Home & Garden

On the garden hotline

The Extension Master Gardener Hotline takes questions about gardening from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. weekdays at 660-0190 through October. Here are a couple of questions called in this week.

One side of a dwarf Alberta spruce got shaded out from an overgrowing juniper. After removing the juniper, a huge bare spot was exposed. Will this grow back?

No. If the bare spot is small, you can tie some branches together to fill in.

What are the round woody balls hanging on some cedar trees?

These are the galls from cedar-apple rust, which is a fungus. It is time for them to turn into large orange jelly-like masses when the trees get wet. This will happen until June 1. On cedars, pick them off to make the trees look better. The gall is the symptom on cedars; a yellow orange spot is the symptom on apple and crabapple leaves. If you have susceptible varieties of apple or crabapple, the disease can be prevented on them with a spray of Immunox at 10-day intervals from April 1 to June 1. If you are preparing to plant an apple or crabapple, plant a resistant variety to avoid the need to spray for this nuisance disease.

What are the tiny bugs I'm seeing in the house?

These are clover mites, smaller than a pinhead. They won't bite you, but they can stain textiles if you crush them. Suck them up with a vacuum cleaner. Remove and seal the vacuum bag right away. You can prevent them coming in by spraying a miticide on the outside of the house from the lower windowsill to the ground, paying special attention to hit any cracks and crevices. Spray outside walls and foundations with lambda-cyhalothrin (Spectracide Triazicide, Scimitar) or bifenthrin (Ortho Home Defense Indoor & Outdoor Insect Killer, Talstar), on a day that is at least 60 degrees.