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John Fulton


John Fulton
Former County Extension Director



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In The Backyard

Horticulture columns and tips done on a timely basis

Japanese Beetle Update

Posted by John Fulton -

Most areas have experienced relatively few Japanese beetles for the second year in a row. Many credit the extreme cold, but probably just as important were the really poor egg laying and grub survival conditions of the past two summers. Laying eggs into dormant grass (due to the heat and dryness of the past two summers after July) doesn't bode well for survival. Darn….. Also, the natural diseases...

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Septoria Leaf Blight on Tomato
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Tomato Diseases

Posted by John Fulton -

This is another one of those columns which can be used most years, and this year is no exception. Tomato disease symptoms are worse this year than most, with fruit being affected in many cases. Most of the samples I have seen have spots, brown leaves, and dropping leaves, or all of the above. Several diseases hit tomatoes, but two of the more common ones are early blight and seporia leaf spot....

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Syrphid Fly
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Sweat Bees and Syrphid Flies

Posted by John Fulton -

Everyone seems to be having troubles with "sweat bees" these days. Or are they sweat bees? Sweat bees are about a quarter of an inch long, and are usually a metallic green in color. The yellow and black insects commonly called sweat bees are actually flies. Syrphid flies to be correct. When in doubt, count the wings (I know – easier said than done). Bees will have two wings per side, while flie...

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Sticky Mess Under Trees

Posted by John Fulton -

People are once again complaining about leaking sap coming from trees. What happens is a fine mist of sap coats things beneath a tree. This is actually called "honeydew," which is a secretion of sucking insects such as aphids and lacebugs. What makes matters worse is a fungus begins growing in the honeydew, making it turn black. There are two ways to deal with the problem. The first way...

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Hollyhock rust

Rust on Hollyhocks

Posted by John Fulton -

Hollyhocks are one of the traditional, old-fashioned flowers often grown in our area. This year, they are definitely interesting – that is if yours survived the winter. Most area hollyhocks are infected with rust. Rust is usually a spring and fall disease problem, when it occurs. This year it has kept going with the type of weather we have experienced. Rust first shows up on the bottom...

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hackberry gall

Swellings on leaves, stems, twigs, and branches = Galls

Posted by John Fulton -

One group of problems showing up is galls. Galls are swelling of leaves, twigs, or other plant parts. Most are caused by mites or wasps. They damage the plant parts and the plant responds with a gall. In the case of leaves, the swelling is actually leaf tissue. This is something I like to refer to as similar to you getting a mosquito bite. The damage comes in and a swelling occurs. There is no...

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Insect Problems on Squash, Melons, Pumpkins, and Pickles

Posted by John Fulton -

Everything in the squash, melon, pumpkin, and cucumber families are cucurbits. There are several potential insect problems with them, and today's column attempts to help minimize or prevent these problems. The first group of insects is the cucumber beetles. These can be green, black and yellow striped, or black and yellow spotted. The importance of the beetles is not that they eat small holes i...

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Bradfordpearfruit

Ornamental Pear Trees

Posted by John Fulton -

When you bought your ornamental pear tree, you probably thought it was a sterile tree (having no fruit). You were right at the time, but some things have changed. The original Bradford pear tree was sterile. It is actually a member of the Callery pear group. Due to many of the trees breaking at the graft, new varieties of the sterile, ornamental pear were introduced from the Callery group. The...

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Fairy Rings

Mushrooms and Toadstools in the Lawn

Posted by John Fulton -

The symptoms of "fairy rings" have been classic this year. Dark green grass in rings that looks like a target pattern is a symptom of fairy rings. Fairy rings are visible now. Fairy rings are caused by a fungus that is in the soil. Actually there are about 50 fungi that can cause fairy rings. These fungi feed on decaying organic matter such as large roots from trees that were in the area, or fr...

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Rhubarb Reminders

Posted by John Fulton -

As we are in the heat of the summer, here are a few reminders about rhubarb. The first year of establishment, you shouldn't harvest at all. The second year you can have one or two weeks of harvest. After the second year, you can harvest eight to ten weeks. Pull the stalks, and don't remove more than a third at any one time. The old adage of "don't harvest in any month with an "r" in it is also...

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