How to have a productive garden when you’ve got deer & kids

by Connie Oswald Stofko When Lindsay and Timothy Dzielski had their garden in the backyard, the deer ate everything. The groundhog and squirrels got a share, too. The garden also competed for space with all of the kids’ toys. So in March, when things suddenly closed down because of the pandemic, they tried something new. They built raised beds in a dead space along their driveway. “This is how you enjoy gardening while you enjoy wildlife,” Timothy said. “People never…

montage for early autumn

Six timely reminders for your early autumn garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko Here are some topics from previous issues that may answer a question that has come up for you recently, or may act as a timely reminder. Have you had houseplants outside for the summer? Here is information on how to get rid of bugs before you bring your plants inside. If you want a delightful springtime show of blossoms, plant bulbs now. Find suggestions here on what perennials to plant around tulips to hide the dying…

late blight on tomatoes

Protect tomatoes; late blight detected in Chautauqua County

by Connie Oswald Stofko Late blight, which affects tomatoes and potatoes, is present in Chautauqua County and is expected it to be found fairly soon in Cattaraugus County and Pennsylvania, according to the Cornell Cooperative Extension Vegetable Program. Given the current weather patterns, there is real risk that late blight has already traveled on the storm fronts to new places.  You may not be upset if you lose a few tomato plants, but this disease spreads easily and can be very…

chipmunk

How to deal with chipmunks in your garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko I’ve been hearing a lot of complaints lately from gardeners who are having problems with chipmunks. I talked with John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County, and my first question was whether we have more chipmunks in Western New York. “We have been getting occasional calls on chipmunks for many years, so I don’t think their populations have increased significantly,” he said. But they can be a problem for gardeners. “If their populations build…

Skirmish over Queen Anne’s lace leads to bigger discussions

by Connie Oswald Stofko It all started about two weeks ago when an anonymous neighbor complained to the Town of Amherst about the front lawn of Walter and Nan Simpson. The Simpsons mow their lawn, but when an interesting plant pops up, such as Queen Anne’s lace, they mow around it. The neighbor didn’t like that. When a town inspector showed up, he deemed the Queen Anne’s lace to be a noxious weed, according to the town code. Since the…

seed packet

If you get seeds in the mail from China that you didn’t order, don’t plant them

If you get seeds in the mail from China or other countries that you didn’t order, don’t open the seed packet and don’t plant the seeds. Consumers in the United States, Canada, Australia and the European Union have been getting unsolicited packets of seeds from China and other countries. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is investigating. At this point, it seems this is a “brushing scam,” where online sellers create fake orders to…

Asian longhorned beetle in pool

Look for signs of two invasive dangers to trees in WNY

Western New Yorkers should watch for signs of oak wilt and Asian longhorned beetles (ALB), two invasive dangers to trees. Neither has been found yet in Western New York, but if either is here, early detection could help stop the spread. You might also begin to notice tar spot, which is common on maples here. It’s ugly, but doesn’t damage the tree. Oak wilt Oak wilt disease is a fungal disease that affects both red and white oaks, but red…

stages of Gypsy moth

Insect damage? It might be gypsy moth caterpillar or fourlined plant bug

by Connie Oswald Stofko You may have seen damage to your plants recently and not known what was causing the damage. Here are two possibilities: gypsy moth caterpillar and fourlined plant bug. The worst is over for this year, but you should be on the lookout for them next year. Below is some general information on Gypsy moth caterpillars and fourlined plant bugs. If you have more questions about damage to plants or if you want an identification of an…

Japanese beetle

Check your plants now for Japanese beetles

“We are getting reports from some gardeners that Japanese beetles are showing up now,” said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. The Japanese beetle, which is native to Japan, is a highly destructive plant pest here. In Japan, natural predators keep the population in check. Hand picking works well in small gardens but must be repeated frequently, Farfaglia said. Neem oil is also an option for control. See more details in our previous article here. Also…

black bear courtesy Bugwood

Bears seen locally; don’t attract them to your garden

Earlier this month, a black bear was spotted in Cheektowaga, and before that, in Lancaster. “We have recently begun to see a rise in reported sightings of black bears in suburban and urban areas,” said Basil Seggos, commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).  There are steps gardeners can take to help make sure they’re not inviting bears into their gardens. Background on bears In June, black bear movement increases as the breeding season begins and yearlings…