Here are this week’s gardening questions and answers, provided by Parker County Master Gardeners. To submit a question, send it to email@example.com. For more information about Parker County Master Gardeners, or to become a member, call 817-598-6096 or visit www.pcmg-texas.org.
I have brown rot in my peaches. What can I do?
Brown rot is caused by a fungus, and is one of the most destructive diseases of stone fruits. Symptoms on ripening peaches may first appear as small circular spots.
On mature fruit, these lesions develop and enlarge rapidly; and fruits may rot completely within two days. Tan/gray spore masses are evident on rotting fruit. Diseased fruits typically shrivel and turn brown/black, either dropping to the ground or remaining attached to the tree. These tough shriveled fruits, termed mummies, are the major source for overwintering fungi, allowing the spores to emerge in the spring and re-infest the tree.
Thin the peaches so that mature fruits will not be touching. Remove stunted fruit, which may be more susceptible to brown rot. If peaches are thinned after the pit hardens, remove thinned fruit from the ground.
Apply fungicides to trees as directed throughout the season until one week prior to harvest. Alternate or mix immunox (Spectracide) with captan or sulfur according to the product directions. Be sure to remove rotting fruits from the ground around the tree.
My junipers are covered in bagworms. What can I do?
Bagworms are attacking evergreen shrubs such as arborvitae and junipers. You can identify them by the small, silky “bags” attached to limbs, looking like brown Christmas ornaments. The bags contain thousands of larvae waiting to hatch. At this time, the best option is to hand pick the bags, as sprays will have little effect. Next spring, look for the caterpillars and spray before they reach the bag stage with an insecticide containing carbaryl (e.g., Sevin), malathion or the natural insecticide “BT,” or Bacillus thuringiensis.
For more information and for pictures of the bags and the caterpillars go to http://landscapeipm.tamu.edu/files/2012/09/BagwormsPub.pdf.
What is the stripped caterpillar with yellow dots that is eating my fennel and parsley?
Black Swallowtail caterpillars hatch from eggs that are laid on fennel, parsley, dill and rue. These caterpillars may grow to 3-4 inches before they begin metamorphosis. They are easily removed by hand if you do not want them eating your herbs.