woodchuck

Woodchucks are difficult to control; try a rope fence & urine

by Connie Oswald Stofko Maxine Osiewicz of Clarence watched last year as woodchucks decimated her dahlias. “You could see the woodchucks slapping the stems down and eating all the leaves,” she said. Woodchucks (also known as groundhogs) can damage trees and shrubs, too. Woodchucks gnaw or claw woody vegetation, according to a factsheet by Paul  D. Curtis and Kristi L. Sullivan that was produced by Cornell Cooperative Extension and the Wildlife Damage Management Program. Woodchucks also strip bark at the…

Eastern coyote

Coyotes: Another reason to use a covered compost bin

When you started your compost pile, you may have worried about attracting mice and rats. But here’s a new concern: coyotes. Eastern coyotes are well adapted to suburban and even some urban environments. They are becoming a more common sight to gardeners in Western New York, and you don’t want to attract them to your yard. One thing gardeners can do is to enclose compost piles so coyotes can’t get at them. That’s a tip from the New York State…

Sansevieria

Easy houseplant for beginners, plus more from Master Gardeners

If you want an easy plant to grow indoors, choose sansevieria, also known as snake plant, mother-in-law’s tongue, devil’s tongue or bowstring hemp. That’s the recommendation from Lisa Marie Gee in an article in this month’s edition of WNY Gardening Matters, produced by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. Sansevieria is a good houseplant for beginners because it will tolerate a wide range of growing conditions and some neglect. Sansevieria can do well in light ranging…

pruning oak tree in winter

Guidelines on pruning damaged trees; prune any oaks now

We’ve had high winds this winter that have damaged some trees and shrubs across Western New York. Those trees and shrubs may need pruning. Here is information to get you started. Make safety a priority The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has good information about pruning damaged trees. The first thing they talk about is safety. Any work that requires a chain saw or can’t be performed from the ground should be done by a professional tree-care…

Tips & inspiration for wild winter weather in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko and Stephen Vermette We’ve had some wild weather in the past week: lots of snow, wind, an official blizzard, and dangerously cold wind chills. But yesterday it felt like spring, with strong sun and temperatures around 60. Now some areas have flooding, and more flooding is possible. Tomorrow we might get freezing rain. Later in the week the forecast is for rain, then snow. Find out what you can do in your landscape in these changing conditions, and remember…

serviceberry flower

Why you should plant Amelanchier & more tips from Master Gardeners

Amelanchier is a native shrub that is easy to grow, gets pretty flowers, produces tasty berries and helps pollinators. As Lyn Chimera said in an article from January’s WNY Gardening Matters, what’s not to like? You can find more details here in the article on Amelanchier, also known as serviceberry, juneberry or shadbush. Also in this month’s issue are: An article discussing how some cultivars of native plants, also known as nativars, don’t support insects as well as the native plants…

holly raguza, Bugwood.org

Spotted lanternflies found in NYS; look for egg masses

by Connie Oswald Stofko Back in May, we told you about the spotted lanternfly (SLF), a new invasive insect that can damage many plants and can secrete so much messy “honeydew” that people can’t go outside without getting honeydew on their hair and clothes. In September and October, both dead and live SLF have been found in New York State. Autumn is the time that the SLF lays eggs, so look for egg masses as well as adults. Updates on SLF found…

brown marmorated stink bug in Western New York

Did you experience invasion of brown marmorated stinkbugs?

  by Connie Oswald Stofko When the weather was hot last week, you might have been one of the many Western New York gardeners who experienced what seemed to be an invasion of brown marmorated stink bugs. The bugs hung outside on window screens, trying to get into the house. And when they did get into the house, they crawled up walls and curtains, looking for a place to settle down for the winter. My husband and I killed two…

pumpkin turning orange in Amherst NY

History & uses of pumpkin, plus more gardening tips

Pumpkins have become part of our autumn decorations, but don’t forget that you can use them as food, too. In this month’s issue of WNY Gardening Matters, produced by the Master Gardeners of Erie County Cornell Cooperative Extension, the article “Let’s Celebrate Pumpkins” gives you ideas on how to use pumpkins. It also shares a history of pumpkins. In the article “This Month in the Garden,” get great suggestions and reminders for October gardening tasks. In “Fall Webworm,” find out about this…

houseplants in Amherst NY

Get rid of bugs before you bring plants indoors for winter

  by Connie Oswald Stofko Here’s a question I got from a reader: Hi Connie, I was wondering if you had any suggestions about debugging houseplants that were outside for the summer, before bringing them back inside the house. I have a few plants to bring indoors and noticed little red spiders crawling around. I’m reluctant to have them back in my house. So, are there any “natural” sprays?  Should I just “ditch” them?  Any suggestions would be appreciated. Btw,…