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Over the past 20 years as an OSU Extension agent in Douglas County, I have noticed that home orchard producers seem to have trouble trying to determine when pears and apples are ready to harvest.

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Question: I moved into an older home with established landscaping. I have one very large tree with English ivy wrapped around the base and growing up into the canopy. While it is beautiful, I have a hunch that it is not good for the tree. How do I go about removing the English ivy?

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Did you know that Oregon is home to nearly 65 species of native trees? From the coast to the Cascades, valleys to deserts, our landscape is blanketed with a beautifully rich assortment of trees.

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September and October in western Oregon is usually still very warm with daytime high temperatures often in the 80s, while much of the country experiences their first frost or freeze. With the current hot, dry weather pattern it seems this fall will be great for a fall vegetable garden.

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Question: Why are my tomatoes not ripening on the vine this summer? I have been providing adequate water and fertilizer. By mid-summer I am usually sharing my tomato bounty with friends, neighbors and our local food pantry. I have heard from other home gardeners that they are experiencing th…

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It’s pickle season! If you are looking for something to do this summer, you may want to try making your own pickles.

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When our normal winter rain pattern stopped in late March, I was pretty sure we were headed for the hottest year since the record heat of 2015. It seems like day time high temperatures in the 90s has become pretty common, with night time lows around 60 degrees.

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Question: I have never grown fennel and would like to add it to my garden. I have been reading that there are many plants that should not be planted with fennel. I don’t know much about growing this plant and am curious. What information can you share?

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Question: Recently, the Master Gardener Plant Clinic received an email from someone who has an invasive plant sprouting up in her backyard. Along with sending a photo of the plant, she asked us to identify it and how to get rid of it!

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Over the past few years we have heard about beneficial insects like honey bees and bumble bees being killed by pesticides or poor management practices. What home orchardists need to be working toward is a pest control strategy that hits the bad guys pretty hard but leaves the secondary pests…

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Question: While walking by a home recently, I noticed a very strong, nauseating smell and thought maybe it was coming from a dead animal. Much to my surprise, the source of this rancid smell was a huge purple flower! Can you identify it and give me any information about this strange plant?

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Question: I have been cooking at home so much more this past year and have been experimenting with recipes that call for fresh herbs. They are expensive to purchase in the grocery store, and I like the idea of picking my herbs fresh on an “as needed” basis. So, I would like to plant a culina…

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Question: It’s finally spring and we found the most beautiful wildflowers on our walk this morning. They look like wild orchids. Can you tell us about them and is it possible to grow them in our garden?