While unsightly, slime flux is nonlethal tree disease

Q: I have two paloverde trees in front of my house. One seems to be fine while the other has struggled for four years. I am told the tree is healthy, but every summer it leaks white, sticky foam from the trunk. This foam attracts bees and beetles. The tree has received professional borer treatments twice a year, but it’s still bad.

A: Save your money. This is not an insect problem. It is a disease problem, but a disease that will not kill the tree. Let me explain.

You mentioned bees and beetles are attracted to this foam. I am 99 percent sure, based on the picture you sent and your description, this is a disease called slime flux, sometimes called bacterial wetwood. It is a nonlethal disease to the tree. It attacks only dead or dying wood inside the core of the tree.

Nonliving wood inside the tree cannot fight off disease microorganisms because it is dead. The only microorganisms which feed on this wood are saprophytes. Similar microorganisms feed in compost piles and convert raw waste into compost.

These microorganisms do not feed on living parts of the tree because living parts of healthy trees can fight back. Bacteria involved with slime flux create a foam with a characteristic smell of fermenting yeast or brewing beer. This yeasty smell attracts flies, bees and other insects such as beetles because this smell resembles rotting or fermenting fruit.

Normally, this disease bothers us because of these insects and its general ugliness. It does not hurt the tree. It may bother us because the foam dripping down the trunk of the tree causes discoloration of the trunk and unsightliness.

Probably this infection was transferred to this tree by unsanitary pruning practices. I always emphasize sanitizing and sharpening pruning equipment. When a tree is infected with a disease, it is extremely important to sanitize the pruning equipment before pruning a new tree. There is no cure for this problem. You and the tree must live with it.

Some arborists may drill a hole into the tree trunk and insert a metal tube just below the foam and sticks out of the trunk. This foam drains inside the tube and drips to the ground without touching the trunk. Make sure any tools and equipment that touch the inside of the tree have been sanitized thoroughly.

Q: I’ve read somewhere that you should not place black plastic under rock used for desert landscaping. I have it there. We are an older couple and cannot remove it easily. Can we do anything else?

A: Using plastic under rock mulch in desert landscapes prevents air from reaching the roots. Roots need water, but they also need to breathe. Black plastic is not permanent while rock is. Sooner or later, this black plastic will begin poking through the rock mulch as it is punctured and disintegrates.

Consider punching air holes through the plastic at the base of trees and other plants to help air reach the roots. The downside of this recommendation is it may cause the black plastic to rip and disintegrates sooner, peaking its ugly head through the rock.

Don’t think you have to remove all this plastic at once. If you see some sticking up through the rocks, remove it until more appears.

A more expensive option instead of plastic is called a weed barrier. This is spun or woven material that breathes, allowing air and water movement.

I personally don’t particularly like weed barriers because they do not prevent many of our most troubling weeds like common Bermuda grass and nutgrass. Instead, I would recommend spending a little bit more money on rock mulch and applying it thicker, perhaps 3 to 4 inches deep instead of 2 inches.

Q: I see you mention a specific iron product every year, but I decided to buy it for use early next spring. We prefer to buy it online. When I searched for it, about 80 choices appeared and now I am confused.

A: Not many places stock this iron fertilizer locally. Helena Chemical and Viragrow are the only places I know locally that carry it. When buying it online, use the keywords “iron,” “fertilizer” and “EDDHA.”

I have been waiting for an excuse to explain this iron dilemma more thoroughly. Using the wrong iron product when the chemistry of the soil or water is not right, results in a waste of time and money.

The chemistry of our desert soils is responsible for most yellowing seen in plant leaves. You are right, there is a huge variety of iron products available. Which one to use? The problem is not with the product. The problem is matching the product to our soils because of their chemistry.

There are two methods for applying iron to yellow plants: a single application to the soil in early spring or three to four applications of an iron spray directed toward yellowing leaves later in the season.

A single iron fertilizer application to the soil makes green leaves continuously as the plant grows through the year. Multiple sprays of iron to the leaves is the only method that corrects leaves already yellow. Each spray, a few days to a week apart, makes the leaves darker and darker.

All iron fertilizers work if the soil pH (which is related to its alkalinity) is 7.5 or lower. If an iron product is applied to the soil and expected to work, the soil pH must be 7.5 or lower. If an iron product is mixed with water and sprayed on the leaves, the pH of the water must be 7.5 or lower.

