Answer Man

Here’s how to fix a jukebox — and your sick pecan trees

A St. Louis company will repair (or sell you) jukeboxes.
A St. Louis company will repair (or sell you) jukeboxes.

Q: A few years ago, I think I remember you suggesting an area business that repairs Wurlitzers and arcade games. I didn’t need it then, so I didn’t save. Now I do. Can you help?

Harvey Hoffmann, of Waterloo

A: Hopefully, you will be twistin’ the night away again if you call Grand America Jukebox at (636) 928-1010 or (314) 413-0513.

I’ve never used the services, so I cannot vouch for the St. Louis company personally, but information provided says it has repaired thousands of machines in its 30 or so years, including soda dispensers, pinball machines and jukeboxes. The company provide in-home service in the metro-east, and, if you ever relocate, it can help you make sure the machines are moved properly. Check it out at grandamericajukebox.com.

Q: We have a pecan tree in our yard, but the last three years the meat of our pecans have had black spots. In early July, we sprayed the ground with Liquid Sevin and again two weeks later. We sprayed out to the drip line and the lower limbs. We also raked up any remaining pecans under the tree and burned them. As of now, this did not help and the problem gets worse every year.

B.L. Seiffert

A: I don’t know whether it will do the trick, but I do have one major suggestion that might help keep Mother Nature from saying “Nuts to you” next year.

From your description, you may be battling Cladosporium carigenum — more unpopularly known as Pecan Scab, says the BND’s resident gardening expert, Charles Giedeman. It is a fungal infection in which the spores overwinter on the tree and then become active in the spring, causing spots on new leaves, young stems and the nuts. It may cause the husks to crack open and drop prematurely and may open the tree up to other opportunistic pathogens.

Unfortunately, it’s laughing at what you are attacking it with, Giedeman says. Liquid Sevin is an insecticide, which is useless against fungi. What you want to do next spring is hit it with a fungicide such as thiophanate-methyl about the time the tree emerges from its winter dormancy.

“When the leaves begin showing the spots and the nuts develop shucks, there needs to be an application of a fungicide,” Giedeman told me. “There are several fungicides available, and they should be rotated from year to year so no resistance builds up.”

In fact, Brian Barth, who is co-founder of Urban Agriculture, an Atlanta-based design firm, recommends spraying the tree throughout the growing season. After the initial application, spray twice more at two-week intervals and then every three weeks the rest of the year.

Otherwise, you’re certainly being wise in raking up all leaves, twigs, husks and nuts and destroying it. I don’t know how much you can do about this now, but providing as much airflow around the tree as possible also helps keep the problem at bay.

As I said, I don’t know whether these tips will help, but if they do, I wouldn’t be adverse to you treating me to a piece of pecan pie sometime. Good luck.

As long as we’re trying to mend pecan trees and record players, how about a few tips to help you enjoy a happier and healthier 2017? See what you think of these:

▪  When children suffer a concussion, it’s often standard practice to have them avoid any physical exertion until the symptoms subside. Now researchers think that may be the wrong prescription. A study in the Dec. 20 issue of JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, finds that physical activity within seven days of the injury resulted in a reduced risk of persistent postconcussive symptoms as opposed to complete rest. Such activity, of course, has to be prudent and avoid the possibility of further head trauma.

▪  Keeping a cool head can help chemotherapy patients keep their hair. A study of 235 female breast-cancer patients taking chemotherapy found that the use of a system that cools the scalp was both safe and effective in more than half of the patients, according to a report at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium last month. Among 95 patients who wore a “cold cap” fitted to the head, 48 enjoyed hair preservation as opposed to none of the 47 in the no-cooling group. The method is popular in other countries, but has been slower to catch on here.

▪  If you think you’ll be safer and healthier because you’ve installed one of the 165,000 smartphone health apps, you might want to reconsider. In testing apps designed for patients with serious ongoing health problems, the vast majority (93 out of 121) could not even recognize life-or-death situations — failing to issue a warning even when told a person was feeling suicidal or had abnormally high blood-sugar levels, for example. In addition, much of the information was shared through insecure methods, such as texts or emails. Most of the reviewed apps were free and all came from either the Apple iTunes or Google Play app stores.

▪  People who fail to get recommended vaccines are costing this country billions needlessly, according to a study recently released by healthaffairs.org. In 2015, American adults who had skipped one or more of 10 recommended vaccines that protected against 14 pathogens cost the economy $7.1 billion in doctor’s visits, hospitalizations and lost productivity compared to $1.8 billion for those who were vaccinated. Among the shots were those for shingles, flu, pneumonia and hepatitis B.

▪  And, finally, one for me — and anyone else thinking of going on an African safari. Every so often in my African travels I would see a piece of dark blue cloth fluttering from a tree or bush. When I asked what they were for, I was told they attracted tsetse flies, which would be lured to the insecticide-laced cloth to die. It’s also why we were strongly advised not to wear blue or black clothing. Is it true? Apparently, yes. A new study found the insects were most attracted to blue fabrics, followed by black and reds.

So pack plenty of khaki and have a happy new year.

Today’s trivia

What was the first official state sport of Maryland? The answer may leave you scratching your head.

Answer to Saturday’s trivia: Although people have been using it for an estimated 3,500 years, the material we know as rubber wasn’t called such until 1770, when chemist Joseph Priestly accidentally discovered that the hardened stuff could “rub out” pencil marks, according to the QPB Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins. Hence, rubber. “Tire,” on the other hand, dates back to 15th-century England, where it meant a hoop of metal or rubber fitted around a wheel to minimize wear. In other words, those hoops were “attire” for the wheel, which was shortened to just plain tire.

Roger Schlueter: 618-239-2465, @RogerAnswer

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