Commentary: It's gardening quiz time!
FARGO — It's been nine months since our last quiz, so close your books and take out a sheet of paper. Do your own work and keep your eyes on your own paper. To modernize, I probably should rephrase, but "Shut down your personal learning devices and keep your eyes on your own Scantron" just doesn't have the same ring.
These questions, quiz number nine of the past five years, can be answered with a few words.
1. Reducing the height of some plants makes them fuller, like pruning shrubs and pinching leggy geraniums. Will mowing the grass shorter have the same effect, making the lawn fuller?
2. If a tomato plant grown on an apartment balcony in the middle of a large city fails to produce fruit, could it be the absence of bees in inner cities?
3. To produce fruit, an apple tree needs pollen from a different apple variety. Can ornamental flowering crabs provide the necessary pollen?
4. When weeding flowerbeds, and gardens, is it OK to let annual weeds lay where pulled?
5. Can weeds become established in a rock-mulched landscape?
6. Mushrooms are fungi. Will commonly available garden fungicides kill mushrooms popping up in a lawn if applied properly?
7. If a freshly cut homegrown apple shows brown internal streaking, what is the most likely cause?
8. Can ornamental gourds and edible squash be planted side by side, with no fear of diminishing the quality of the squash fruit, or are they better segregated?
9. Are lilies best divided in spring or fall?
10. Are roses best planted deeply, with the crown buried three or more inches below soil, or with the crown right at the soil surface?
11. What is the disease that causes a grayish-white coating on plants like peonies, lilacs and vine crops?
12. Are lawn weed herbicides applied most successfully on hot summer days, or in the fall?
1. No, mowing a lawn short will not make it fuller. In fact, raising the mowing height shades the roots, conserves moisture and encourages a deep, vigorous root system, making the lawn healthier.
2. No, lack of bees won't affect a tomato's ability to bear, because tomatoes are self-pollinated primarily by wind instead of insect pollinators.
3. Yes, ornamental crab trees in the vicinity are successful sources of pollen for apples.
4. If weeds are bearing seeds or flowering, remove from the garden. If not, uprooted weeds can be left to wither in the hot sun. Except purslane, which easily re-roots, and is best removed.
5. Weeds can establish in rock mulch because many weed seeds easily germinate in the tiny amount of soil or decaying plant debris that accumulates between rocks.
6. No. Common garden fungicides are generally preventatives and have little or no effect on a mushroom's established underground system.
7. Internal apple streaking is usually apple maggot, the region's most common apple problem.
8. Yes, gourds and squash can be planted adjacent. Even if cross-pollination could occur, the internal seeds would be affected, not the fruit.
9. Lily bulbs are best divided in September.
10. Roses are best planted deeply.
11. Powdery mildew, a fungus disease, causes the grayish-white coating.
12. Spraying herbicide on hot days increases likelihood of damage to surroundings from vapor drift, and weeds are more successfully killed in September.
Don Kinzler, a lifelong gardener, worked as an NDSU Extension horticulturist and owned Kinzler's Greenhouse in Fargo. Readers can reach him at email@example.com.
He also blogs at " target="_blank">growingtogether.areavoices.com.