Q: Our hybrid amaryllis leaves have spots on them. Are they caused by disease?
--F.C., Gardena A: If the spots are reddish, they are probably caused by a fungus. Crowding, too much shade or soggy soil are the most common contributing factors.
Q : I have access to a planting of bamboo that I want to use to construct a patio wall. Do I have to do anything to the stems before I put them up?
--S.H., Hawthorne A: Bamboo stems should be dried or cured in the shade for at least three months to prevent splitting during construction. A dressing of linseed oil and turpentine also prevents splitting and preserves the light, straw color.
Q: The leaves and blossoms on both of our 'Elberta ' peach trees came out very erratically this year. Hardly any fruit formed. What went wrong? --
T.W., Long Beach A: Last winter was just too warm for many common peach varieties such as 'Elberta,' 'J. H. Hale,' 'Red Haven' and 'Rio Oso Gem.' These varieties need several hundred hours of temperatures below 45 degrees Fahrenheit to develop normally. Without the cold cue, flowers open at different times instead of within the usual 10- to 14-day period. Plant breeders have developed peach varieties much better suited to mild winter regions such as ours. Though this may sound drastic, I suggest you remove the two trees and replant this winter with a variety better adapted to warm winter regions. Peach trees are fast to mature and bear fruit, so you will not have long to wait before they produce. The best varieties for mild areas are 'Desert Gold,' 'Early Amber,' 'Earligrande,' 'Flordosun' and 'Rubidoux.'