The Benefits of Fallen Leaves

It’s too bad autumn’s fallen leaves are seen as a nuisance, something to be gotten rid of as soon as possible. In truth, they are a boon to landscapes, serving as mulches, benefiting soils, and boosting our compost piles. Not only are leaf piles fun to jump in and make for great leaf fights, by…

The Picnic Beetle

Picnic beetles are small black insects with yellowish spots on their wing covers. This nuisance insect feeds on over-ripe and decaying fruits and vegetables. Its common name comes from its annoying habit of showing up in your potato salad at outdoor events. While it can damage fruits and vegetables, picnic beetles take advantage of over-ripe…

Moving Houseplants Indoors

September is the best month for transitioning our houseplants from the outdoors to inside.  At this time of year, we don’t have the impending crunch of time when frost is imminent and our only choice is to hastily move plants indoors. By planning ahead, we have the time to pay attention to our houseplants by…

September Flower Power

September doesn’t have to be about chrysanthemums and asters alone.  There is a plethora of other, lesser-known, counterparts that can add flower power to the late season garden. Turtlehead, Chelone lyonii, has light pink to dark pink flowers that resemble, you guessed it, a turtle’s head. Serrate leaves are pointed, shiny and dark green. People…

Puffballs

They are oddly shaped, can smell funny and look like an alien life form arising from the soil.  These oddities of nature are puffballs, fungi that appear in late summer and early fall. Puffballs can range in size from 1 inch across up to 24 inches and weigh up to 10 pounds. They can be…

So Emerald Ash Borer Has Been Found In My Area—Now What?

Last week’s finding of the emerald ash borer (EAB) west of Fremont has ash tree owners wondering what to do next.  There are several options but first it’s helpful to know if your ash tree lies within a 15 mile radius. What is the importance of knowing if your ash lies within this radius, you…

Iron Chlorosis

Pin oak and river birch are trees that can suffer from iron chlorosis, a condition of yellow leaves due to a lack of sufficient iron in the plant.  Iron is necessary for good plant health and soils in this area have sufficient iron in the soil.  The glitch comes in when the soil’s pH (the…

Leaf Scorch

Brown leaves on trees and shrubs can be indicators of leaf scorch.  Leaf scorch occurs during hot weather when the rate of water uptake by roots is exceeded by the rate of water loss from leaves.    Plants respond to rapid water loss by willingly letting some leaves die back so that water intake equals the…

Poison Ivy

“Leaflets of three, leave them be.”  If you’ve tramped through a prairie, a woodland or any kind of untamed area, you’re familiar with this saying and the native plant it’s referring to.  Poison ivy, Toxicodendron radicans, is a member of the cashew family.  (Yes, that means cashews, eaten raw, would be poisonous but handling and…

Cicada Killer Wasps

The cicada killer wasp is one wasp that shouldn’t be feared by humans. Granted, some wasps are scary, particularly because we know their stings can be ferociously painful.  Then, too, the size of the cicada killer wasp is intimidating—the female is two inches long and the male is 1 ½ inches. These wasps, however, are…