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Tree Diseases - Treatment & Zombies

The recommendation for many tree diseases and pests is “No Treatment Necessary!” And, here is some information about a brand new computer game that involves gardening.
by Art Drysdale
by Art Drysdale

email: art@artdrysdale.com

Art Drysdale, a life-long resident of Toronto and a horticulturist well known all across Canada, is now a resident of Parksville, British Columbia on Vancouver Island, just north of Nanaimo. He has reno-vated an old home and has a new garden there. His radio gardening vignettes are heard in south-western Ontario over radio station Easy 101 FM out of Tillsonburg at 2 PM weekdays.

Art also has his own website at http://www.artdrysdale.com


November 8, 2009


Our Live Chat with Art Drysdale is each Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. You can also sign up to be sent his update blogs as they are done, or send your garden questions to Art art@artdrysdale.com and he will respond in his weekly articles.


 
Above, Our Japanese maples (plus some hanging fuchsias) were at their best this past week. This shot taken from my north-facing office window looking toward the Strait of Georgia. Below, two shots of our Camellia sasanqua currently beginning its blooming season. Author photos.


Both Cheryl Carlson and Jacquie MacInnes from Niagara on the Lake Ontario sent questions to Donna Dawson within the last week, but though I did write to Cheryl, I have not heard back from her, particularly as to just where she lives (hardiness is once again the point).

As far as Jacquie MacInnes, here is her question: “We have two linden trees on our property and they are doing very well. However, each year the leaves are covered with raised sharp bumps which have a tiny egg inside each one. The leaves stay green and the tree is healthy. A local nursery man said he thinks they are parasites. We will try to take a leaf or two to a lab for testing but in the meantime have you any thoughts on a spray or something to pour around the base as a preventative before next spring arrives with the same problem. We tried a dormant spray but our nursery man said that would not be the answer, as we have found out already.”

Likely what she is experiencing is Linden wart gall. In checking my ‘ultimate source’ on pests and diseases, Pascal Pirone’s Diseases & Pests of Ornamental Plants, I note he does not include mention of the wart gall, but various other sources on the Web do. For example, there is a very good photo of this wart gall to be found at: www.entomology.wisc.edu/insectid/insect_info.php?206 .

As is the case now-a-days, with many ‘minor’ tree ailments (e.g. the now-so-common tar spot on Norway maples) no treatment is suggested--not at any time. So, just continue to enjoy your trees. You may well find that it will become less noticeable in a few years.

* * *

Just for something a little different, I thought I would tell you about a new computer game! But first, let me tell you that I do not play computer games at all--not even solitaire. But this past week I came across a review of this new game called Plants vs. Zombies. It was reviewed by Laura Blackwell, a staffer at PC Magazine--the on-line version. Her review makes it sound very interesting and I might even download it sometime if I am going to be awaiting/on board BC Ferries for an extended time! Here is what Laura said.

“The zombies are coming for you...by way of your lawn. In Plants vs. Zombies, you defend your suburban homestead (and your delicious brains) by planting Peashooters, Potato Mines, Fume-Shrooms, and more. A cross between Resident Evil and Alice Greenfingers, this gleefully goofy game combines horticulture with pop culture--and gives you a healthy dose of humour with your zombie-shooting action.

“Plants vs. Zombies starts you out with one little strip of turf that you man with Peashooters, which shoot peas at the zombies. As the zombies advance into ballistic vegetable matter, they fall apart amusingly. Should one get through your lines of defence, a lawnmower will mow it down...but don't over-rely on that. Even in the suburbs, the lawn mower supply is limited--and if the zombies reach the front door, you become an off-screen brain buffet.

“The planting is hardly an idyllic weekend activity. Plants need sunshine, which falls from the sky or from the Sun-flowers you plant--but not as quickly as you might like. Not only that, each seed packet has to refill with seeds before you can use it again. As the game progresses in difficulty, you'll find yourself creating strategies for harvesting sunlight and planting at just the right time. Courtesy of the Doom & Bloom Seed Company, you earn packets of new botanical weaponry: exploding Cherry Bombs, enemy-slowing Snow Peas, fortress-like Walnuts, and more.

“Over time, more types of zombies shamble forward: zombies helmeted with traffic cones or buckets, armoured with screen doors, carrying poles for vaulting. The landscape changes, too, adding more lawn. Eventually, the zombies head for the back yard pool and you're treated to the sight of zombies floating in ducky life preservers. It takes wit and a well-stocked gardening arsenal to stop them. Your well-named neighbour Crazy Dave is the proprietor of the in-game store, selling new seeds and gardening implements of doom. You buy them from the back of Crazy Dave's station wagon with the money earned in mini-games and the change zombies drop when they expire.

“Plants vs. Zombies is like nothing you've ever seen, but it incorporates all kinds of things you have seen. One zombie type wears Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video costume. Others, such as the Dolphin Rider Zombie and the Jack-in-The-Box Zombie, seem like winks at movies. And it's hard not to start singing Little Shop of Horror tunes when you first see the Chomper plants in action. The zombies and the plants just get stranger and stranger. Add to this the 20 unlockable mini games (Slot Machine and Wall-Nut Bowling are favourites) and many puzzles, and Plants vs. Zombies keeps on surprising you.

“Plants vs. Zombies goes for goofiness, not gore. The look is more like card game Give Me the Brain than splatterfest Resident Evil; expect cartoony zombie decapitations, but no blood spatters. Zombies call out their rallying cry of "Brains!" over Laura Shigihara's light-hearted score. If you're up all night with Plants vs. Zombies, it'll be because you're having too much fun to stop, not because you're too rattled to sleep.

“Note: This demo is level-locked at level 3-4 and is a few plants short of the full version. It includes 3 of the 20 mini-games. To keep playing whack-a-zombie on your lawn, you must pay Crazy Dave...er, the vendor...the full $20. Dave tells you all about it himself in a "nag scene" at the end of the demo. [For folks such as my friend Janet Peaker], to play the Mac demo instead, see our download of the Mac demo.”

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