GARDENING IN IOWA

What to do about the dreaded Japanese beetles

Japanese beetles have arrived and are feasting on people's gardens. (The Gazette)
Japanese beetles have arrived and are feasting on people’s gardens. (The Gazette)

Q: When should I prune my grape vines?

A: You need to prune vines in late winter or early spring. Don’t prune them now, in the summer.

Q: Our neighbors had a tree cut down and shoots are coming in our yard from the roots. How do we kill that?

A: Make a fresh cut on the sucker (new shoot) and use a broadleaf weed control such as glyphosate (Roundup) by following package directions. It will need repeated applications. You also can dig it up or continually mow to keep it from growing.

Q: My garden area is very wet and my peppers and tomatoes aren’t doing well.

A: Try mixing sand in your soil to allow better drainage. Be patient with the tomatoes and peppers; they may have been planted too early, when it was cool, and the plants became dormant.

Q: I have what looks like mites on my coneflowers. Can I treat them with something that’s pollinator-friendly?

A: The best control for mites is to cut the plant to the ground in the fall and destroy the plant debris (don’t compost). You can try insecticidal soap if it’s an aphid. It might be a sunflower moth. Try to take a picture or bring a sample in for us to look at.

Q: Japanese beetles: What to do?

A: You can use the trap bags, but there are pros and cons to that. It has pheromones that attract beetles, so place them as far away from flowers and veggies as possible.

Q: The red peppers I planted in mid-May aren’t growing in my raised beds. What should I do?

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A: Give them some 10-10-10 fertilizer. Peppers like hot weather so they may grow now. Give them an inch of water a week to keep them going.

Q: My tomatoes have brown spots — why?

A: They may be getting too much water which is drenching out the calcium or it could be blossom end rot. When there’s more sunlight and drier weather, it may improve.

Q: My pin oak and my apple tree have some dead limbs and I don’t have any apples. What happened?

A: We had a late frost that killed many apple and leaf buds.

Call the Master Gardeners with your questions at (319) 447-0647 or send your questions and photos to linncountymastergardener@gmail.com.

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