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….

ripe and unripe cherry tomatoes in Buffalo NY by Stofko

Reminder: you can ripen tomatoes inside

by Connie Oswald Stofko If you’re worried about damage to your tomatoes from late blight, frost or squirrels, pick your tomatoes when they’re green and bring them inside. The flavor and color is similar to that of a tomato ripened in the field, according to Cornell University. See all the details in this previous article. Late blight Late blight, which affects tomatoes and potatoes, hasn’t yet been identified in Western New York yet this year, but it has been seen…

New England asters

Asters, slimey goo & more in WNY Gardening Matters

Check out the articles in the latest edition of WNY Gardening Matters, produced by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. “The Beauty of Fall Asters: Native asters come in blues, purples, rose, pinks and white. Besides being beautiful, they are a very important late-season food source for pollinators, butterflies and insects. Ambush Bugs and Assassin Bugs: These two bugs got their names because of the way they kill their prey. Nostoc: What’s slimey, disgusting and gooey?…

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…