June 29, 2005

Growing Blackberries in the Home Garden

Blackberries are a delicious gourmet treat that may be eaten fresh or used in cobbler, cake, sauce, jam, jelly or syrup. Unfortunately, many blackberry cultivars (varieties) do not perform well in Iowa. However, if the right cultivar (variety) is chosen, blackberries can be grown in the home garden.

Ash Rust

The Plant Disease Clinic has received several ash samples recently with bright orange spots on the leaves and petioles. Ash rust is a common fungal disease of all species of ash trees. Infected leaves, petioles, and small twigs swell and may become twisted and distorted. Yellow to orange pustules develop and produce powdery spores.

The spores produced on the ash tree do not reinfect ash, but rather infect cord and marsh grasses and the fungus overwinters on these plants. In the spring, the fungus produces spores that can infect ash, completing the life cycle.