Hank Wessels

My iris has not bloomed the last several years. What could be the problem?

Chances are the iris rhizomes are planted too deep. Either replant them not as deep, or start with new rhizomes.

You may also have iris borers in the rhizomes, in this case they need to be replaced and replanted in a different area. All iris rhizomes should be rotated every four to five years, because usually by this time you have a lot of grass and weeds, and this too, can be part of your problem.

The last several years I have had poor germination of the seeds I plant in the garden. What could be the problem?

Make sure you have purchased the freshest seeds available. You may also want to try a different seed brand.

Do you any new ideas for having tunnel-tree apples in the fall?

Jerald Trende from Cologne has come up with another idea which works for him.

He makes a first application of Sevin, 2 ounces to 1 gallon of water, about the time the fruit trees are beginning to leaf out.

He comes back with the second application just as the ends of the buds are turning light purple and the third application with the same mixture apply on the entire tree soon after the June apple drop.

Spray the fourth application under the canopy of the tree on the ground all the way to the edge of the canopy or outside edge of the tree line. He claims this method has been successful for the last several years.

If you prefer the milk jug “organic” idea, here’s that recipe.

Fill a one-gallon milk jug half full with equal amounts of water and white vinegar. Add one cup of sugar and a banana peel. Cut a quarter-sized hole in the top corner of the jug.

If you have a large tree, you may want to use three jugs. With a small fruit tree, you can use two half-gallon, but cut the sugar in half.

Once the jug has quite a few insects, empty and start over again. Hang these jugs after the flowering is finished.

Can I still plant some grass seed at this time?

Yes, this is the ideal time to plant the seeds. Don’t get them too deep, otherwise they will not emerge. Make sure you water, so the seedlings will not die. If you are applying corn gluten meal, and have seeded the lawn, do not spread any CGM on the seeded area. Remember the CGM kills the germination of seeds.


The humming birds and orioles are arriving, it’s time to hang out the humming bird feeder.

Mix 3 cups of water and 1 cup of sugar, and let this mixture nearly come to a boil. Let it cool and fill a clean feeder half full.

As more humming birds and orioles arrive, add more feeders so all the birds have access to the feeders.


If you are interested in setting up blue bird houses, contact John Beal at jrbeal@swce.coop or (507) 451-2697.


I am out of the perennial hibiscus seeds, and will not have any more until next season. Thanks to all who have requested and received seeds these last couple of months.


Contact a master gardener in your area for information on upcoming plant exchanges. This can be a good way for young gardeners to get their hobby going.


Hank Wessels is a Master Gardener in Watonwan County. He welcomes questions and comments from readers. He may be reached at 601 1st St. SW, Madelia, MN 56062 or (507) 642-8479 or dwnuts@madtelco.net.

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