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Question: 1142-2814
I have some elm or maple seedlings that are persistent additions to my blackberry and raspberry patch. Is there anything that I can use to get rid of these seedlings? Bill, Davenport, IA

Mort's Answer:
You need to keep them trimmed and cultivated to assure good fruit anyway. Pruning them every fall will make it easier to cultivate them. Fruiting does better on two and three year old stems. Eliminate older branches and half of new pencil shoots. The remaining shoots need to be cut back to three feet. Vine-X is a systemic product that can be applied onto each branch. Because it is so effective, you have to be berry careful. It comes in a squeeze bottle with a brush on the end. You may want to apply with a toothbrush. If you cultivate regularly, you may not need to apply the herbicide.

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Question: 907-1113
I planted basil and lettuce. At the base of the seedlings there is white fuzz. Is this damping off? How can this be fixed? Reid

Mort's Answer:
Dampening off is caused by a lack of good drainage. The white fuzz could be mealybug from unsterilized soil. Both conditions can be remedied by using a soil mix of sterile soil with a third coarse sand. Use a tin layer of a quarter inch of sand on top to act as a furrow for your seeds. Lettuce can be planted outdoors before the last average frost date. Basil can planted with your tomatoes time wise or later. Since you are too early with both, I would start over and toss the salad. You can start 3-4 weeks prior to placing outdoors in mid May. Lettuce can take a frost. That means mid April for sowing lettuce seeds indoors in zone 4. Basil takes six weeks from sowing to be put outdoors. It cannot take the frost like tomatoes. Plant your Basil as seeds the beginning of May.

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