Insects, hail can damage apples


Q. Last year our apples were hit by hail and when we harvested them they had brown, soft areas inside. We just thought the hail caused this. But now we are wondering if some insect may have caused these mushy areas.

A. Brown, soft areas in apples could be caused by hail, and the brown soft areas will appear immediately beneath the dent left by the hail. This could also be caused by one or two insect pests -- plum curculio or codling moth. To control these, pick up a copy of the bulletin "Home Fruit Tree Spray Guide" from your county Extension office or consult the Internet.

Q. I have grass in my asparagus. Is there any herbicide that will kill it without hurting my asparagus?

A. Maybe. You can use Preen to control annual grasses, but check to be sure asparagus is listed on the label. I know of no herbicide that can be used on asparagus to kill perennial grasses like quack, nimblewil, etc. I do not use herbicides in my vegetable garden. Till over the asparagus in early spring before the asparagus begins growth and be diligent with the hoe the rest of the year.


Q. I saw at the fair a yellow onion they called Ebenezer. I have never heard that name before. What can you tell me about it?

A. The Ebenezer onion is a yellow "set" onion. They are grown from seed and harvested and dried when the bulb is about the size of a nickel or quarter. They are then stored over winter in controlled temperature and humidity warehouses and sold the following spring as onion "sets." You take the sets home and plant them in your garden, "setting" each bulb on the surface of well-worked garden soil. They are used as early pulling green onions and early slicing onions. They are not considered "sweet" onions like the sweet Spanish types that are planted from seed or started plants.

Keith Stangler has 36 years experience as a horticulturalist. You may address comments or questions to call 800-562-1758 or write to Growing Concerns, Post-Bulletin, Box 6118, Rochester MN 55903.

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