FINDING ANSWERS

BUDS OR BUGS?

Q

We have lots of cedar trees in our park that have deformed, ball-shaped pods on them. They are not berries, but have round dents on them. Are these next year's flower buds, or some type of insect nest? — via the Internet

A

What you are probably seeing are the galls of cedar-apple rust, a fungus that completes part of its life cycle on cedars and part on apples and crabapples. On cedars, the galls rest quite a bit during the year. In spring, after a rain, the galls will send out long, orange “tentacles” that are covered with spores. These spores travel to apple leaves, fruit and young twigs, causing leaf spot followed by defoliation. Generally, the disease is more severe on apples, causing prolific leaf spot and defoliation; however, there are times when there are enough galls on cedar to cause significant damage. If your cedar trees are otherwise healthy, control is not necessary. If the trees become unsightly due to the disease, you might consider replacing them with a disease-resistant cultivar, such as ‘Berg's Rust Resistant,’ ‘Skyrocket’ or ‘Venusta.’ Old literature recommends separating cedars from apples and crabapples, but this is often impractical. You should always plant disease resistant cultivars if you want your ornamental tree to be an ornamental tree.

PARK PLACE

Q

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My boss is asking for an estimate of the costs associated with maintaining our park. Do you know of any resource for supplying this information? — Teton County, Wyoming

A

There are several sources for this information, supplied primarily through national associations. Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS), American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA) and the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) are a few of the organizations that publish guidelines for estimating maintenance. I especially like the NRPA for your situation because they have six standards or modes of maintenance depending upon usage and level of care an area should receive. Each mode has descriptions of how you should address maintenance activities, including turf care, pruning, annual flower beds, weed tolerance, pest tolerance and irrigation. For commercial landscapers, ANLA has Landscape Designer and Estimator's Guide and ALCA offers How to Price Landscape and Irrigation Projects. All of the associations sell their pubwlications both online and by phone, with significant discounts offered if you are a member of their association.

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