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May 11, 2002

Pruning Apple & Peach Trees

Walter points out that fruit trees are pruned
in dramatically different ways, depending on their natural form. Your
first pruning cut will seem severe because it is usually just a few
feet from the ground after you've planted a small tree. Dr. Mark
Reiger, Horticulturist with UGA's College of Agricultural &
Environmental Sciences, sketches the proper form that peach trees (an
open center) and apple trees (a central leader) should have. Walter
shows some examples of mature fruit trees that have proper form after a
few years of growth and proper pruning.

Southern Pine Beetles

The southern pine beetle, Dendrotonus
frontalis, is the most destructive pest of pine trees in the southern
U.S. Drought conditions over the last 4 years have worsened outbreaks
of this pest. The beetles damage the trees by tunneling and feeding
under the bark. Walter shows the characteristic "S"-shaped galleries
that is characteristic of their damage. He also catches a glimpse of
the checkered beetle which attacks and preys upon southern pine
beetles. If your tree is diagnosed as being infested with the southern
pine beetle, there is little you can do except have it cut down and
destroyed. Tune is as Walter explains why.

For more information on this
voracious pest, read the fact sheet, Southern Pine Beetle, produced by Dan Horton and HC Ellis, entomologists with UGA's College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences.

Sprouting Dahlias

It's really very easy to sprout dahlia stems
in early summer to propagate more of these lovely plants for your
landscape. Walter shows a very simple propagation process that he uses.
He fills a plastic shoe box with damp perlite. He then makes plant
cuttings 6 inches long and inserts the base of each cutting 2 inches
into perlite. He covers box with clear plastic wrap and places it in a
shady spot. Cuttings will root in 3 weeks and can be planted in your
garden for late summer blooms.

Soil Amendments

Most Georgia garden soil needs to be amended
with some sort of organic matter in order to loosen the high percentage
of clay it contains. Dr. Tim Smalley, a horticulturist with UGA's
College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences, shows Walter his
research plots where he has studied the effects of various amendments
for several years. His conclusions? Chickens give gardeners a very
valuable side product as they produce the eggs and meat we eat.