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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 ....

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 ....

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.   ....

When is the best time to prune grapevines?

The most desirable time to prune grapevines is late winter or early spring.  In Iowa, pruning can begin in late February and should be completed by early April.  Grapevines pruned at this time of year may “bleed” heavily.  However, the loss of sap does not harm the vines.   ....

I planted several grapevines last year. How should they be pruned this spring?

By the second year, the home gardener should have selected the training system and constructed the appropriate trellis.  In early spring, select a vigorous, straight cane and remove all the rest.  Tie the cane securely to the uppermost wire with string.  Cut the cane off just above the wire.  As ....

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