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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 ....

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 ....

Is it necessary to plant more than one gooseberry variety to obtain fruit?

Most gooseberry and currant varieties are self-fruitful.  It is not necessary to plant two or more varieties for cross-pollination and fruit set.  However, a few currant varieties (such as ‘Crusader’) are self-unfruitful.  When planting a self-unfruitful variety, another variety must be planted for pollination and fruit set.  ....

What are jostaberries?

Jostaberries are a cross between black currants and gooseberries.  Plants are vigorous and may grow to a height of 6 to 8 feet.  Jostaberry fruit are similar in size to gooseberries and black in color.  Plants possess excellent cold hardiness and can be successfully grown throughout the state.   ....

Are there any peach varieties that can be successfully grown in Iowa?

Peaches are not reliably cold hardy in most parts of Iowa.  It is possible to grow ‘Reliance’ (yellow flesh, freestone) and ‘Polly’ (white flesh, clingstone) in the southern one-third of Iowa.  Growing peaches in Iowa is challenging.  Cold winter temperatures may destroy the flower buds on peach trees.  A late frost ....

Our area experienced temperatures in the -20 to -25 degree Fahrenheit range in January. What affects will the cold temperatures have on my fruit trees?

The cold temperatures may have damaged peach and sweet cherry trees.  Peach trees are not reliably winter hardy in most parts of Iowa.  Temperatures below -18 degrees Fahrenheit will destroy the flower buds on peach trees.  Temperatures of -25 degrees or below may damage or destroy the peach trees themselves.  ....

When can I cut back my asparagus foliage?

The asparagus foliage can be cut back to the ground after it has been destroyed by cold temperatures in fall.  However, it is generally recommended that the dead foliage be allowed to stand over winter.  The dead debris will catch and hold snow.  Snow cover helps protect the asparagus crowns ....

When should I plant garlic?

Garlic cloves should be planted in fall (October to early November) or early spring (late March to mid-April).  Plant cloves 1 inch deep with the pointed side up.  Fall-planted garlic should be mulched with a 4- to 6-inch-layer of weed-seed free straw to help prevent winter injury.  In early spring, ....

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