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San Jose Scales on Apple Trees

Scales are a unique appearing insect. Most of us learned insect basics in grade school and are looking for three body parts (head, thorax and abdomen) and six legs. Then someone tells us a scale is an insect and we look at it and it appears to be one smooth surface and there are certainly no legs in sight.  It is at this point where most of us basically just take the entomologist's word for it that these things are indeed insects.  It is primarily the females that we see on plants, and female scales are wingless and usually legless as adults.  Scale insects start as eggs. The nymphs hatch and do have legs, and this is the stage referred to as crawlers that moves around and infests different parts of the plant.  After that first stage that is mobile, all the rest of the stages do not move.  Read more about San Jose Scales on Apple Trees


Secrets of Sooty Blotch and Flyspeck on Apples

Sooty blotch and flyspeck may be as old as apples themselves. Drawings of apple varieties from the 1820s clearly show sooty blotch on every fruit. It wasn’t until sprayed-on pesticides, such as lime sulfur and lead arsenate, became popular around 1900 that consumers began to expect to buy apples without a heavy coating of sooty blotch and flyspeck. The cosmetically perfect apples found in today’s supermarkets weren’t common until the middle of the 20th century, when more effective organic fungicides appeared. Read more about Secrets of Sooty Blotch and Flyspeck on Apples


Backyard Orchards Require Planning Ahead

It is not quite that simple to grow fruit in home landscapes in the Midwest. The tree fruits we can grow, such as apples, pears, plums and cherries, require more work with regards to variety selection, pest management and pruning. Fortunately, with some planning, even Iowans with a small yard in the city can successfully grow fruit trees.  Read more about Backyard Orchards Require Planning Ahead