Fruit trees are blooming away. This past Friday I saw an Anna apple that was already loaded with small fruit.
With such a long growing season and warm moist environment, fruit trees here have enormous disease and insect pressures.
Peaches and plums are probably the most vulnerable and without a good spray program it is almost impossible, if not outright impossible, to have worm and disease free fruit. I always hate it when I bite into a peach and find half of a worm left in the peach.
In order to be worm free you will need to start a spray program early and stay with it until you harvest your peaches and plums.
You can make your first spray at the pink bud stage up until you have 10% of the flowers open. With the early spring we are having you might be past that already but no worries, just skip it.
Your next spray should be made when 75% of the petals have fallen from the blooms. Make this spray late in the afternoon.
From this point you will need to spray your peaches and plums every 7-14 days and I would suggest that you spray every week. I would pick a day of the week and spray unless it was raining at the time.
It is also important to only mix up the amount of spray needed for each application. You cannot hold over any unused spray for the following week as your chemicals will break down and degrade in your sprayer which will render them ineffective.
For a good spray program you will need a fungicide, an insecticide to take care of chewing insects and an insecticide to control sucking insects. If you have just a few trees the least expensive way to accomplish this is to purchase a retail fruit tree spray with all three controls in one container. I see those products marketed as Home Orchard Spray and Fruit Tree Sprays. I especially like the ones that contain the fungicide Captan and insecticides Malathion and Sevin (carbaryl).
If you have a lot of trees you could mix your own but it is important to buy all your chemicals as wettable powders or all of them as liquids. Powders and liquids do not usually mix.
Sweet corn should be planted early to avoid corn ear worm problems. Plant at least 3 rows side by side so you get good pollination and ears will fill out to the end. Seeds should be spaced every 8 to 12 inches within the row.
Popular traditional recommended sweet corn varieties include Merit, Funk’s G-90, Silver Queen and Golden Queen.
For a sweeter version that still has enough starch to give that creamy texture try Bodacious, Ambrosia, Argent, Incredible, Delectable, Precious Gem and Honey Select.
Super sweet varieties usually germinate better after soils warm up a bit, but they can be 2 to 3 times sweeter than traditional sweet corn varieties. Varieties of super sweet would include the XTRA Tender numbered varieties, Honey and Pearl and How Sweet It Is.
Sweet corn will be ready to harvest when silks turn brown to black. You will be at peak sugar when you puncture a few kernels with your thumb nail and the fluid is milky white and runny. If you get a clear fluid you are too early and if you get a thick starch, corn is over mature.
Kenny Sharpe is county agent with the LSU Cooperative Extension Service in Livingston Parish. For more information on these or related topics contact Kenny at 225-686-3020 or visit www.lsuagcenter.com/livingston.