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Serious fruit insect in area; daylilies add color to perennial bed

An insect that has only in recent years appeared in the Ward County area is causing serious damage to fruit. The spotted wing Drosophila fruit fly is attracted to cherries, raspberries, strawberries and other late season fruits.

These fruit flies will lay their eggs in healthy, ripening fruit. The eggs hatch into larvae (maggots) which feed on the fruit and cause it to spoil. Unfortunately, there are reports of raspberries and other fruit being infested with the small white maggots, totally ruining them.

A very good publication is available at the Extension Office on this insect including life cycle, fruits attacked, scouting and prevention and control. It is E-1715 (revised), Spotted Wing Drosophila in North Dakota. Call the office at 857-6444 to request a copy be mailed to you, or stop in the Extension Office in the Ward County Administration Building at 225 3rd Street SE in Minot to pick one up. Online it can be found at www.ag.ndsu.edu/publications/crops/integrated-pest-management-of-spotted-wing-drosophila- in-north-dakota.

Beautiful but Tough

For gardeners looking for tough, long lived perennial flowers with a wide variety of flower colors, they need to look no further than the daylily. The daylily is one of the most widely planted, diversely blossomed perennials available today. They vary greatly in size of plants and blossoms, color and texture of flowers, and time of flowering. What they all share is the fact that each flower blossom only lasts a day before wilting. But daylilies are noted for have a large number of buds and flowers, so they will put on a show for quite a period of time. And there are literally thousands of cultivars available.

The only daylilies which may suffer winter injury in North Dakota are the “evergreen” varieties. But the “dormant” varieties have no problem wintering here. This information is usually listed by sellers of daylilies. If it isn’t, ask and avoid purchasing “evergreen” daylilies.

Daylilies will grow in an amazingly wide variety of soil types from sandy soils to some of the heavier clay soils. They appreciate organic matter in the soil and annual fertilizing with a balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10 or a “bloom booster” fertilizer such as 18-32-15. The one condition they are very intolerant of is being too wet. As an old gardener told me, the daylilies don’t like “wet feet.” Otherwise they are quite trouble-free perennials which will add color and texture to any perennial bed.

Daylilies prefer full sun. But I have them growing in semi-shade with no problem. I have seen them growing in beds that were shaded for 70% of the day and they still flourished. They are a very adaptable perennial.

Another nice thing about daylilies is that they are relatively inexpensive. Many home gardeners do their own hybridizing so there is an abundance of varieties for sale which help make the prices on some very beautiful varieties quite inexpensive.

Spend some time looking through catalogs and online and you will be amazed at the variety in them. Give them a try.

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