A gooey orange growth with tentacles is attached to a branch of our cedar tree. It's cold and soft to the touch. Please tell us what steps to take.
That orange golf ball-sized "fruit" is the spore-producing mass of cedar apple rust, a fungal disease.
The rust disease life cycle alternates its hosts, moving from cedar to apple, quince or hawthorne. (Cedar, in this instance, refers to junipers, often the Eastern Red Cedar.) Control involves separating alternate hosts by a distance of one to two miles (when practical), hand picking or pruning of galls before they swell, removal of infected trees, and the use of resistant varieties. For more information, see our Web site's Plant Diagnostics search engine.
Can I plant my gift tulips now? Do I have to wait until fall? The leaves are yellowing.
Planting now is easier. To wait until fall, you must store the bulbs in a dry place at 40-50 degrees F. over the summer. Leave foliage on until it shows no green, so photosynthesis can store up energy in the bulb for next year's flowers.
Keep in mind that many tulips hybrids, unlike daffodils or grape hyacinths for example, produce blooms for only one or two years.
* Slowly introduce seedlings or indoor plants to outdoors, so they don't get burned up by the sun.
* Gently tease apart the roots of root-bound transplants.
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. The center offers free gardening information. Call 800-342-2507 or e-mail plant and pest questions at the Web site hgic.umd.edu