Karl Foord, UMN Extension Educator
Pick-your-own strawberries should be in full swing as of this writing. The picture below was taken at Apple Jack Orchards in Delano on June 10, 2010. Don't miss the opportunity to taste fresh strawberries. You can find a strawberry field near you by going to http://www3.mda.state.mn.us/mngrown entering your location and clicking on the strawberry button. The Minnesota Grown Strawberry fields will be listed in order based on proximity to your location.
Continue to protect your small young apples. I found damage from a few green fruitworm as well as plum curculio. Plum curculio causes feeding and egg laying damage to young apple fruit. Practice sanitation and remove all infected fruit. Do not let the fruit fall to the ground permitting the curculio larvae to burrow into the soil pupate and come back next year in greater numbers.
My roving garden camera also found Pine Tortoise scale in my Uncle Fogy Pine. The scales were so thick on this tree that it looked like the scales were the bark of the tree. Because plants contain low densities of the nitrogen compounds needed for building proteins, the scale needs to consume an excess of sap to satisfy their nutritional requirements. The excess is expelled as "honeydew" which acts as a substrate for the growth of a sooty mold fungus that blackens affected plants. My tree was stunted by the scale and blackened by the fungus.
Thanks to Jeff Hahn and Emily Hoover for identification of insect pests. Photos by Karl Foord.