Ask the gardeners

We have a beautiful peach tree started from a pit. It bore a huge crop of extra large peaches for the first time, but they are so bitter we can't eat them.

What is causing the bitterness?

Peaches started from seeds (pits) often produce fruit that is not tasty. It is called ''common'' or ''wild fruit'' and may have other disadvantages such as hard flesh, small fruit, tough skin, and sourness.

Out of five trees we started as an experiment, we got one that was sweet and tasty, although fruit was small.

Nurserymen produce peach trees of know variety by budding on to a wild seedling. This is done in August when most nurseries hire students to insert a bud of a ''tame'' tree into a small cut in the tissue of a little peach tree started from a pit.

Buds must be kept moist and students get lots of exercise while bending to reach the knee-high seedlings. You could bud or graft (done in spring) a tame variety on your tree.

In May I planted four rose bushes - Peace, Renaissance, Fragrant Cloud, and Fascination. They developed into healthy plants with beautiful leaves and blooms. Then suddenly the leaves went limp on two bushes, and they have dried up. What caused this?

Check to see if borers have gotten into the canes. Split the cane a little ways to see if grubs bored down through the center. If they are suspected, cut the affected portion off by reaching below it and cutting into live tissue. Incinerate the cut-off portions or put them in plastic bags and seal before sending to the garbage.

Something is plugging up the plants' plumbing systems and judging from your symptoms it is cane borer.

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