Q. What does summer pruning mean, and should I do it on my peach tree?
A. Summer pruning removes an energy source (leaves producing energy) from the tree. It is a good technique to slow growth, but should really be reserved for vigorous current season's growth and maybe to open up the canopy.
Q. How does cow nutrition affect the development of the calf?
A. Mid to late gestation is critical for muscle fiber formation and growth. During late gestation, fat cells are formed, and this is important for marbling development, which in turn can affect quality grade. Nutritional deficiencies during the time when muscles and organs are developing will have long-lasting effects on the calf's growth and performance.
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Q. I have a lot of roses with aphids, and I have been using systemic insecticides that I apply to the soil so I don't risk killing the honeybees that visit. Recently, I heard that these systemic insecticides may be hurting the bees more than the sprays. Is this true? Should I stop using these products?
A. Neonicotinoids, a newer common class of insecticides, have been identified as a problem for honey bees and other pollinators. It was originally thought that the use of neonicotinoids was desirable because they are relatively safe for use around people, animals and the environment. The big advantage for gardeners is that they can be applied to the soil at the base of ornamental plants and then taken up by the roots and moved about the plant systemically. No spraying needed. Because these chemicals move throughout the plant, they also find their way into pollen and nectar. Bees and insects are exposed to these chemicals when they feed on that pollen or nectar. Research indicates that this can kill the creatures or impair its ability to survive or reproduce.
The neonicotinoid chemicals available for soil application in home products are imidacloprid, clothianidin and dinotefuran. Researchers say it is clear that the neonicotinoids do have negative effects on bees and other insects, but it is not clear if the effects are significantly lethal or sublethal at realistic field levels.
"For now, the best recommendation is to carefully follow the product label, be judicious in your application and avoid applying any insecticide product when bees are actively foraging in or near the target area," says Washington State University Extension Fact Sheet FS122E. Get a free copy at https://pubs.wsu.edu.
-- Questions should be called in to the WSU Extension offices in Kennewick at 735-3551 or Pasco at 545-3511.