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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 ....

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 ....

Is it necessary to mulch strawberries?

Strawberries should be mulched in fall to prevent winter injury.  Low temperatures and repeated freezing and thawing of the soil through the winter months are the main threats to the strawberry plants.  Temperatures below +20 degrees Fahrenheit may kill flower buds and damage the roots and crowns of unmulched plants.  ....

When should I mulch my strawberries?

Strawberries should be mulched in fall to prevent winter injury.  Excellent mulching materials include clean, weed-free straw and chopped cornstalks.  Apply 3 to 5 inches of material.  After settling, the depth of the mulch should be approximately 2 to 4 inches.  Allow the strawberry plants to harden or acclimate to cool ....

What materials are suitable for mulching strawberries?

Clean, weed-free straw and chopped cornstalks are excellent mulches.  Leaves, however, should not be used as they tend to mat down and don’t provide adequate protection.  Apply approximately 3 to 5 inches of material.  After settling, the mulch layer should be 2 to 4 inches thick.   ....

Are leaves a suitable mulch for strawberries?

Leaves are not a good winter mulch for strawberries.  Leaves can mat together in layers, trapping air and creating space for ice to form.  The leaf, air, and ice layers do not provide adequate protection.  A leaf mulch may actually damage plants due to excess moisture trapped under the material.   ....

My strawberry plants are growing in a strawberry pyramid. How do I protect the plants over winter?

A strawberry pyramid is a type of raised bed.  In winter, temperatures in raised beds may be several degrees colder than ground level plantings.  Because of colder temperatures, strawberry plants growing in raised beds require more protection that ground level sites.  Place 6 to 8 inches of straw or chopped ....

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