Roots, Shoots, Fruits & Flowers: Purple Leaf Spots, Mole Crickets, Organic Sulfur, More Stinkhorn & Home Fruit Orchard


Tomato leaf with purple leaf spots.

Purple Leaf Spots

A local nursery sent images of tomato seedlings with purple spots and will dead spots and asked for a diagnosis.

Any plant with purple spotting is suffering from a phosphorus deficiency. These purple spots then become dead spots on the leaves. Soil testing will provide recommendations for the correct amount of phosphorus. Soil test kits are available at the LSU AgCenter. Each soil sample costs $10, and the results from a soil test arrive back in about a week. Your AgCenter agent can answer questions about your test results.


Southern mole cricket. Photo.

Mole Crickets

A homeowner asked about treatments for mole crickets. Arena 0.25 G™, the same treatment for insect pests in trees and shrubs, can also control mole crickets in lawns. The “G” stands for granular, a dry product easily applied by the same lawn spreader used to spread fertilizer. After application, Arena™ must be watered in to reach the mole crickets.


Pine straw can lower pH organically. Photo: Dan Gill, LSU AgCenter, retired.

Organic Sulfur

A gardener from Hornbeck sent this question by email, “My soil test came back low for sulfur (11.12 ppm). I am an organic gardener; how do I raise the sulfur organically?”

One of our Extension friends from South Carolina shared this comment to help with organic gardening, “Start by having soil samples analyzed to determine existing soil pH where you want to plant, says Geoff Zehnder, Ph.D., coordinator of Clemson University's Integrated Pest Management and Sustainable Agriculture Programs and director of the Clemson Student Organic Farm. If the pH is muchabove 5.0, says Zehnder, then you might consider adding an amendment to lower the pH. ‘Some organic amendments like pine needles and peat moss can gradually lower soil pH over several years, as can some organic fertilizers like cottonseed meal. The addition of sulfur can lower pH more quickly, but it can still take 1 to 2 years to see an effect.’" This advice is especially helpful for our acid-loving plants like azaleas, blueberries, camellias, and gardenias.


Egg stage of a stinkhorn mushroom. Photo: Chris Krygowski, Master Gardener.

More Stinkhorn

A Master Gardener at Fort Polk sent this picture from her yard and asked for identification.

Mr. David Lewis from the Gulf States Mycological Society (GSMS) shared his thought about this fungus, “It is probably the egg stage of some sort of stinkhorn [mushroom], notice the white rhizomorphs.”


Front cover of The Louisiana Home Orchard. Image: LSU AgCenter.

Home Fruit Orchard

A gardener in Grant Parish called AHA to ask several questions about fruits trees. AHA used this publication, The Louisiana Home Orchard, to help with those questions. It is a downloadable document from the LSU AgCenter website, or a gardener can do a Google™ search for “Louisiana Home Orchard + LSU AgCenter” to find this publication.

This publication can help with choosing varieties of various fruit tree. It can also advise on pruning and spacing for the home orchard.

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.

“Before you buy or use an insecticide product, first read the label, and strictly follow label recommendations. Mention of trade names or commercial products in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute endorsement by Louisiana State University AgCenter.”

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

3/18/2021 3:37:10 PM
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