The magic number to remember is 7.5. Most desert soils and our water supplies are closer to 8. This becomes a problem for all iron products except one.

Iron fertilizers that contain the chelate EDDHA are 100 percent effective with any amount of alkalinity. That’s right, any amount. But the chelate in the ingredients must be EDDHA.

When applying iron fertilizer to soils in early spring, just before new growth appears, use an iron fertilizer containing the chelate EDDHA. It will tell you so in the ingredients.

Later in the growing season when leaves begin yellowing, all iron fertilizers sprayed on the leaves work if the pH of the water is below 7.5. Use distilled water or water from reverse osmosis. This water has little alkalinity and a pH of 7.

It’s difficult to get iron sprays inside the leaves. Leaves have no roots, so we must improve the movement of this iron spray inside the leaf. This is done by “making the water wetter.” Adding a liquid detergent to the spray at the very end of mixing helps the movement of the iron inside the leaf.

Q: I’m not sure if the branch at the bottom of my lemon is a sucker or a real branch. I know if it comes from below the graft to remove it, but I can’t see where it comes from exactly. The leaves from this growth are huge, too. It’s about 6 to 8 inches from the soil.

A: Look for long thorns. The rootstock used for citrus in our climate is usually sour orange, which produces an extremely sour, nonedible citrus fruit. It has huge thorns, up to 2 inches long.

If this growth does not have thorns, or if they are small, it is probably lemon. The sucker is right on the edge, but I think it is coming from the scion (lemon).

If you apply compost to the tree as it is growing, it may make some huge leaves. If you use compost as a fertilizer, apply it each year after you harvest the fruit. Water it in thoroughly.

If you applied woodchips to the soil beneath the tree, apply it in a larger area under the tree as the tree gets bigger. Apply enough so it is at least 4 inches deep. Keep woodchips 6 inches from the trunk or it can rot it.

Bob Morris is a horticulture expert and professor emeritus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Visit his blog at xtremehorticulture.blogspot.com. Send questions to Extremehort@aol.com.

