robin died from mysterious disease

Mysterious bird deaths—stop feeding birds for now

by Connie Oswald Stofko Sick and dying songbirds have been showing up from Florida to Pennsylvania with strange symptoms: crusty eyes, blindness and headshaking. Birds may be found on the ground, disoriented and unresponsive.  This has been labeled a “mortality event”– where a large number of animals die within a short period of time due to what appears to be a similar cause. No affected birds have yet been reported in Western New York, but one was found on July…

dandelions in lawn

Dandelions can produce clones & more from WNY Gardening Matters

Dandelions can produce clones, according to an article by Carol Ann Harlos in WNY Gardening Matters. These common plants can use a process called apomixis, which is asexual reproduction without fertilization. The plants produced are identical to the parent plant. Read more here. Other new articles are: Article 161: Adapting Gardening to Your Physical Needs Article 163: Gardener Assistance with Monitoring Downy Mildews Affecting Cucurbit Plants and Basil Article 164: Pollen  WNY Gardening Matters is produced by the Master Gardeners…

box tree caterpillar

New threat to boxwoods! Look for box tree moth now in WNY

Don’t let a new invasive insect get established in Western New York. The box tree moth is an invasive pest that can significantly damage—and potentially kill—boxwood plants if left unchecked. Boxwood plants imported from Canada this spring could have been infested with the box tree moth. Box tree moths can produce several generations between June and October, so acting now is essential to prevent this pest from establishing itself in Western New York, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture…

giant hogweed from NYS DEC

Reminder: Don’t touch giant hogweed or wild parsnip

by Connie Oswald Stofko Now is the time that giant hogweed plants are blooming, making it a prime time to spot this invasive plant, according the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Giant hogweed can cause severe skin and eye irritation, including painful burns and permanent scarring. Getting even a tiny amount of the sap in your eyes can cause temporary or permanent blindness.  The DEC also warns of wild parsnip, which can burn your skin. Giant hogweed…

stages of Gypsy moth

What to do about increase in gypsy moths

This spring, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) received reports of larger-than-usual gypsy moth populations and leaf damage on trees in the state. Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County found that last year as well. Gypsy moths are non-native but are naturalized, meaning they will always be around. Their populations spike in numbers roughly every 10 to 15 years, but these outbreaks are usually ended by natural causes such as disease and predators. Because of this, DEC and its…

ladybug hippodamia convergens

Got aphids? Buy lady bugs in Buffalo

by Connie Oswald Stofko “It seems like a lot of people are battling aphids this year,” said Patti Jablonski-Dopkin, general manager of Urban Roots Cooperative Garden Market. A great way to get rid of aphids is to let ladybugs gobble up the aphids. But what if ladybugs haven’t discovered the aphids on your plants yet? You can buy live ladybugs at Urban Roots, 428 Rhode Island St., Buffalo. The ladybugs aren’t in stock today (Tuesday, June 8, 2021), but Jablonski-Dopkin…

adult spotted lanternfly

Spotted lanternfly is in NYS; learn how to track this invasive pest

Gardeners and other residents are asked to look out for the spotted lanternfly (SLF), an invasive pest that poses a severe threat to our landscape trees–and to forest and agriculture as well. There’s bad news and good news. The bad news is that the SLF has been spotted in several locations in New York State. The good news is that it hasn’t spread to much of the state. Learn how to help in these online events: Monday, June 7 at 1…

earthworm compared to jumping worm

Jumping worms are serious threat for WNY–Don’t share soil!

by Connie Oswald Stofko Asian jumping worms can damage your soil, making it difficult for plants to grow in your garden. Jumping worms have been identified in Erie County and may be in other parts of Western New York, too. The bad news is that there’s not much we can do to get rid of Asian jumping worms. The good news is that we can try to prevent spreading them. Don’t share soil– your garden soil could contain jumping worms…

red lily leaf beetles and lilies

It’s time to check for red lily leaf beetle in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko by Connie Oswald Stofko Gardeners in Western New York have started to notice the red lily leaf beetle, which can devastate your lilies (true lilies, but not daylilies). I’ve written about red lily leaf beetles before; see details here. Last year we shared a couple home remedies that might keep red lily leaf beetles away. One is diatomaceous earth and the other is a homemade spray. There aren’t any controlled studies that look at how effective…

leaves with beech leaf disease

New tree disease affects beeches

Beech leaf disease is a new tree disease that has been identified in Erie County. It is listed on the “Top 10 Tree Insects & Diseases,” an article you will find in the newest edition of WNY Gardening Matters. Beech leaf disease Beech leaf disease (BLD) affects and kills both native and ornamental beech tree species. BLD was just discovered in recent years and there is a lot we still don’t know about this disease, according to the New York…