egg mass on boxwood leaf

Bad news for boxwood: box tree moth has arrived in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko An invasive moth that damages and can kill boxwoods has arrived in Western New York. The box tree moth has been identified in Niagara County, said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. My sister in Cheektowaga has noticed damage to boxwoods in her area. That was probably caused by the box tree moth, too, Farfaglia said. This invasive pest “is expected to spread,” he said. If you haven’t seen it in…

illustration of sparrow eating lettuce and kale

Help a reader: birds eating lettuce

by Connie Oswald Stofko I received this question from a reader: Just wondering if anyone else has had sparrows eating their lettuce, Swiss chard or other greens. I planted a second crop fairly recently in planters and the sparrows act as if they are at a salad bar. They aren’t eating the seeds, just the leaves, picked them to pieces! I’ve just recently covered them with old windows that I use for cold frames and am hoping this stops them. I…

squirrel closeup for featured image by Stofko

Squirrel tips:How to keep them from digging up your potted plants in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko We’re getting into the time when squirrels start to store acorns for the winter. I don’t mind when the squirrels stash their hoard in my lawn, but I do object when they dig up a container that holds perennials. Here’s a tip from Lyn Chimera of Lessons from Nature: To keep squirrels and chipmunks from digging up potted plants, cover the top of the soil with a layer of pea gravel after the container is planted….

plumbago in Williamsville NY

Add color now to your late-season garden in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko “There’s a lot of color here,” said Mark Yadon, vice president at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses, as he surveyed the tables full of flowering perennials and annuals at Mischler’s. As you look around your garden in late summer, do you still see exciting color? If not, try these tips. Plant perennials that flower now Go to garden centers such as Mischler’s now and you’ll see many perennials in bloom. Some of these weren’t blooming in late May…

Seed Share at Hamburg Library

Get free seeds at downtown library, Hamburg branch

by Connie Oswald Stofko You can get free seeds at libraries in Erie County: Central Library, 1 Lafayette Square, Buffalo, and the Hamburg Public Library, 102 Buffalo St., Hamburg. These are in addition to the WNY Seed Library at the Audubon Branch Library, which we talked about previously. The organizers at all these seed libraries hope that after you have borrowed seeds, you will save some seeds from the plants you grew and take them back to the seed library…

dried hops flowers or cones

Tonawanda gardener shares the basics of growing hops

by Connie Oswald Stofko You may be a gardener who knows a lot about plants or a connoisseur who knows a lot about craft beers, but what do you know about hops? I learned a lot when I visited the gardens of Matt and Tashia Tribo on the Ken-Ton Garden Tour in July. Hops plants are easy to maintain; you don’t have to water them at all, Matt said. You do have to trim them back at the bottom so…

caterpillar of gypsy moth

Did caterpillars eat leaves on your tree? What you can do now

Do you have trees in your yard that were defoliated during the gypsy moth caterpillar outbreak this year? Here’s what you need to know. Outlook for your tree Most healthy trees can withstand a couple years of leaf loss from caterpillar damage, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Long-term damage depends on the type of tree as well as how much defoliation took place. Hardwoods  A healthy leaf-bearing tree should have grown new leaves by now, though leaves…

lawn at Lakeside Sod

Best time to plant grass seed in WNY? August & September—no watering!

by Connie Oswald Stofko If you plant grass seed now in Western New York, you won’t have to water it, said Mike Braddell, part owner of Lakeside Sod in Clarence. He grows grass for a living: Lakeside Sod is a farm and their crop is grass. “We seed in August and we never water,” Braddell said. The only time they water is when they harvest sod; the extra moisture helps the sod curl into neat rolls. August through September is…

Spigelia marilandica or Indian pink

A cool perennial & more from WNY Gardening Matters

Master Gardener Lyn Chimera introduces us to a perennial with a pretty red and yellow flower called Spigelia marilandica or Indian pink in the newest edition of WNY Gardening Matters. While not native to Western New York, Indian pink is native to the southern United States. “This is a wonderful, unusual and pest-free plant,” Chimera wrote. “Hummingbirds love it, deer don‘t and it’s beautiful too!” It also attracts hummingbirds. “What’s not to like?” she wrote. See the whole article here….

cucurbit downy mildew on leaves in New York State

Downy mildew is affecting cucumber, melon, pumpkin, squash in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko If you’re having trouble with your cucumber, melon, pumpkin or squash this year, you’re not alone. A disease called cucurbit downy mildew (CDM) has already been identified in Erie, Niagara, Orleans, Genesee, Wyoming and Cattaraugus counties. This map shows the spread of CDM. Chautauqua County and Northern Pennsylvania expect to see the disease soon. Cornell Cooperative Extension in Chautauaqu County would like gardeners to send in samples of suspected cases of CDM. (See more below.) Unfortunately,…