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The following FAQs were found to be helpful by others.

What are the black spots or blotches on my apples?

The problem may be sooty blotch and flyspeck.  Sooty blotch and flyspeck are 2 different fungal diseases that often occur together on apples.  Sooty blotch appears as dark brown to black, ½ inch or larger smudges on the surface of the apple.  Flyspeck produces clusters of shiny, round, black dots.  ....

There are brown streaks in my apples. What is the cause and how can it be prevented?

The brown streaks in the apples are probably due to the apple maggot.  The apple maggot is the most serious insect pest of apples in Iowa.  Apple maggot damage appears as knobby, misshapen fruit with small pits or blemishes on the fruit surface.  In addition, brownish streaks run through the ....

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 ....

When should I harvest apples?

The harvest period for apples varies from one cultivar to another.  In Iowa, ‘Jonathan,’ ‘Red Delicious,’ and ‘Golden Delicious’ apples are normally harvested in mid-September, late September, and early October, respectively.  While approximate harvest times are helpful, the actual harvest time often varies by one or more weeks from year ....

What are the best storage conditions for apples?

The temperature and relative humidity during storage are critical for maximum storage life.  Optimum storage conditions for apples are a temperature near 30 to 32 degrees Fahrenheit and a relative humidity between 90 and 95 percent.  When provided with optimum storage conditions, ‘Jonathan’ and ‘Red Delicious’ apples can be stored ....

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.   ....

I have several rows of grapevines. What would be a good cover crop between rows?

Kentucky bluegrass is an excellent choice.  Bluegrass provides good cover, yet is less competitive than other cover crops.  Late summer (mid-August to mid-September) is the best time to establish bluegrass by seed.  Do not sow bluegrass seed underneath the trellis.  The area directly beneath the trellis should be kept free ....

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