Sweeter Satsumas, Philodendron Buds, Elderberry Plant & Tomato Fruitworm

72219 Figure 1 Satsuma fruit  Photo LSU AgCenterjpg

Satsumas hanging on a branch.

Jenny shared an email on behalf of a friend, “[I] had a lady ask me about making sweeter production from her Satsuma tree.”

A gardener in New Orleans had a similar question for Dan Gill, retired AgCenter horticulturist. Dan shared these thoughts, “Fertilize the tree in early February using a general-purpose fertilizer or citrus tree fertilizer following label directions, but it will likely have little effect on the sugar content of the fruit. (Sugar is manufactured in the leaves.)

What you are experiencing is not uncommon on young trees. As the tree gets older has more leaves and makes more sugar, the quality of the fruit should go up. The amount of fruit produced also affects quality. If a young tree sets and tries to ripen too much fruit, that also can affect sweetness. The tree's leaves only produce so much sugar. That's why more mature trees with larger canopies and more foliage are more reliable about producing quality fruit than young trees.”

72219 Figure 2 Philodendron with flower buds Photo Debbie Mathiesonjpg
Philodendron with flower buds.
Photo: Debbie Mathieson

Debbie asked about an ornamental plant in this email, “I have these yellow banana looking growths coming from the bottom area of my philodendron plant and was wondering if you might could tell me what they are.” (figure 2)

These growths are the flower buds for the philodendron. Once these flower buds open, the flower will stand upright. Because it will make flowers, it is probably a happy plant and may produce viable seeds.

Kelley sent a text to AHA with a series of three pictures (see below) and asked for identification of this plant.

In her text message, Kelley had a hunch that the plant shown in the images above is an elderberry, and she was correct in her hunch.

According to the Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, “The ripe berries are edible but foul tasting and most often spoken of as being used in elderberry pies, jelly and for fermenting into elderberry wine. The foul taste of the berries is removed by cooking. Simmer the berries in a minimal amount of water for 15 minutes before using the fruit.”

 Fruit of Elderberry plant.

Fruit on an elderberry plant.
Photo: Kelley Eggler.

 Leaves of elderberry plant.

Leaves of an elderberry plant.
Photo: Kelley Eggler

Flowers on an elderberry plant.

Flowers on an elderberry plant.
Photo: Kelley Eggler

72219 Figure 6 tomato fruitworm photo Johnnie HartJPG

Tomato fruitworm on a leaf.
Photo: Johnnie Hart

This paragraph could have fit into last week’s discussion about tomato issues. Johnnie asked, “Can you identify these worms that are loving my tomatoes?”

The caterpillar in the image above is a tomato fruitworm. If it look similar to the corn earworm, it is because they are the same pest. Chemical control could include Sevin, Malathion, Bifenthrin or Permethrin. Organic control could include Spinosad, Dipel or Thuricide. As always, read the label of each insecticide for safe and effective use.

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 khawkins@agcenter.lsu.edu. Also, you can be on the “green thumbs” email list by emailing your request to the address above.

7/24/2019 3:56:06 PM
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