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Is it a good practice to apply salt to an asparagus planting?

In the past, some gardeners used salt to control weeds in their asparagus plantings.  However, salt is not effective in controlling many weeds, especially grasses.  Plus, continued use of salt over several years may result in high salt levels in the soil.  High levels of salt may actually damage the ....

Several apples have formed on a newly planted fruit tree. Can the apples be allowed to mature or should they be removed?

It’s generally best to remove all fruit that form on apple trees during their first 3 growing seasons.  Removal of the fruit maximizes plant growth and increases yields in later years.  Removing the fruit may also prevent limb breakage on young trees.   ....

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 ....

What would be a good planting site for blueberries?

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 with a pH of 4.0 to 5.5.  Since the pH of most ....

When is the proper time to harvest blueberries?

Harvest blueberries when the fruit are fully ripe.  The best indicators of ripeness are color, flavor, and picking ease.  Fully ripe blueberries are uniformly blue in color, have a good flavor, and separate easily from the plant.  (Do not harvest blueberries on color alone as the berry is often blue ....

I just planted some blueberries. When can I expect them to produce a crop?

Blueberry plants should not be allowed to bear fruit in the first 2 years.  Any blossoms which form should be removed (rubbed off).  Removal of the flowers will maximize vegetative growth and increase yields in later years.  Blueberry plants should come into full production by the fifth or sixth year.   ....

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 ....

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 ....

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