houseplants in Amherst NY

Get rid of bugs before you bring plants indoors for winter

  by Connie Oswald Stofko Here’s a question I got from a reader: Hi Connie, I was wondering if you had any suggestions about debugging houseplants that were outside for the summer, before bringing them back inside the house. I have a few plants to bring indoors and noticed little red spiders crawling around. I’m reluctant to have them back in my house. So, are there any “natural” sprays?  Should I just “ditch” them?  Any suggestions would be appreciated. Btw,…

large fungus in lawn in Amherst

Why are there mushrooms in my lawn & what should I do about them?

by Connie Oswald Stofko Here’s an email I got recently from a reader: Hi Connie, Would you be so kind as to post this question for me?  I thought we were lacking rain so why do I have these HUGE mushrooms growing in my front lawn that gets lots of sun?   This is only my 2nd summer in WNY and I am confused!   Thanks a bunch o’ coreopsis, Pam Anderson Lewiston Sometimes I ask readers to share tips…

oak leaf with wilt

Got dead oaks? Could be oak wilt; please report it

Oak wilt, a serious disease that affects oak trees, has been detected for a second time in Ontario County, southeast of Rochester, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). If you know of an oak tree that died over a short period of time, especially if it occurred between July and August, please report it to the Forest Health Information Line toll-free at 1-866-640-0652. Symptoms of oak wilt infection are often very noticeable in red oak…

late blight on tomatoes

Late blight found in WNY; use fungicide before symptoms appear on tomatoes

by Connie Oswald Stofko Late blight is a devastating disease for tomatoes and potatoes, and the disease was confirmed yesterday in Chautauqua County. It will likely show up in the rest of Western New York soon, said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. Late blight is able to spread quickly, “especially if we get more rainy days like today,” he said. Late blight probably showed up first in Chautauqua County because the Southern Tier has…

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…

'Fireworks' goldenrod

Why you should plant goldenrod, plus more tips from Master Gardeners

by Connie Oswald Stofko “Contrary to popular belief, goldenrod does not cause hay fever!” said Lyn Chimera, the author of “Goldenrod Gets a Bad Rap,” one of three articles in this month’s edition of WNY Gardening Matters, produced by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Erie County. Although many gardeners think of goldenrod as a weed, it’s one of Chimera’s favorite garden plants.  It’s beautiful in the garden, it’s great as a cut flower and it provides food…

Deer eating your garden? See 20 plants deer hate

  by Connie Oswald Stofko If you get discouraged when deer chomp away at your garden, know that growers and garden centers have the same problems. “Deer are a battle for us,” said Mark Yadon, vice president at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses, 118 South Forest Rd., Williamsville. In back of Mischler’s, there are fields filled with deer, eyeing the tasty plants set outside for sale. “I swear by the repellents,” Yadon said. “If I didn’t have repellents, we wouldn’t be in business.”…

giant hogweed from NYS DEC with man in protective clothing

If you see giant hogweed, don’t touch this dangerous plant!

by Connie Oswald Stofko The good news is that Western New York has fewer giant hogweed plants than it once did, but there are still occasional sightings of this dangerous plant in our area, said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. Its sap, in combination with moisture and sunlight, can cause severe skin and eye irritation, painful blistering, permanent scarring and blindness. This is a seriously dangerous plant. I saw giant hogweed in Niagara County several…

tomato late blight

Late & early blights: dealing with these diseases of tomatoes, potatoes

by Steven Jakobi, Allegany County Master Gardener Volunteer Gardeners love growing tomatoes, and losing them to disease can be disappointing. There are two blights to watch out for: late blight and early blight. These can affect potatoes as well. Causes of late blight and early blight There are two very different blight diseases that affect tomatoes and potatoes (and some of their relatives in the plant family Solanaceae). Late blight, caused by the fungus-like water mold, Phytophthora infestans, is a…

Japanese beetle in Buffalo NY area

Now is time to check for Japanese beetles in WNY gardens

by Connie Oswald Stofko Adult Japanese beetles are out and active, so now is the time to check to see if you have them in your garden, said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. He has spotted them in his own garden. Japanese beetles occurrences can be very local, so you may not have them in your own garden. If you have them, you’ll know. It’s easy to see the beetles and to see the damage…