Miami County Master Gardeners HelpLine


HelpLine is open every Monday 10-2pm at 440-3945 transmitting from the first floor of the old Courthouse at 201 West Main Street, Troy. Master gardener volunteers actually answer the phone when it rings – and provide fact-based answers to email contacts, callers and passers-by!!!! Our email address is ! We check the email every Monday – so it’s available for receiving your questions!!!!


QUESTION 1: On my Redbud tree, there are patches of scale(?) or green-gray fungus that I’m concerned about. These trees are in full sun. Are these dangerous to the tree? On my Ash and Honey Locust, there is some sort of fungus – what do I do? SM in Troy


Answer – We hesitate to identify your problem as scale without seeing  picture or a sample. If you can email a picture – we might have a better chance of identifying the item. Eastern Redbuds are susceptible to canker (the most destructive disease for redbuds), leaf spots and verticillium wilt.


QUESTION 2: I bought some cabbage seed packets from W@#$%t, but I got these plants instead. What are they? I was told they were “Course seed.” LT in Troy


Answer – You brought in a sample of wild Mustard. The seed packet seeds may not have germinated as you expected, but you do have wild mustard growing where you planted. You can simply pull out the mustard plants.


QUESTION 3: I found this bug in my bed. I didn’t see any others – but I was told it was a scabie. Can you identify it and tell me how to get rid of it?


Answer – It is a bedbug. According to OSU factsheet HYG-2105-04, ( treatment after vacuuming includes: Residual insecticides (usually pyrethroids) are applied as spot treatments to cracks and crevices where bed bugs are hiding. Increased penetration of the insecticide into cracks and crevices can be achieved if accumulated dirt and debris are first removed using a vacuum cleaner. Avoid using highly repellent formulations, which cause bed bugs to scatter to many places. Dust formulations may be used to treat wall voids and attics. Repeat insecticide applications if bed bugs are present two weeks after the initial treatment since it is difficult to find all hiding places and hidden eggs may have hatched.


Do not use any insecticide on a mattress unless the product label specifically mentions such use. Note that very few insecticides are labeled for use on mattresses. If using an appropriately labeled insecticide on a mattress, take measures to minimize pesticide exposure to occupants. Apply the insecticide as a light mist to the entire mattress, opening seams, tufts, and folds to allow the chemical to penetrate into these hiding areas. Allow the treated surface to completely dry before use. Do not sleep directly on a treated mattress; be sure bed linens are in place. Do not treat mattresses of infants or ill people. Alternatives to using an insecticide on a mattress are discussed in the ‘Sanitation’ and ‘Trapping’ sections.


No insecticides are labeled for use on bedding or linens. These items should be dry cleaned or laundered in hot water and dried using the “hot” setting.


QUESTION 4: My 6 “Fat Albert” spruce trees are in a line along the back of my property, and the 2 trees on either end are having some needle fall-off over the last several weeks. I thought it might be spider mites, so I took a sheet out and shook the tree, but was only able to collect 1 tiny mite. Am I looking for the right problem? JL In Tipp City


Answer – We found a fact sheet on spider mites in spruce trees, and you may be able to compare the pictures with the symptoms you are observing:  There were five treatments listed in the fact sheet which may be a solution.


Volunteers were Phyllis Dawkins, Debbie Zary, Marty Hardman and Dave Cornelisse.




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