The red berries of hawthorns

GARDEN Q&A

Go Garden

December 03, 2005|By JON TRAUNFELD AND ELLEN NIBALI | JON TRAUNFELD AND ELLEN NIBALI,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

I'm OK with my dogwood's pretty red berries providing food for birds and squirrels -- but every berry is eaten up already! I've seen other small trees with bright red berries nearby, which don't seem to be eaten. Know what these trees are?

The red berries of both Washington hawthorn (Crataegus phaenopyrum) and green hawthorn (Crataegus viridis) persist on the trees through the winter. Their pretty spring bloom and good foliage make them a year-round attraction. Hawthorns can have problems with cedar hawthorn rust infecting leaves and fruits, however. "Winter King" is an excellent variety of green hawthorn that exhibits good resistance to rust disease and has vivid red berries.

I bought three small "Christmas trees" that are actually rosemary plants. The inside branches are turning brown and bare, but the outside foliage is green and nice. I only have a southwest-facing L-shaped balcony. Should I do something about the brown branches? Also, mildew occurred twice.

Rake your fingers through the foliage to dislodge the brown needles. Indoors, rosemary commonly gets mildew. Keep their location as sunny and the air as moist as you can. Moist air seems counter-intuitive for a Mediterranean plant like rosemary, but setting it on pebbles in a tray of water should help. Ensure good air circulation around your plants. You may need to prune off particularly mildewed branches.

Checklist

If you don't have a mulching lawnmower to chop up fallen leaves, use a string trimmer.

Take soil samples now for areas of your yard where plants are growing poorly. Call us or visit our Web site for a soil test bag and instructions.

Jon Traunfeld, regional specialist, and Ellen Nibali, horticulture consultant, work at Maryland Cooperative Extension's Home and Garden Information Center, which offers Maryland residents free gardening information. Call the center's "hotline" at 800-342-2507 (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-1 p.m.) or e-mail plant and pest questions through the Send a Question feature at hgic.umd.edu.

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