd.edu/users/hgic.

Pub Date: 06/20/99

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