ad-high_impact_4
Local
New York artist Bobby Jacobs donated a sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden
Bobby Jacobs, an artist from upstate New York, has spent much of the past year creating a sculpture of two separate angel wings. He donated the sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Weather will cool slightly through the end of the week
The weather will cool slightly through the end of the week., but highs are still expected to be slightly above normal for this year. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mayor announces new public-private partnership
Mayor Carolyn Goodman announced the creation of the Mayor’s Fund for Las Vegas LIFE, a public-private partnership that will allocate money to the city’s neediest.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Fall fairytale gets cozy at Bellagio Conservatory
Bellagio Conservatory introduces its fall-themed garden titled "Falling Asleep." (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
What the house that Ted Binion died in looks like today
Casino heir Ted Binion died in this Las Vegas home in 1998. Current home owner Jane Popple spent over $600,000 to restore and modernize the home. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Rescue Mission employees terminated
Don James, a former employee for the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, talks about the day his team was terminated. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders Cupcakes at Freed's Bakery
Freed's Bakery will have Raiders-themed cupcakes available in store and for order during football season. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s fans say goodbye to Cashman Field
Las Vegas 51s fans said goodbye to Cashman Field in Las Vegas, Monday September, 3, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s owner Don Logan's last weekend at Cashman Field
Don Logan, owner of the Las Vegas 51s, gives a tour of Cashman Field before the team's final weekend using the field. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Metro Asst. Sheriff Brett Zimmerman on Aug. 8 officer-involved shooting
Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman met with media Monday to discuss the details of the 14th officer-involved shooting of the year. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program where community and business leaders joined to welcome students back with an inspirational welcome. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Star Trek fans on show’s enduring popularity
Star Trek fans at the Star Trek Convention 2018 talk about why they think the show has stayed popular across the years Thursday, August 2, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Nonprofit provides clothing for homeless
Sydney Grover of Can You Spare A Story?, talks about how she founded the non-profit organization. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Family remembers deceased mother
Family members of Adriann Gallegos remember her. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Camp Broadway teaches kids how to sing and dance
The Smith Center's seventh annual Camp Broadway musical theater program gives 150 kids ages 6-17 an opportunity to learn musical theater skills from industry professionals over a five-day period. Marcus Villagran/ Las Vegas Review-Journal @brokejournalist
Restoring classic Corvettes to perfection
Members of the National Corvette Restorers Society Convention talk about what it takes to earn the NCRS Top Flight Award for a restored Corvette at South Point in Las Vegas on Tuesday July 17, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Watch Ruthless! at Las Vegas Little Theatre
The musical Ruthless! will be playing at Las Vegas Little Theatre from July 13-29. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Cadaver art and sword swallowing at The Dark Arts Market
Curator Erin Emrie talks about her inspiration for The Dark Arts Market at Cornish Pasty Co. in Las Vegas Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
'NO H8' Campaign comes to Las Vegas
Hundreds of locals participate in the NO H8 campaign founded by Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley as a response to Proposition 8, a California ban on same-sex marriage. The campaign has since evolved to represent equal treatment for all. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
What to expect at Station Casinos' Fourth of July celebration
Station Casinos' is hosting its annual 4th of July celebration with Fireworks by Grucci. Fireworks scheduled to go off on Wednesday, July 4 around 9 p.m. at Green Valley Ranch Resort, Red Rock Resort, Fiesta Rancho and Texas Station. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Star Wars and Golden Knights mashup at downtown art shop
Star Wars and Vegas Golden Knights fans attend the Boba Fett Golden Knight Paint Class at The Bubblegum Gallery in Las Vegas, Friday, June 29, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Tourists and locals enjoy Independence Day fireworks at Caesars Palace
Hundreds of tourists and locals gaze at the Independence Day fireworks show at Caesars Palace on Saturday, June 30, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Clark County recount votes in commission’s District E primary
Clark County staff begin the recount requested by candidate Marco Hernandez in the democratic primary for the County Commission's District E seat on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Long-running local hip hop producer wants Vegas rappers to shine
Las Vegas Hip Hop producer and co-owner of Digital Insight Recording Studios Tiger Stylz reflects on 30 years of music production in the city. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
"Pawn Stars" fans visit Richard Harrison's memorial at Gold & Silver Pawn
"Pawn Stars" fans from around the world visit the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas following the passing of Richard "Old Man" Harrison on Monday, June 25, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Life
Celebrity photographer dedicates dance book to Las Vegas shooting victims
Behind the scenes with local celebrity photographer Jerry Metellus as he talks about his Dance For Vegas coffee book dedicated to the 58 victims of the October 1 shooting. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Dreamsickle Kids Foundation founder Gina Glass talks awareness
Gina Glass, 35, founded Dreamsickle Kids Foundation to raise awareness for sickle cell disease in Nevada. (Jessie Bekker/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Meadows School founding kindergarten teacher retires after 34 years at the school
Linda Verbon, founder of the The Meadows School's kindergarten program and the first faculty member hired at the school, retired in the spring after 34 years at The Meadows. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Kids become firefighters at Fire Station 98 open house
Henderson residents wore fire hats, learned about CPR and met firefighters at the Fire Station 98 open house Saturday, August 11, 2018. (Marcus Villagran Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
People from all over the world attend RollerCon 2018
RollerCon 2018 is a five-day convention focused on the roller derby community and culture at Westgate in Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Camp Broadway teaches kids how to sing and dance
The Smith Center's seventh annual Camp Broadway musical theater program gives 150 kids ages 6-17 an opportunity to learn musical theater skills from industry professionals over a five-day period. Marcus Villagran/ Las Vegas Review-Journal @brokejournalist
Las Vegas police officer on being PETA's Sexiest Vegan Next Door
Las Vegas police officer David Anthony talks vegan lifestyle and how he feels about being voted PETA's sexiest Vegan next door from his home on Monday, July 9, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
'NO H8' Campaign comes to Las Vegas
Hundreds of locals participate in the NO H8 campaign founded by Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley as a response to Proposition 8, a California ban on same-sex marriage. The campaign has since evolved to represent equal treatment for all. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Over 40,000 People Attend The 4th Of July Parade In Summerlin In Las Vegas
Over 40,000 People Attend The 4th Of July Parade In Summerlin In Las Vegas. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Star Wars and Golden Knights mashup at downtown art shop
Star Wars and Vegas Golden Knights fans attend the Boba Fett Golden Knight Paint Class at The Bubblegum Gallery in Las Vegas, Friday, June 29, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like