Mile-a-minute vine

Look out for mile-a-minute vine, called ‘kudzu of the north’

by Connie Oswald invStofko People are calling mile-a-minute vine “the kudzu of the north.” That’s scary because kudzu is known as “the vine that ate the south.” Mile-a-minute vine (Persicaria perfoliata) can grow as much as six inches per day and more than 20 feet per year. It has small, recurved barbs along its stem that allow it to grow over vegetation such as tree seedlings and smother them. It can have a negative effect on tree farms, forestry operations and the reforestation of natural areas. Mile-a-minute…

Why you should plant goldenrod, plus more tips from Master Gardeners

by Connie Oswald Stofko “Contrary to popular belief, goldenrod does not cause hay fever!” said Lyn Chimera, the author of “Goldenrod Gets a Bad Rap,” one of three articles in this month’s edition of WNY Gardening Matters, produced by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Erie County. Although many gardeners think of goldenrod as a weed, it’s one of Chimera’s favorite garden plants.  It’s beautiful in the garden, it’s great as a cut flower and it provides food…

Asian Longhorned Beetle

Your help can protect our trees against Asian longhorned beetle

Now is the time of year to look for the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB), an invasive beetle that could cause serious damage to New York State’s street trees and forests. Most infestations of forest pests are found by members of the public, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), so your help can make a difference. Good news: The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets (DAM) has succeeded in eradicating the invasive beetle from Staten Island, Manhattan, Islip…

Deer eating your garden? See 20 plants deer hate

  by Connie Oswald Stofko If you get discouraged when deer chomp away at your garden, know that growers and garden centers have the same problems. “Deer are a battle for us,” said Mark Yadon, vice president at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses, 118 South Forest Rd., Williamsville. In back of Mischler’s, there are fields filled with deer, eyeing the tasty plants set outside for sale. “I swear by the repellents,” Yadon said. “If I didn’t have repellents, we wouldn’t be in business.”…

giant hogweed from NYS DEC with man in protective clothing

If you see giant hogweed, don’t touch this dangerous plant!

by Connie Oswald Stofko The good news is that Western New York has fewer giant hogweed plants than it once did, but there are still occasional sightings of this dangerous plant in our area, said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. Its sap, in combination with moisture and sunlight, can cause severe skin and eye irritation, painful blistering, permanent scarring and blindness. This is a seriously dangerous plant. I saw giant hogweed in Niagara County several…

tomato late blight

Late & early blights: dealing with these diseases of tomatoes, potatoes

by Steven Jakobi, Allegany County Master Gardener Volunteer Gardeners love growing tomatoes, and losing them to disease can be disappointing. There are two blights to watch out for: late blight and early blight. These can affect potatoes as well. Causes of late blight and early blight There are two very different blight diseases that affect tomatoes and potatoes (and some of their relatives in the plant family Solanaceae). Late blight, caused by the fungus-like water mold, Phytophthora infestans, is a…

Japanese beetle in Buffalo NY area

Now is time to check for Japanese beetles in WNY gardens

by Connie Oswald Stofko Adult Japanese beetles are out and active, so now is the time to check to see if you have them in your garden, said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. He has spotted them in his own garden. Japanese beetles occurrences can be very local, so you may not have them in your own garden. If you have them, you’ll know. It’s easy to see the beetles and to see the damage…

jumping worm Amynthas

New threat: jumping worms. Are they already in WNY?

  by Connie Oswald Stofko There’s a new threat to Western New York gardens: jumping worms. They’re bad for your garden, and they can really screw up the ecosystem of forests. Jumping worms (so named because they jump and thrash when handled) can change the consistency of soil, making it granular and grainy, like coffee grounds. That hinders the germination of plants, said  Andrea Locke, coordinator for Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM) in Western New York. They can deplete the soil of…

lilacs in Amherst NY

Don’t wait to prune early-blooming shrubs

The time to prune shrubs that bloom before the middle of June is right after they flower, according to an article in the newest edition of WNY Gardening Matters, published by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. If you wait too long and prune them after they have set next year’s buds, you will lose the flower production next year. Early-blooming shrubs that you shouldn’t wait to prune include lilac, deutzia, kerria, Philadelphus, forsythia, viburnum, St. John’s…

adult spotted lanternfly

Spotted lanternfly (SLF) can damage plants & keep you inside; please report sightings

  Please be on the lookout for an invasive insect called the spotted lanternfly (SLF). Not only can it damage many kinds of plants, it can secrete so much messy “honeydew” that people can’t go outside without getting honeydew on their hair and clothes, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The SLF was first found in Pennsylvania in 2014. A single, dead SLF adult was found in New York this past autumn. The SLF  is an invasive pest from…