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Q: I just bought a cherry tree and found it has red shiny spots on most of its leaf stems. I sprayed with a fungicide but see no result, those spots look permanent. Are they OK? Is there some treatment I should do?

A: Scale insects are commonly found on stems and young branches of fruit trees. Mild infestations are usually not a problem.

If the tree looks otherwise healthy, I would take a “wait and see” approach. Keep an eye out for the presence of honeydew (a sticky substance exuded by scales and aphids) and ant activity.

Scales are similar to aphids in that they have a symbiotic relationship with ants. They suck the juice out of a plant and poop out sticky honeydew, which is almost pure sugar. Ants harvest the honeydew and, in return, protect the aphids/scales from predators. If you can exclude ants from an infested plant, many predatory insects will take care of the pests.

Scale is also a favorite target of parasitic wasps. If you have a good-quality magnifying glass, you may spot some holes or hollowed out scales still stuck to your tree. Parasitic wasps are tiny and harmless to humans, but they can keep scale populations under control in their own, brutal way.

If your tree is showing signs of distress, such as leaf yellowing, and has an out-of-control scale problem, application of horticultural oil should control them. Horticultural oil is very specific to scale and aphids, and shouldn’t harm beneficial insects. Always follow package directions and precautions!

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Q: We have been having trouble growing large container plants near our pool deck. The pots are very big – 26 inches tall and 28 inches wide. They are heavy glazed pottery and they have drainage holes at the bottom. Everything we’ve tried to grow has died. There were mushrooms growing in one of the pots.

A: Most of the large, heavy, glazed pottery containers have a single drainage hole at the bottom. This hole is usually 1 to 1-and-a-half inches in diameter and should be adequate for drainage purposes. The problem is that since the pot is so big and heavy, water cannot escape freely from the bottom of the container if it is sitting on a hard surface like a pool deck.

The container should be elevated (even a little) so that excess water can drain away. You can buy little feet specifically made for this purpose, or you can use 2 bricks to elevate the pot a few inches.

This can result in dirt leaking out of the bottom of the pot. If this becomes a problem, you can remove the plant and potting soil and place a piece of shade cloth or window screen in the bottom of the pot and replace the soil and plant.

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Record NHS waiting lists could double as millions of Brits get checked after delaying during pandemic

RECORD NHS waiting lists may still double as millions of Brits who delayed seeking help during the Covid crisis finally come forward.

More than 1.5 million operations were cancelled or postponed during 2020, but that is expected to rise to a whopping 2.5 million by the end of 2021.

???? Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest updates

5Record NHS waiting lists may still double as millions of Brits who delayed seeking help during the Covid crisis finally come forwardCredit: Alamy 5Kym Marsh said: 'Dad knew something wasn’t right but he felt he couldn’t go to the GP during that time so it got left'

Hospitals are being told to brace for up to 12.2 million people in need of elective procedures which include hip, knee and eye operations.

And for the first time since records began, patients are waiting more than two years for hospital treatment.

Research suggests a further 2.4 million operations will have been cancelled by the end of 2021.

The British Heart Foundation says 230,278 people in the UK are waiting for invasive heart procedures and heart operations.

Around 3 million people missed out on cancer screenings during the pandemic including Corrie star Kym Marsh’s beloved dad who’s now fighting for his life after undiagnosed prostate cancer spread to his pelvis, spine, ribs and legs.

The emotional star filmed a video for the BBC with her terminally ill dad and explained “Dad knew something wasn’t right but he felt he couldn’t go to the GP during that time [the coronavirus pandemic] so it got left.”

Mum of four Kym implored others to get their health checked and not ignore symptoms.

She said: "It’s vital people start to get their wider health checked out and looked after once again.”

Pat Price from Imperial College London and co-founder of CatchUpWithCancer added: "The delays to cancer patients are an unmitigated disaster.

"Thousands of cancer patients are likely to die unnecessarily.

5Actress Kym said: 'It’s vital people start to get their wider health checked out and looked after once again'Credit: Rex 5So far 42.96millioon Brits have had their first jab 5


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"It doesn’t have to be this way - we need serious investment and a proper national plan, now."

An NHS spokesperson said: “While some people had concerns with coming forward for care, operations and other routine care are ahead of ambitions set out in April with mental health and cancer services already back at pre-pandemic levels.

“The NHS is supporting hospitals with an extra £1 billion to restore care to usual levels and our message remains – please help us to help you by coming forward and getting the care you may need.”

NHS chief Simon Stevens squirms and refuses to answer if he thinks Matt Hancock is 'hopeless' after Cummings claimed the Health Secretary 'tried to throw Stevens under the bus'

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