Pruning Neglected Apple Trees

Old, neglected apple trees that haven't been pruned for several years are often tall, densely branched, unproductive, and may contain a large number of dead branches. Fruit produced on neglected trees are generally small, poorly colored with a low sugar content, and misshapened. (The misshapened fruit are caused by insect and disease pests.) Though trees may be old, structurally sound trees can produce good quality fruit if properly renovated and managed.

Suggested Daffodil Cultivars for Iowa

Daffodils are a welcome sign of spring. To enjoy their beauty, gardeners must plant daffodils in the fall. There are several thousand daffodil varieties. All daffodils can be placed into one of twelve divisions. These divisions are based on physical characteristics and genetic heritage.

Division I: Trumpet Daffodils

One flower to a stem. The trumpet or corona is equal to or longer than the "petals." (The "petals" are actually composed of the petals and sepals and are collectively known as the perianth.)

Suggested Cultivars

Carpenter Ants

'Large black ants' have become the most common topic of discussion for callers to the Extension Entomology office during the past week. Apparently, wet weather over the past year and a half has been favorable to the carpenter ants and their numbers have increased with a corresponding increase in the numbers of workers and swarmers invading homes. The following are answers to some of the most common questions.

The Biggest and the Earliest Vegetable Varieties

For many people the whole reason they garden is to have the biggest and/or earliest harvest no matter what the plant. Varietal selection plays a big role in achieving the goals of these gardeners, as does optimal growing conditions. Unfortunately we cannot control mother nature, but we can provide good soil conditions and supplemental water if needed to help the plants grow the way we desire.

Varieties to look for if earliness or size are your main goals include:

Pruning Large, Overgrown Lilacs

The common purple lilac is a tough, reliable shrub that may reach a height of 15 to 20 feet. Unfortunately, as lilacs mature, the shaded lower portions of the shrubs usually lose their leaves. As a result, large, overgrown specimens are often leggy and unattractive. Old, neglected lilacs can be renewed or rejuvenated by pruning. Home gardeners can choose between two different pruning methods.

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