March 3, 1995
Apple trees need to be pruned throughout their lives. The most important period for pruning and training fruit trees is the first 4 to 5 years after planting. Proper pruning and training of young apple trees should produce strong, well-structured trees that yield a large crop of high-quality fruit.
For many dedicated gardeners the 1995 gardening season is well under way. They began germinating their slow growing seeds in early- to mid- January. For many garden seeds, 8 weeks before the last frost will provide transplants of optimal size. Because many of our gardens are smaller than in the past, we often have seeds leftover from year to year. A commonly asked question is how long will the seeds remain viable?
Gray snow mold, also referred to as "Typhula blight", is caused by two species of fungi in the genus Typhula. These fungi thrive when moisture is plentiful and when prolonged periods of snow cover exist, especially after the snow falls on unfrozen ground. Gray snow mold has been common on Iowa lawns and golf courses this month.
The training and pruning of grapevines is often confusing to many gardeners. The more common training systems for the home garden are the four-cane Kniffin and six-cane Kniffin. The four- cane Kniffin is popular because of its simplicity. This system is characterized by four canes, two on each side of the trunk, trained onto two trellis wires. In addition, four very short canes (termed renewal spurs) are also retained. The renewal spurs contain one or two buds and are very important in the training system.