Q. I have a beautiful crab apple tree in my yard, and my neighbor said I need to remove it because I don't spray it. Why?
A. In Washington, all pests affecting commercial agriculture must be controlled. Tree fruit have several pests like codling moth, cherry fruit fly and apple maggot that are continually battled by commercial growers. When fruit is being exported the presence of these pests also has severe implications. The county pest boards enforce the laws on controlling pests in apples, cherries and pears. If you control the codling moth in your crab apple, you can keep your tree, but in reality that often is difficult and costly. Sometimes it is easier to remove the tree and plant another non-fruiting ornamental tree.
Q. I'm always concerned about mayonnaise-based salads like potato salad at picnics. Are they safe to eat?
A. Pasta salads and potato salads are picnic staples. Contrary to common belief, mayonnaise is not the culprit that causes foodborne illness. The bacteria prefer the eggs, potatoes or other salad ingredients. In order to safely serve mayonnaise-based salads at outdoor events, make sure the salad is kept cold until it is time to eat. Serve only the amount of salad that will be consumed within one hour, keeping the rest well iced in the cooler. When you need more salad, start with a clean serving dish, spoon and fresh salad. Don't just refill the serving dishes on the table, or add new salad to old salad.
Q. How do you grow large pumpkins?
A. Chose a variety that is known to produce large fruit. As the plant flowers, remove the first few blossoms (usually they are male flowers). As the plant gets larger remove all but one or two female flowers (female flowers have a tiny pumpkin shape at the base) and continue to remove other flowers as they appear. As the pumpkins get to the size of a softball, chose the best one and remove the others. Provide plenty of space (150 square feet), fertilizer and moisture.
* Questions should be called in to the WSU Extension offices in Kennewick at 509-735-3551 or Pasco at 509-545-3511.