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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Friday - November 20, 2009

From: Gilbertsville, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Problems with non-native nectarine in Gilbertsville PA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in southeastern Pennsylvania. I have a mature nectarine tree maybe 14 years old. It has a greenish grey spotting on the trunk and branches, the fruit always turns into the brown mummies and for many years has had leaf curl. I used a product called Serenade biofungicide and this year there was no curl but all fruits were mummies. Is it worth trying to save this tree? What would help it if I prefer not to spray chemicals that would be toxic to birds, critters, water supply. Thanks!

ANSWER:

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the growth, propagation and preservation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. Prunus persica var. nucipersica is native not to Persia (now Iran), as the name implies, but to Central and southern Asia, specifically China. Apparently most of the nectarines, which is really just a smooth peach, sold commercially are grown in California. They are considered hardy to USDA Hardiness Zones 5 to 8. Montgomery County, PA appears to be in Zone 6, so the temperatures should not be a factor. The peach and nectarine are very susceptible to a number of serious disease problems, including peach leaf curl, brown rot, bacterial leaf spot and canker. Since it is non-native and therefore out of our range of expertise, we suggest you contact the Penn State Cooperative Extension Office for Montgomery County to see if they have any suggestions for treatment. 

 

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