[The article appeared in The Morning Advocate, January 12, 2001.]


Anne B. Adams and Nancy Nash-Cummings

Fruit keeps spiders at
bay -- DEAR ANNE AND NAN: Is it possible to grow an
Osage orange tree from seed? I live in the Pittsburgh area and put some of the fruit
in my basement to discourage spiders. I am a little phobic about spiders, and this
is a great, nonchemical way to handle this problem.

My problem: My son lives 125 miles north of me. Most people in his area use wood
for heat and store wood in their basements, which are a haven for these creatures. He comes home every year and gathers as much of the fruit as he can for himself and several neighbors. Now, with 
much construction going on in our area, we may lose the trees. -- BABS CARLY,
Charleroi, Pa.

DEAR BABS: The good news is that Osage orange (also known as
hedge-apple) trees1 can be easily cultivated from seed. The bad news is that the
construction around your house may have been completed and the damage done
long before your son has trees mature enough to bear fruit. It might be better
for him to visit a local nursery in the spring and buy a couple of established
saplings. Anyway, chop the ripe fruit into pieces, and plant each piece in the fall, using the
same technique as you would to plant seed potatoes. You can also let the fruit
freeze, and, when it thaws, pick the seeds from the sticky pulp and plant in small
pots or flats in a growing mixture. Transplant to larger pots as necessary.


1 And as Bodoc trees! [Jim Bolner's note.]