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I would like to plant an apple tree this spring. Do I need a second tree for pollination?

Pollination and fertilization are necessary for fruit development.  Pollination is the transfer of pollen from the anther to the stigma.  Fertilization is the union of the male sperm nucleus from the pollen grain and the female egg found in the ovary.  Self-fruitful trees bear fruit when pollen is transferred from the ....

When should dormant oil sprays be applied to apple trees?

Dormant oil sprays are highly refined petroleum products that are mixed with water and applied to trees and shrubs to control aphids, spider mites, and scale.  Dormant oils destroy pests by suffocating them.  When applied properly, the thin film of oil plugs the spiracles or pores through which the mite ....

Can blueberries be successfully grown in Iowa?

Blueberries can be successfully grown in Iowa.  However, they do have special growing requirements.  Blueberry plants require a sunny location and a well-drained soil high in organic matter.  Avoid wet, poorly drained sites.  Blueberries are susceptible to root rots in poorly drained soils.  Soil pH is also important.  Blueberries require acid soils ....

Should blueberry plants be fertilized?

Established blueberry plants benefit from an annual application of an acid-producing fertilizer, such as ammonium sulfate.  In early spring, apply ½ to 1 pound of ammonium sulfate per 100 square feet of garden area.  Ammonium sulfate supplies nitrogen to the plants and also helps maintain soil acidity.   ....

Which blueberry varieties perform well in Iowa?

Highbush and half-high blueberries can be successfully grown in Iowa.  Highbush blueberries perform best in central and southern Iowa.  Plants develop into 6 to 8 foot tall shrubs.  Suggested varieties for gardeners in central and southern Iowa include ‘Patriot,’ ‘Blueray,’ ‘Bluecrop,’ ‘Rubel,’ ‘Jersey,’ and ‘Elliott.’  Half-high blueberries possess greater cold hardiness and ....

What is the proper way to prune blueberries?

Early spring is the best time to prune blueberries.  In Iowa, late March or early April would be an appropriate time to prune blueberries.  Young plants require little pruning.  Pruning of young plants mainly consists of pruning out broken, dead, or diseased stems.  Blueberry yields and fruit quality decline when blueberry canes ....

Which sour (tart) cherry varieties perform well in Iowa?

‘Northstar’ and ‘Meteor’ are two of the best performing sour cherry varieties in Iowa.  Both varieties were introduced by the University of Minnesota and possess excellent cold hardiness.  ‘Northstar’ is a dwarf tree that commonly grows 8 to 10 feet tall.  Its fruit have a mahogany red skin, red flesh, ....

Are sweet cherries hardy in Iowa?

‘Gold,’ BlackGold™, and WhiteGold™ are sweet cherry varieties (cultivars) that can be successfully grown in the southern two-thirds of Iowa.  ‘Gold’ has golden yellow skin.  It is self-unfruitful.  Another late blooming sweet cherry variety must be planted for pollination and fruit set.  BlackGold™ and WhiteGold™ are self-fruitful, mid to late ....

Is it safe to plant currants and gooseberries in home gardens in Iowa?

Early in the 1900's, white pine blister rust (Cronartium ribicola) became a serious disease problem in the United States.  White pine blister rust requires both a currant or gooseberry (Ribes species) and white pine to complete its life cycle.  The disease causes little harm to currants and gooseberries, but is ....

What would be a good planting site for gooseberries and currants?

Gooseberries and currants prefer cool, moist, well-drained sites.  Avoid poorly drained, wet soils and hot, dry sites.  To discourage fungal diseases, such as powdery mildew, select sites with good air movement.  Gooseberries and currants tolerate partial shade.  However, maximum fruit yields are produced in areas that receive at least 6 ....

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