WSU Extension Q&A: Find out what's attacking your ash tree

May 23, 2013 

Q. The leaves of my ash tree are curled and distorted. What is causing this?

A. Many area ashes are attacked each spring by the wooly ash aphid that sucks sap from the newly developing leaves in the spring and causes cupping and curling of the leaves. Applying pesticides as a spray after this damage is noticed in the spring does not provide control. This is because the aphids are only present in early spring, vacating the leaves to live on the roots until the fall when they return to the top of the tree as adults to lay eggs. The aphids are best controlled by a dormant oil spray applied just before the buds open in the spring or a root applied systemic insecticide drench.

Q. We have a small irrigated pasture for our cows and sheep that might need some fertilizer. How do we find out how much fertilizer to apply?

A. The first step is to have a soil test taken to determine what the pasture needs. Once the requirements are established, you will have to decide what fertilizer product best fits your needs. Fertilizers are labeled with numbers that refer to their chemical content. For example, a product labeled 16-16-16 means that it has 16 percent nitrogen, 16 percent phosphorus and 16 percent potassium. This means that for each 100 pounds of the product that is applied, you will get 16 pounds of nitrogen, and the same is true with phosphorus and potassium.

We generally recommend that not more than 50 to 60 pounds of nitrogen be applied at one time. If you need more, a split application several months apart might be appropriate. This is because high levels of nitrogen fertilization can increase nitrate in your pasture plants and can be toxic to ruminants in pasture and hay.

Q. An economic assessment of the Columbia Basin Irrigation Project was done recently. What did they find?

A. The Columbia Basin Project diverts 2.3 million to 2.7 million acre-feet of Columbia River water and irrigates 621,000 acres of productive farmland in Adams, Franklin, Grant and Walla Walla counties. Primary crops grown include potatoes, onions, orchard fruits, grapes, alfalfa hay, wheat, corn, and seed and specialty crops. The total value of production is estimated at approximately $1.44 billion annually.

-- Questions should be called in to the WSU Extension offices in Kennewick at 735-3551 or Pasco at 545-3511.

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