August 8, 2003

Edibility of Ornamental Tree Fruit


Ornamental trees, such as crabapples and purple-leaved plums, are planted in the home landscape for their flowers or colorful foliage. While chiefly ornamental, these trees also produce fruit resembling those on fruit trees. As the fruits mature, questions concerning their edibility often arise.

Fruit from ornamentals, such as crabapples and purple-leaved plums, are edible. However, the eating quality of some ornamental fruit is rather poor. These trees were selected for their ornamental characteristics rather than the eating quality of their fruit.

Robber Fly is not a Wasp


One of the most unusual insects found this summer has been the robber fly. Adult robber flies are noted for their voracious attacks on other insects, including wasps and bees. This behavior has earned them the name bee catchers. They are usually found in open and sunny areas ranging from fields to pastures to city yards and woodland edges. They fly mainly during the hotter parts of the day. Often they wait in open sunlit areas where they can command a good view of passing insects and then fly out to catch their prey.

Bacterial Speck and Spot of Tomato


While bacterial speck and spot are not always catastrophic to a crop of tomato plants, these diseases can still be problematic when trying to cultivate high-quality yields. Warm, moist conditions favor bacterial spot, while cool, moist conditions favor bacterial speck. The foliar symptoms of each disease are almost identical, and can be misdiagnosed. However, symptoms that appear on the fruit are usually different and make proper diagnosis easier.

Dish Washing Detergent and Mosquitoes


Perhaps you've seen the unsigned email message that claims "Lemon Fresh Joy" dish washing detergent in a pan of water will solve all your mosquito problems. If you haven't, consider yourself lucky.Of course this doesn't work. It's a mystery that anyone would believe that it does. Proliferation of urban legends, myths, and outright lies via the Internet is giving new credence to the famous quotation attributed to P.T. Barnum (the one about neo-suckers appearing every 60 seconds).