Here are some of the questions master gardeners fielded on their hotline this week. They answer questions from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. weekdays at 316-660-0190.
What are the small round brown bumps on redbud and oak tree branches? Do we need to do anything about them?
These "bumps" are the covering from an adult female lecanium scale. She laid eggs underneath this covering. Close inspection under a microscope shows that some are hatching and almost all are still underneath this protective scale coating.
Lecanium scale is a nuisance but will rarely damage a tree. Predatory insects will remove the scale in time.
Treating now will control the very few crawlers that have emerged and are out on the branches and leaves. If you are going to treat, spraying in early to mid-June and 10 days later is more effective than May applications. Products to use include those containing acephate, cyfluthrin or a summer grade of horticultural oil.
How do you control suckers growing at the base of trees?
Pruning them out several times a summer is the best way to handle this. A product called "sucker stopper" is no longer found on the market, but if you find some, just spray the suckers when they are about 6 to 10 inches tall. Horticultural vinegar can be sprayed on them, and it will burn them back without hurting the tree (but they will regrow). Do not use herbicide on suckers — they will damage or may kill the tree. The best product to buy is a new pair of hand pruners!
Can you plant Easter Lilies outside?
Sure — go ahead and plant now (with entire rootball intact) with the bulb set about 6 to 8 inches below the surface. Plant in a sunny, well-drained area. They will rebloom in July of the second year.