brown marmorated stink bug Buffalo area

Fewer brown marmorated stinkbugs in WNY? It seems likely!

by Connie Oswald Stofko I didn’t see many brown marmorated stinkbugs in October, which is the time when they are usually trying to get into our houses. Other Western New York gardeners have told me they have seen fewer–or even none–this fall. Could the population of brown marmorated stinkbugs be declining in Western New York? “It does seem to be that way,” said Liam Somers, state entomologist with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Brown marmorated stinkbugs in…

fats grease oil

Should you compost fats & grease? If not, where should they go?

by Connie Oswald Stofko Thanksgiving is coming up next week, with more winter celebrations to follow. You may be cooking a lot–and cleaning up a lot. What should you do with the grease on the pots and pans? Let’s look at the choices. You may be surprised. Compost It’s generally recommended not to use fats, oils and grease in your compost because they can create odor problems and attract rodents. Some people say you can add small amounts of fats,…

Climate change illustration

Two WNY communities get Climate Smart certification

The City of North Tonawanda and the Village of Lancaster recently achieved bronze certification in New York State’s Climate Smart Communities Certification program. Click on the links to see the steps that the City of North Tonawanda and the Village of Lancaster took to receive the certification. In addition, the City of Buffalo was re-certified bronze by completing additional actions to mitigate and adapt to climate change. It was first certified in 2019. There are now 105 certified Climate Smart Communities (PDF) in New York State….

autumn leaves on trees in Amherst Ny

Reminder: Keep your leaves!

by Connie Oswald Stofko Last week, I was trying to get some exercise, walking around my neighborhood, but I just had to stop. The autumn leaves were so beautiful I had to photograph them! As I was meandering, two different strangers stopped to comment on how beautiful the trees were. But now the leaves are dropping. Yay! We gardeners love autumn leaves on the trees and in our gardens! Here’s a previous article that lists many of the ways you…

pumpkin with recycling logo

Pumpkin drop-off at Botanical Gardens

You should compost your pumpkins, but if you can’t, don’t plunk them in your garbage can! They will end up in a landfill, and that’s not good. Instead, drop them off during the first annual Pumpkin Drop-Off at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, 2655 South Park Ave., Buffalo. Large bins will be located at the far entrance of the Botanical Gardens parking lot. You can drop off your pumpkins from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday,…

waterfall in Glen Park in Williamsville New York

You can vote on Environmental Bond Act: clean air, clean water, green jobs

by Connie Oswald Stofko Do you want New York State to borrow money for projects to help residents have clean air, clear water and green jobs? When you vote in the upcoming election, you’ll see that as New York State’s Proposition 1. Text of Proposition 1 This is the text you will see on your ballot: “To address and combat the impact of climate change and damage to the environment, the ‘Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond…


Drought watch ends in WNY; don’t burn leaves

Six Western New York counties have been taken off drought watch: Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming.  The drought watch was designated in August due to the below-normal precipitation during the previous three months. There have also been low stream flows and low groundwater levels. The status of these counties was changed Oct. 9 because of recent rainfall and higher levels of ground and surface water. Now all of Western New York is is in the normal range. A…

bumble bee on Joe Pye weed in Amherst New York

Some native pollinators could become extinct in NYS; you can help

by Connie Oswald Stofko More than one-third of native pollinators in a recent survey are at risk of becoming extinct in New York State. “It is a sobering finding,” said Erin White, zoologist and project coordinator with New York Natural Heritage Program (NYNHP). The recently released Empire State Native Pollinator Survey 2017-2021 confirms concerns about the health of some pollinator populations in New York State, but there are things we gardeners can do to turn things around. Some findings about…

box tree moth

Update on box tree moth & more from WNY Gardening Matters

The box tree moth (BTM) was discovered in traps in Niagara County in July 2021, so everyone in Western New York has to be on the look out, said Lyn Chimera in the article Box Tree Moth: A New Invasive to Watch For. That article is part of WNY Gardening Matters, produced by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. The BTM damages boxwood as well as euonymus and holly (Ilex species). The US Department of Agriculture (USDA)…

Japanese stiltgrass

Help remove invasive grass in West Seneca

Volunteers are needed to help WNY PRISM remove Japanese stiltgrass, a high priority, early detection invasive species, from areas in West Seneca. Japanese stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum) was recently found in parts of Western New York. It is an annual, short grass that quickly spreads to form extensive mats that harm native plants and plant communities. It can also alter soil nutrient cycling processes, facilitate erosion, inhibit tree survival and growth, and reduce habitat and forage for wildlife. The plant is simple to…