forsythia in bloom

Stop weeds now, plus more on how forsythia rules our gardens

by Connie Oswald Stofko Wait until the forsythia blooms. That’s a rule of thumb for many gardening tasks in Western New York. For example, you shouldn’t prune your roses until you see forsythia blooming in your neighborhood, according to this tip from the the Western New York Rose Society. The forsythias are blooming now, or will bloom soon, in Western New York. “This is when the soil is warming up and things are popping up outside,” said David Clark, CNLP, who was honored…

lesser celandine in Amherst NY

Lesser celandine: spread the word about this horrible plant in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko Gardeners in Western New York have the opportunity to address the problem of lesser celandine. That’s because lesser celandine is right in our own backyards. Or front yards. Or the lawns and gardens of our neighbors. If you don’t know what lesser celandine is, read on. And if you are already familiar with this invasive plant, please tell others. Tip: Our weather has been warm, and lesser celandine may be coming up sooner than it has…

garden where ash trees used to be in Hamburg NY

Hamburg gardener lost 50 ash trees; see how she coped

by Connie Oswald Stofko When Carol and Rick Stumpf bought an empty lot for their home 30 years ago, ash trees were already established. A house and gardens followed and the Stumpfs enjoyed their landscape. “It was all shaded back here,” Carol said. “I had all my beds how I wanted them.” She gazed longingly around her huge backyard, remembering how it used to be before her mature ash trees–and many others across Western New York– were killed by emerald…

tiny Laricobius Nigrinus beetles that eat the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

Thousands of native beetles set off to combat insects that threaten hemlocks

1,700 tiny native beetles called Laricobius Nigrinus (or affectionately called Larry, short for Laricobius), were released at Zoar Valley Multiple Use Area in November. It’s hoped that the beetles will find and eat the hemlock woolly adelgid, an invasive insect that threatens native eastern hemlock trees. Over time, the woolly adelgid can kill the hemlocks, which are an important tree species in Zoar Valley. The hemlock is a foundational species; it’s key to the ecosystem. By protecting the hemlocks, we’re protecting…

egg clusters of spotted lanternfly on tree

What do spotted lanternflies look like now in WNY?

Spotted lanternflies (SLF), invasive pests that have been identified in Western New York, look different in different seasons. Right now you should look for egg masses. The adults lay eggs from September through November or until the first killing freeze. The egg masses start out white and change colors over a few weeks to pinkish and then to brown. The egg masses are about one inch long. Eggs can be found on any outdoor surface from October through June. Good…

spider captured a brown marmorated stinkbug in Amherst NY

More brown marmorated stink bugs this year? Relax

by Connie Oswald Stofko Last year we got the good news that the population of brown marmorated stink bugs could be declining in Western New York. But I saw more brown marmorated stink bugs this year than I did last year. Did you? Don’t worry. First of all, did you count the stink bugs this year? Or last year? Neither did I. Maybe we had 20 in our house this year and six last year. Is that a big difference?…

Boxelder bug

Pesky boxelder bugs: read more in WNY Gardening Matters

Boxelder bugs are basically nuisance bugs, according to this article by Lyn Chimera in the newest edition of  WNY Gardening Matters, produced by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. In autumn, boxelder bugs may go into your house to find a warm, dry place to spend the winter. Their droppings can stain walls, both inside and out. If you squish them, that can leave a staining, smelly mark. Find out more about boxelder bugs in this article….

squirrel at bird feeder in rain in Amherst NY

Tips for dealing with squirrels in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko Why is it so hard to keep squirrels away from your bird feeder? It’s because they’re amazing acrobats! Researchers compiled this video showing just how nimble squirrels are. It’s fascinating! There are a couple things you can try if you want to keep squirrels out of your bird feeder. BirdNotes from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology offers suggestions on the best spots to position the feeder in your yard. Special bird feeders and other equipment might…

slug in garden

Some WNY gardeners inundated with slugs

by Connie Oswald Stofko Slugs chomp on a variety of garden plants, and Western New York’s rainy weather means that some gardeners are battling with an increased population of slugs. What should you do if you have slugs? Well, keep things in perspective. You can reduce the numbers of slugs, but not get rid of them completely. To decrease the number of slugs, slug bait seems to be your best bet. There are two kinds of slug bait. The conventional…

damage on leaf by elm zigzag sawfly

New pest damaging elms in WNY is spreading rapidly; please help

The elm zigzag sawfly (Aproceros leucopoda), an exotic insect pest, has been found this summer in Allegany County and is spreading rapidly through New York State. The elm zigzag sawfly is an insect that eats only elm leaves and can cause severe defoliation (leaf loss) that threatens tree health. It was first detected in August 2022 in St. Lawrence County in the northern part of New York State. This summer it has been found in Allegany, Ontario, Madison, Ulster, Schenectady,…