Roots, Shoots, Fruits & Flowers: More trifoliate, Bacterial Canker & Spider Lily Transplants


Trifoliate Orange

After last week’s RSFF, John McMillian, a life-long horticulturist and owner of Almost Eden Nursery, shared his comments about trifoliate orange, “I do not recommend lemons to be grafted, as when they do get frozen back, then they can come out on own roots and not as a horse-lemon, as we always called the trifoliate. They are not difficult to root…”


Bacterial Canker

Charles, near Rosepine, complained about his plum trees losing leaves. He thought the growth on the bark may be the cause of his declining trees. AHA made a site visit and saw ooze coming from the trunks the plum trees.

The growth on Charles’ trees are called lichens and are more of a symptom of thin foliage and are harmless. These trees have a disease called “bacterial canker”, and according to the University of Wisconsin Garden Facts, “Bacterial canker (BC) is a common and sometimes lethal disease of trees in the genus Prunus including cherry, plum and peach.” This Wisconsin publication goes on to say “How do I save a plant with bacterial canker? Prune infected branches at least 12 inches below cankers or other dead tissue and dispose of branches by burning or burying them. Disinfect pruning tools after each cut by dipping them for at least 30 seconds in a 10% bleach solution or alcohol (spray disinfectants that contain at least 70% alcohol can also be used). Prune branches only during the winter (e.g., Jan. and Feb.) or during dry periods in late summer (e.g., Aug.). DO NOT prune during the cool, wet periods (e.g., spring and fall).” Even though this narrative is from the Midwest, AHA agrees with the dates and recommends those pruning dates for our parishes.

Charles’ trees will probably succumb to BC, and if he replaces those trees, he would need to look for plum trees with BC resistance. Plant labels in nurseries typically have information on disease resistance. Watering, fertilizing and weeding will enable a plum or peach tree to stay healthy and resist BC. Spray treatments are ineffective.


Spider Lily Transplants

Melissa send her landscape question via email, “I have a question. The spider lilies are popping up everywhere this time of year. Especially around old abandoned home sites. When can the bulbs be dug up to transplant to a different location? "

An extension horticulturist with Mississippi State University Extension makes this recommendation, “If you want to move this plant, divide in the spring as the foliage starts to turn yellow. This is the best way to get a good stand. Even better is to get your own bulbs this winter.” If a gardener wants to plant the bulbs of the spider lily, a retired horticulturist with the AgCenter wrote, “Plant bulbs in full sun to partial shade, like under a tree that drops its leaves during winter. Bulbs can be planted year-round, but hot summer is the preferred time. Now is the time to plant. The only problem is that garden retailers only stock these bulbs in springtime. If you want to plant, you will need to look online. As with many bulbs, newly planted Lycoris often skip a flowering cycle as they establish in the landscape. You may get few to no blooms the first year but will be generously reward with stately flowers gracing your landscape every year thereafter.”

If you want to contact Roots, Shoots, Fruits and Flowers, please send your questions and pictures to Keith Hawkins, Area Horticulture Agent (AHA), 337-463-7006 or Also, you can be on the “green thumbs” email list by emailing your request to the address above.

“This work has been supported, in part, by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Renewable Resources Extension Act Award, Accession Number 1011417.”

10/31/2019 2:03:01 PM
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