Q: Our Autumn Blaze maples had iron chlorosis last year. An article you wrote prompted us to take action. We bought Medicap iron capsules made for trees online. Following the directions, we drilled holes and pounded the capsules into the trunks of our five trees. Here's a photo of the worst tree we had. You can see it's still lighter but not nearly as yellow as the year before. Our other trees that were slightly less chlorotic last year didn't turn yellow at all this year. The photo on the left is July 2017, the one on the right July 2018. — Deb Faber, Fargo.
FARGO — What type of lawn care provider are you? Do you mow only when you need to find where you left the wheelbarrow? At the opposite end of the grassy spectrum, do you fret if your mowing pattern doesn't look precisely even, causing you to lay down with a cold compress until the stress passes? Or maybe like most of us, you just want your lawn green, dense and weed-free.
Classic humor bears repeating. How can you tell if a newly emerging, unidentified plant in your flower garden is a weed or your new high-priced perennial? Simply give it a tug. If it pulls out easily, it was the high-priced perennial. If it won't pull, it's a weed. If you check Scripture, God never said, "Let there be weeds." The definition of a weed is "any plant out of place." Did you know dandelion, quackgrass, purslane and most of the "plants out of place" that we battle weren't originally here, but were instead imported into the United States?
Q: I just had to report that after planting milkweed two years ago, it has successfully attracted at least three monarch caterpillars this summer. Just doing my part to help the monarch butterfly! — BeAnn Canton, West Fargo.
FARGO — Have you ever tried leaving for a summer vacation with someone who enjoys vegetable gardening? While everyone else is busy packing the car, they're busy picking the last of the string beans. Maybe the cucumbers should be checked one more time because they'll stop bearing if they get too large. It'll only take a minute. An hour or two later, you're on your way.
Q: Here's a photo of plants I've found in two different flower beds around our yard. They're pretty, but look weed-like also. Are they a friend or foe? — Kathy Greener, Fargo. A: Pull the plants as fast as you can. They're weeds, very bad weeds, with the unusual names flower-of-an-hour, Venice mallow or shoo-fly. The botanical name is Hibiscus trionum. Although you can purchase the seed as a wildflower, it's really a weed in sheep's clothing, and is considered a noxious or invasive species in much of the United States.
Were your parents or grandparents raised during the Great Depression? My mom and dad were teenagers during the extreme drought decade of the 1930s, a lesson never forgotten, and even in their 90s treated water like a precious elixir. When I was a child growing up on the banks of the Sheyenne River in Lisbon, N.D., we pumped river water on our flower and vegetable gardens. Using "city water" for outdoor watering wasn't even a concept. After all, city water cost money.
Q: I'm trying to identify the tree in the photo. I've been told that the nuts are not edible. Can you help? — Scott Bundy
Q: What kind of berry is this? It's in the tree row with our chokecherries. It tastes like a chokecherry but is much sweeter. — Sharon Ulmer, Edgeley, N.D. A: The fruits in the photo are yellow chokecherries. Identifying characteristics of leaf shape, prominent white dots on the twigs, called lenticels, and the arrangement of the fruits in their cluster are all the same as the more common purple-black fruited chokecherry. The main difference is the fruit color (and probably sweetness), and yellow types are sometimes larger in size.
Whew! Everyone take five. We've planted, weeded, mulched, sprayed, sprinkled, scouted for pests and have been just plain busy. Let's take a few minutes to revel in midsummer's beauty. These weeks are a high point of flower gardening as annuals reach peak bloom, converging with perennials that bloom in midsummer, producing the largest flower show of the growing season.