But we did have one minor problem. We had a hard time knowing when the melons were ripe and ready to be picked. Do you have any good tricks to determine when a cantaloupe is ready for harvest? Answer: There is nothing better than a fully ripe cantaloupe full of flavor. So many times the melons at the store are picked green and just don’t have much flavor. There is a simple and easy trick to knowing when a melon is ready to be picked. The key is to watch for what is called “stem slip.” This simply means that when the fruit is right the stem that attaches the melon to the vine will release. It can easily be severed with a slight touch, in fact it will release on its own. In other words the melon will not need to be cut from the vine. By the way, this trick can also be used when picking a cantaloupe at the grocery store. Melons picked green will have been cut from the vine and ripe melons harvested at stem slip will have a naval or scar where the stem came off. Enjoy as this is a simple trick that works.
Emerald Ash Borer. I asked the tree service if the chemicals used to control EAB would harm other insects that feed on the tree. He said no, but that does not seem right. Answer: The insecticides commonly used for control of EAB will also have an adverse effect on other insect species that feed on the tree. That may be good or
bad news depending how you look at it. The treatments will also kill the native borers and some of the leaf feeding insects. But it will also harm the native butterfly that lays its eggs on ash. So it is a difficult call and one that each must weigh when it comes to protecting or losing your tree as EAB continues its spread in KC. I don’t have a solu-
tion except you need to determine if the tree around out ways having a few losses. Dennis Patton is the horticulture agent for Johnson County K-State Research and Extension. For free information fact sheets, visit www.johnson.ksu.edu, or call the Extension office at 913-715-7000.
FUNGUS ON MATURE OAK TREE Question: I have a mature oak tree that was in the yard when we moved in about 20 years ago. This summer I noticed this white growth growing out of the trunk. There seems to be a cluster in a couple of areas. Other than this the tree looks healthy. What is this and how do I get rid of it? Answer: There are a number of different fungal growths that appear on trees. As a general rule these are all associated with rotting or decaying wood. The growth you see on the outside of the tree should be considered the flowering structure of the fungus which has colonized the decaying wood in the tree. These growths are not a good sign, in fact, they tell us the tree is in decline and could potentially become a hazard depending on the amount of internal decay. There is no way for you to stop this natural process. Removing the mushroom growths on the trunk does not remove the mass from inside tree. My best recommendation is to contact a certified arborist and have them investigate the amount of internal rot and determine whether or not the tree should be removed. CHEMICAL ADVERSE EFFECT Question: I am having my ash trees treated and protected from The Kansas City Gardener | September 2015
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