Tree branches are goners

garden q&A

July 12, 2008|By Ellen Nibali and Jon Traunfeld | Ellen Nibali and Jon Traunfeld,Special to the Sun

My tree has some dead branches. Will they come back? I thought I'd give them a year.

Once they are truly dead, branches cannot regenerate. Scratch the bark and look underneath for healthy green tissue. If you see none, that indicates death.

Dead branches become brittle and break easily. This brittleness starts at the tip of the branch and moves down because water is no longer transported through the branch by the tree.

Remove dead branches immediately. Dead wood begins to decay right away. Organisms that carry out the decomposition process may move down into the healthy part of the tree.

I noticed black beetles with orange-yellow speckles mating and laying eggs on my Brussels sprouts. I ripped out the Brussels sprouts and threw them away, but the beetles are still on my kale and collard plants. I dusted them with permethrin. What else can I do?

Harlequin bugs are a type of stink bug commonly found on members of the mustard family (e.g., cabbage, broccoli, radish). There are two to three generations each summer. Look under leaves and destroy egg masses, which look like rows of black-and-white-striped barrels.

Nymphs can be controlled with insecticidal soap or pyrethrum, rotenone or neem. Also, use floating row covers to exclude this pest.

Adults overwinter in plant debris, so it's important to remove spent plants.

Ellen Nibali, a horticulture consultant, works at Maryland Cooperative Extension's Home and Garden Information Center, and Jon Traunfeld is the director of the Home and Garden Information Center. Call the center's help line at 800-342-2507 or e-mail plant and pest questions through the Send a Question feature at hgic.umd.edu.

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