Q. I have lots of little sprouts growing up and down the main trunk of the shade tree I planted a few years ago. Should I remove them?
A. These are watersprouts that grow from latent buds on the trunk. They should be removed as soon as they appear. When they're new and tender, it's easy to take them off with your hand, but if they've been allowed to grow for a while, you'll want to prune them off flush with the trunk. You should take note, though, that watersprouts can be a sign that your tree is in trouble. If your tree is vigorous and growing well, watersprouts should not cause concern. However, watersprouts also appear on trees weakened by drought, disease or improper planting and are a sign of a problem. If there is dieback in the top of the tree and sprouts along the trunk, be sure to check out possible causes of the problem.
Q. My recipe calls for blanching asparagus before pickling it. Is this necessary?
A. No, blanching is necessary to prepare asparagus for freezing but not for water bath canning. You can skip this step if you'd like.
Q. I have a table grape in my garden and I would like to plant a Concord. Can grape varieties cross pollinate with each other?
A. No, the characteristics of your original variety will remain the same, even if the grapes are planted directly next to each other.
-- Questions should be called in to the WSU Extension offices in Kennewick at 735-3551 or Pasco at 545-3511.