red lily leaf beetles mating

Lily beetles, veggies, mulch volcanoes: update & tips in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko Here is one update and two reminders for the beginning of the growing season in Western New York. Some gardeners say they have seen fewer red lily leaf beetles in past years. Get tips on growing vegetables in gardens and in containers. Mulch volcanoes are popular, but bad for your trees. Are there fewer red lily leaf beetles in WNY? A few gardeners mentioned to me that they saw fewer red lily leaf beetles in Western…

earthworm compared to jumping worm

Update on jumping worms; please send reports

Two recent articles from WNY Gardening Matters give updates on jumping worms, an invasive species that leaches nutrients from soil, making it difficult for most plants to grow. Jumping worms have been found in Western New York. NY iMapInvasives is trying to track where jumping worms are and where they haven’t gotten to yet. Please look in your yard and let NY iMapInvasives know whether or not you see this invasive pest. WNY Gardening Matters The first article says that…

dandelion with seeds blowing

Act now on weed seeds, lesser celandine, gypsy (spongy) moths & roses

by Connie Oswald Stofko Some gardening tasks have a small window of opportunity. Here are four things you should do in your garden now. Stop weeds before they pop out of the ground Pre-emergent herbicides stop weeds before they even pop out of the ground– they act on seeds at the germination stage. The optimal time to use pre-emergent herbicides is early in the spring, just before the forsythias bloom or while they are in bloom. Corn gluten meal is…

sign of hemlock woolly adelgid

Join Winter Mapping Challenge for hemlock woolly adelgid

Winter is the best time to spot the invasive hemlock woolly adelgid, and you can help monitor them from Feb. 12 through March 12 in New York’s first statewide Winter Mapping Challenge. You could win a prize! The challenge is being hosted by NY iMapInvasives and the NYS Hemlock Initiative. To participate: Get outside, find some hemlock trees and check for white “fuzz balls” on the undersides of twigs– these are the egg masses. Report your findings to iMap. Even if you don’t…

bee and hose and compost represent sustainable gardening

NEW: ‘Sustainable Gardening’ course starts Saturday at Botanical Gardens

by Connie Oswald Stofko “Sustainable gardening works with nature so you don’t have to do as much work trying to control pests, diseases and soil issues,” said David Clark, CNLP. Clark, a nationally known horticulture educator, will teach the new series of horticulture classes on sustainability. Classes will be taught from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays starting this Saturday, Jan. 22 in the Administration Building at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, 2655 South Park Ave., Buffalo. These classes are…

earthworm compared to jumping worm

You might have jumping worms; they act differently in autumn

One of the identifying characteristics of the invasive Asian jumping worm is that it jumps around– but not in autumn. These worms get sluggish in autumn, so if you come across worms that don’t thrash around, don’t assume they’re earth worms, says Lyn Chimera in this article in the latest edition of WNY Gardening Matters. It’s important to be able to identify these worms because they can damage your gardens. If their eggs are in your soil and you share…

poster for video Uninvited: The Spread of Invasives Species

Dogs, drones & more: Video on dealing with invasive species in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko Yes, invasives species are causing problems for us in our everyday lives. And more invasive species will probably arrive in Western New York. But there are things we can do. That’s the upbeat message of the video Uninvited: The Spread of Invasive Species, produced by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation with West Field Production Co. Invasive species we have been dealing with in Western New York, such as the emerald ash borer that…

photo illustration of squirrels in apple tree

Help a reader: squirrels eating apples

by Connie Oswald Stofko I received this question from a reader: Hello, we have two semi-dwarf apple trees in our yard. I think an entire colony of squirrels have been eating apples on the tree. Any ideas to stop them would be appreciated. Kara StimsonOlean I haven’t experienced this problem, but maybe you have. How did you deal with this problem? Any suggestions? Please leave a comment below! Get more gardening tips See more questions & answers here. Find helpful articles…

purple loosestrife

Why are we again seeing purple loosestrife in WNY?

After not seeing purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) in Western New York for many years, you may have noticed it making a comeback. This invasive plant used to be common until certain insects were released to control it, according to an article by Lyn Chimera in the most recent edition of WNY Gardening Matters. The insects were effective and loosestrife declined. But when the number of loosestrife plants declined, the number of insects also declined. This led to the return of…

eastern cicada killer compared to Asian giant hornet

Is that a murder hornet in WNY or just a lookalike? How you can tell

by Connie Oswald Stofko Readers have contacted me because they felt sure they had seen the dangerous Asian giant hornet, also called the murder hornet, here in Western New York. I encouraged those folks to report it, and they probably did. Yet there haven’t been any verified sightings of murder hornets anywhere in New York State. Why? Because the Asian giant hornet has many lookalike species, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). See lookalikes here….