We’re moving to the fall garden and you may have questions. For answers, contact Ask an Expert, an online question-and-answer tool from the Oregon State University Extension Service. OSU Extension Faculty and Master Gardeners respond to inquiries within two business days, usually less. To ask a question, just go to the OSU extension website, enter it, and indicate the county you live in. Here are some questions from other gardeners. Which one is yours?

Q: I planted the Edgeworthia (aka the paper shrub plant) this spring and it has grown well since then. However, a few weeks ago the lower leaves became speckled and eventually turned completely yellow. I removed the discolored leaves, but the problem seems to be getting worse. I checked the soil to make sure I wasn’t watering too much; I’m not.

The tiny gray spots on the back don’t scratch off so it doesn’t seem like insects to me. Is it a bacterial or fungal disease? Is there any hope of a solution? Many leaves are vaguely blotchy, if not yet yellow. – Linn County

A: That sounds like a lack of nutrients. It suffers from a lack of nitrogen. Class symptoms are that lower (older) leaves turn yellow and then white begins to appear in the leaves. The stems can also turn yellow and / or spindly. Growth will slow down as nitrogen is a macronutrient that the plant needs, especially when it is stressed.

Add some composted manure (chicken or ox) around the base and carefully work it into the top five inches of the soil if possible. Depending on the size of the plant, a small bucket full (for a small plant). A small bucket or pail should be maybe 12 inches tall.

Manure is full of nitrogen, but it can also be high in salinity, so don’t overdo the manure. It also works slowly.

Pour in the fertilizer. Make sure you have plenty of water around the plant. The recent heat has stressed many plants.

Next, add fish or algae emulsion. Follow the directions on the bottle by mixing it with the correct amount of water solution. Do not use it at full strength; it could be too much for the plant and burn the plant.

When the soil is damp and the manure begins to decompose, the liquid fish / algae emulsion will go straight to the roots. This emulsion contains the nutrients the plant needs, including the trace elements. The plant should absorb the fish emulsion quickly.

You won’t see a difference in the yellow leaves, but it should stop the yellowing. Water every other day for a few days to make sure the manure doesn’t burn the plant. The moisture helps break down the manure.

Add a layer of compost material to the surface around the plant. It doesn’t have to be crap. A good mulch is a leaf compost. Don’t use sawdust as this will eventually lock in the nitrogen. Leave a 6-inch gap from the log to the mulch. Mice like to chew on trees when there is cover for them.

The mulch will hold moisture longer and keep the roots cooler.

Here is a link with more information about this plant. – Sheryl Casteen, OSU Extension Master Gardener

Elderberries. File photo. David Lassman | [email protected]

Q: I am growing my first elderberry trees. Do I just have to cut off the tips of the ripe berries or do I have to pick the berries one by one? – Marion County

A: As described in the following article, the easiest way is to cut the entire cluster of berries from the bush back to the first set of leaves. – Lynn Marie Sullivan, OSU Extension Master Gardener

Ask an expert

This succulent plant can be “Topsy Turvy,” a variety of Echerverias. OSU expansion service

Q: I recently received this potted succulent and it wasn’t labeled or came with any growing instructions. I mainly wonder if I can grow it outside in the Beaverton area. I would appreciate further information that you can offer. – Washington County

A: This is an echeveria, but there are hundreds of varieties of it. We think it could be the Topsy Turvy variety. Echerverias are not hardy in your area in winter. They can handle low winter temperatures above 30 degrees, but we often have freezing temperatures. I suggest you plan to keep it in a container and bring it in in the fall. You can propagate baby plants by placing the small leaves on moist soil. – Kris LaMar, OSU Extension Master Gardener

Q: I read an article about bread dough that attracts snails. In practice, how would you use the dough and how would it catch the snails. – Lincoln County

A: This is the relevant news article from OSU Extension.

Much like a beer trap, you can make a very watery bread dough, put it in a container with steep sides to attract snails, and they’ll fall in and drown. One possible recipe could be 2 tablespoons of flour, ½ teaspoon of brewer’s yeast, 1 teaspoon of sugar, and 2 cups of water.

You can also place a non-aqueous bread dough mixture (as an attractant) with commercially available bait (metaldehyde, iron phosphate) in areas of your garden where you have problems with snails. – Bill Hutmacher, OSU Extension Master Gardener

Q: My husband plans to top our maple trees.

His reason is: “The trees run along the irrigation ditch. They have erosion up to halfway below them. As a result, we lost three trees to erosion alone. When they’re big and the wind is blowing, it’s like a lever on them. I will leave some limbs on each one. Without the heavy erosion from the ditch, I would leave the trees alone without a few branches. “

Everything I read contradicts this logic and it seems to me that the tree becomes weaker once it is crowned. Please advise before beheading our trees. – Marion County

A: You are right, tree pruning is not a recommended pruning technique as it creates future problems. For example, the tree will re-sprout around the clipped top, and the branch roots will be weak in those places. So in 10 or more years, larger branches can break out of the tree.

The general idea of ​​reducing weight in the canopy is to be more strategic and remove branches from the entire canopy. And if you want to keep tree height growth down, try cutting out those upper branches with a smaller diameter, e.g. B. a few inches or less.

Of course, that is easier said than done.

Topping is just a very simple way to control height gain, but it usually results in trees eventually shrinking. Do you have a pallet truck that you will be using? How did you intend to crown these trees? Of course, if you have a pallet truck, strategic pruning is a lot easier and can be done without much of a hassle. – David Shaw, forest specialist at OSU Extension