Danelle Cutting: Answering your questions

Published 12:03 am Friday, August 7, 2015

With Darrell Blackwelder retiring, I am definitely having to work harder at getting everyone’s questions answered. One thing I have heard from our clients is not to retire his Question & Answers column, and as long as I am here, I will try to continue that piece of his legacy.

Darrell and I often discussed the questions we received during the week so that he or I could use them in our weekly columns. Since his retirement, I am already missing our conversations and information we shared. So, here is my first attempt at the Q&A article since his retirement. Wish me luck.

Question: Can I prune my blackberry canes now?

Answer: If you have a thornless floricane fruiting variety, which most of us have, you can prune the canes that bore fruit this year. Most of those canes are beginning to die, so you can go ahead and remove them to save yourself some time later when you begin pruning them around February. It is best to remove the canes off the premises since they can harbor disease or pest problems. It is also wise to make sure that you do not have any wild blackberries nearby, as they, too, can cause disease and pest problems. Most of those canes are dying out, but you may want to plan a strategy of control for next year.

Question: Is the blueberry guy still open? I would like to get some blueberries, but I don’t want to make the trip if they are closed.

Answer: After further inquiry, I concluded that the client wanted Pine Top Blueberry Farm on Majolica Road. The interesting news is that this is the last week to pick blueberries at Pine Top Farm. The farm will be open Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.; this will be the last day for the 2015 season. There are a few other blueberry farms around that may have a few berries left, but most have finished for the season, so be sure to call before visiting or you may find that you wasted your time.

Question: There is a red pond near my house. What is it, and is it safe?

Answer: After speaking with some of our pond weed specialists, the culprit sounds like the plant Azolla or Carolina Mosquito Fern. They can be dark green to dark red. They can grow and create mats that float on the water, which would make a pond look like it is red. They can be spread by wildlife and are usually accompanied by the pond weed called Duckweed, which can be very invasive. This is nothing like the “red tide,” which can be dangerous when entering the ocean. For more information on Azolla, check out this link: http://www.clemson.edu/extension/horticulture/nursery/remediation_technology/constructed_wetlands/plant_material/carolina_mosquito_fern.html

If you are having issues with your pond, would like to find local farms to pick berries, or need information on growing your own fruits or vegetables, call your local agent, Danelle Cutting, at 704-216-8970.