Nuisance fruit spraying and other things to do
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[March 21, 2007]
One of the main things to discuss today is the
removal of nuisance fruit. You may be thinking about those apples or
peaches, but really the nuisance fruit category includes things that
are much more a nuisance, like sweet gum balls, maple seeds and crab
apples. I used this topic a few years ago in a column and then there
was a product shortage locally, but I think that has been taken care
There are several products available to eliminate nuisance
fruit. The most common is ethephon, and it is used as a foliar
spray to reduce or eliminate undesirable fruit or seeds. Some of
the trade names are Florel and Ethrel. The product is effective
at eliminating much of the fruit without affecting leaf growth
and color, and it does not harm other plants that get some spray
drift on them. It also does not affect the actual flowering of
the treated trees.
With ethephon, the key is in the timing.
The application must be made during flowering but before the
fruit sets in. For most flowering trees there is a 10-14-day
window of opportunity. Sweet gums are a little tricky since
there are no showy flowers involved, so effective sprays should
occur just as new leaves begin to emerge. Sprays should leave
leaves wet but not to the point of dripping. Good coverage of
the tree is needed, so keep in mind the size of the tree when
you are weighing this option.
This product is a growth regulator that naturally occurs. Its
natural production is stimulated by stress, so make sure you
aren't treating a tree that is under stress from drought, high
temperatures, diseases or other environmental stresses. Treating
stressed trees can cause severe injury to the plant, such as
leaf loss or scorching.
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"To do" list
Of course there are several things to do around the home, lawn
and garden. And, many of these are dependent on the weather. Weather
permitting, here are some things to try to keep on top of:
seedings should be completed by April 1. The best multipurpose
seedings are blends of Kentucky bluegrass, red or chewings
fescue, and perennial ryegrass. Use 4 pounds per 1,000 square
feet on bare ground and 2 pounds for overseedings.
operations such as dethatching and core aeration should also be
done at this time.
temporarily flatten night crawler mounds in the lawn by using a
roller when the ground is very wet. When completely saturated,
no compaction occurs, since the air space in the soil is filled
should be rapidly completed on non-evergreens. Expect quite a
bit of bleeding from high-sap-flow trees such as maples and
sweet gums. Wait until late June to prune those evergreens
(unless you had some winter injury; then you can cut out dead
March 25 to April
10 is normal seeding and planting time for asparagus crowns,
cabbage seed, kohlrabi, leaf lettuce, onions from seeds or sets,
peas, potatoes, radishes, rhubarb plants, spinach, and turnips.
Remember to start
your own flower and vegetable seeds to grow your own transplants
about six weeks before you want to set them out.
[Text from file received from
Fulton, University of Illinois Extension,
Logan County Unit]