trees on creek in autumn in Amherst NY

DEC awards grants for trees & more in Western New York

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has awarded grants for tree and other projects in Western New York. Urban forestry grants Urban forestry grants are part of DEC’s Urban and Community Forestry Program, which helps communities develop and implement comprehensive tree planting, management, maintenance, and education to create healthy forests while enhancing quality of life for residents. These programs promote clean air, clean water, energy savings and wildlife habitat creation. Find out more about the urban forestry…

monarch on butterfly weed

Monarchs making a comeback in WNY; see more in the POLLINATOR

by Connie Oswald Stofko The bad news is that the number of monarch butterflies has been decreasing in the past 20 years. Monarchs may be given protection under the Endangered Species Act in 2019. The good news is that the number of monarchs in Western New York appears to be on the upswing. You can find out more in the very first issue of the POLLINATOR, a new publication produced by the Pollinator Conservation Association. To subscribe to the POLLINATOR for free,…

lake effect snow fall leaves Amherst NY

Lake effect snow: What can you do? Volunteer to report it!

  by Connie Oswald Stofko As I write this, some of us can see the grass on our lawns while other folks in Western New York have had to shovel. That’s the wonder of lake effect snow. The bands of lake effect snow (or rain) can be very narrow, so one small area can get dumped on while folks nearby get nothing. And that’s why meterologists need your help. Weather reporting stations can be 15 miles apart, while a band…

Halloween bat

Bats are great for your landscape; poster will promote bat habitats

by Connie Oswald Stofko Don’t believe what you see portrayed in Halloween decorations. Bats aren’t scary– They’re amazing! To encourage people to welcome bats into their landscapes, “Habitats for Bats” will be the theme of the 5th Grade Arbor Day Poster Contest sponsored by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Department of Agriculture and Markets and Department of Education. Posters must be submitted by Dec. 21 to your local DEC regional office to allow time for judging and printing of the artwork. See…

sunchokes in Western New York

Septembers are getting warmer in most of WNY; what gardeners can do

  by Connie Oswald Stofko If you were still running your air conditioner on Friday, you won’t be surprised to hear that so far September was 6 degrees warmer than normal in Buffalo. That information comes from Dan Kelly, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Buffalo. While that data goes from Sept. 1 to the end of yesterday (Sept. 24), we are now in for a cooling period with more normal temperatures, he said. But we should probably expect this…

Mile-a-minute vine

Look out for mile-a-minute vine, called ‘kudzu of the north’

by Connie Oswald invStofko People are calling mile-a-minute vine “the kudzu of the north.” That’s scary because kudzu is known as “the vine that ate the south.” Mile-a-minute vine (Persicaria perfoliata) can grow as much as six inches per day and more than 20 feet per year. It has small, recurved barbs along its stem that allow it to grow over vegetation such as tree seedlings and smother them. It can have a negative effect on tree farms, forestry operations and the reforestation of natural areas. Mile-a-minute…

jumping worm Amynthas

New threat: jumping worms. Are they already in WNY?

  by Connie Oswald Stofko There’s a new threat to Western New York gardens: jumping worms. They’re bad for your garden, and they can really screw up the ecosystem of forests. Jumping worms (so named because they jump and thrash when handled) can change the consistency of soil, making it granular and grainy, like coffee grounds. That hinders the germination of plants, said  Andrea Locke, coordinator for Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM) in Western New York. They can deplete the soil of…

pest and weeds in spring

6 pests & weeds to watch out for during spring in WNY

  by Connie Oswald Stofko Now is the time that certain troublesome insects and weeds can show up in your garden, and now is the time to take action. Today we’ll talk about six insects and weeds to watch out for in spring: red lily leaf beetle, ticks, mosquitoes, lesser celandine, creeping Charlie and crabgrass. Red lily leaf beetle Calls have started coming in from gardeners who have spotted the red lily leaf beetle, so it’s time to look closely…

map of climate zones in Western New York

Our growing season is longer: What gardeners need to know about climate change in WNY

  by Connie Oswald Stofko Our growing season in Western New York is longer than it used to be– two weeks longer than it was in 1965, according to Stephen Vermette, professor of geography in the Department of Geography & Planning at Buffalo State College. Now the growing season starts about a week earlier in spring and lasts about a week longer in autumn. This is just one of the findings of Vermette’s research into how climate change is affecting…