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The Garden Clock – Pauline Keegan

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How do you mend a broken tree?

A large piece of bark has been scraped off of my maple tree. What shall I do to help the tree heal?
With a sharp knife, trim the edges of the remaining attached bark in a smooth line so that it can heal more easily. It is no longer recommended that you paint the damaged area with a sealer. The best thing you can do is to keep the tree healthy and it will heal itself. Water is the most important thing to a tree. In the spring, you can fertilize lightly with a balanced fertilizer.

When should I cut back my ornamental grass?
Most ornamental grasses are attractive throughout the winter. As the foliage dries it takes on  warm  shades of tan that shine in  the low-lying winter sun. In addition, the dead stalks provide protection for the crown of the plants during winter. In the spring, all grasses that are not evergreen, should be cut back to two inches from the ground so that the growth of new shoots will not be hindered.

My Loblolly pine is loosing it’s needles, what can I do to stop this?
: Most pines shed needles each year . However, if  all the lower branches are affected, pine tip moth may be the culprit. Trim the affected branches and spray as far as you can reach with Sevin or orthene.

I have been successful in growing a pineapple plant . Can you tell me if it will have flowers?
Getting a pineapple to bear fruit is harder than growing one. Once your plant is approximately 25 to 30 inches tall, it will flower and produce fruit on its own. Not many people have the space for a 30 inch plant but, there is an easier way to force your plant to flower and bear fruit when it is half that size. Pineapple plants normally begin to produce fruit during the short- day season,now. Place the entire plant, pot  and all, into a plastic bag with some ripe apples. As apples rot, they  emit Ethylene gas which  tricks the plant into forming a flower instead of producing new leaves. Keep the plant in the bag with the apples for approximinately 2 weeks .  Remove the plant and apples from the bag and place the plant  in a sunny  window and wait for a flower spke to form in the center of the plant. After several months, the flower will dry out and a pineapple will form at the top end of the stem. Wait until the fruit turns a golden yellow colour before picking. After harvesting the fruit you may notiice new shoots left on the plant. These can be removed and planted in the same method as the original mother plant.

Send your gardening and  landscaping questions and tips to Washington County Master Gardeners, 2536 N. McConnell Avenue, Fayetteville AR 72704. You may also call 444-1755 for answers to your questions.