lesser celandine in yard

Kill lesser celandine before it flowers; look for it now

by Connie Oswald Stofko Don’t wait until you see the pretty yellow flowers. Look for lesser celandine and get rid of it now. If you want to use an herbicide, you must do it now before the plant flowers. Why you should get rid of lesser celandine If you’re not careful, lesser celandine can spread until you have no grass or other plants in your lawn. Even worse, it can spread into wild areas and wreak havoc there. Lesser celandine…

red lily leaf beetle by

Start to check for red lily leaf beetle in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko I received this message from Tess in Binghamton: “Red lily beetles have arrived early! Picked a dozen of them out of the flower bed today, March 20, 2020, in Binghamton NY area!!” It’s not too early to start looking for them in Western New York, said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County “They do show up early, as soon as the foliage breaks ground,” Farfaglia said. In past years, “I’ve gotten calls…

opossum on a deck

Opossums are more common than you think, but not a garden problem

by Connie Oswald Stofko I recently got this question from a reader: Hi Connie! Over here on Maynard, I just saw a possum. Is this something new for Eggertsville? Ellyn K. Demler Since I also live in this part of Amherst, this question was especially interesting to me. A few weeks ago, I saw a deer across the street from my house–the first I had seen in my neighborhood in 30 years–and now we have opossums? I called John Farfaglia,…

slender false brome

Invasive grass & more news from Master Gardeners

An invasive plant that has been identified in Genesee County and may be other parts of Western New York is slender false brome, according to an article in the latest issue of WNY Gardening Matters, published by the Master Gardeners of Erie County. Because slender false brome looks so much like other grasses, it may be undetected in other counties. See more about the plant in this article by Lisa Marie Gee. Other articles in this issue are: Find out…

deer in backyard

Don’t feed deer: It’s bad for them, bad for people & illegal!

by Connie Oswald Stofko If you feed deer in your backyard or at a park, you could be harming them instead of helping them. Bringing deer together at feeding sites increases their risk of contracting communicable diseases, such as chronic wasting disease, from other deer. That’s why the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) prohibited deer feeding anywhere in New York State back in 2002. Recently the DEC adopted a new regulation to provide a clearer definition of what…

dandelions in lawn

Dandelions aren’t all bad, plus more tips from Master Gardeners

You may know that dandelion leaves can be eaten, but there are even more uses for this plant. The milky sap of a variety of dandelion can be used to make rubber, according to an article by Lyn Chimera in the most recent issue of WNY Gardening Matters. WNY Gardening Matters is produced by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. Also in this issue: Learn about an invasive pest called the hemlock wooly adelgid, which can…

sticks in garden to keep rabbits and cats out

Tip to keep rabbits, cats out of your garden this winter

by Connie Oswald Stofko Do rabbits make nests in your garden? Do cats use your garden for a litterbox? Here is one tip to solve both problems. Make the space less appealing by breaking it up with sticks. In addition to sticks from a tree, you can recycle disposable chopsticks, Popsicle sticks, old plant tags and plastic forks and spoons. In my garden I have a metal spoon that was damaged when it fell into the garbage disposal. Don’t go…

boxelder bug

Don’t worry if you find boxelder bugs in your house; they’re harmless

Have boxelder bugs taken shelter in your home this fall? If so, don’t worry. They are native and won’t harm you, your house or plants. Boxelder bugs don’t bite or sting, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. They aren’t attracted to food the way ants are. They become inactive when the weather turns cold enough. In addition, the boxelder bug doesn’t significantly damage the trees it feeds on, according to the National Pesticide Information Center. The…

holly raguza, Bugwood.org

Good news: No lanternfly infestations found, but your help is still needed

The good news is that there hasn’t yet been a documented spotted lanternfly infestation in New York. That’s wonderful because the spotted lanternfly can damage many kinds of plants. In addition, it can secrete so much messy “honeydew” that people can’t go outside without getting honeydew on their hair and clothes. If this insect becomes established in New York, it could impact our forests, agriculture and tourism. Your help is needed to keep this invasive and destructive insect out of our area, according…

Halloween bat

Bats: spooky creatures or garden helpers?

It’s Bat Week, time to raise awareness about the important role bats play in our environment and our gardens. What you might not know about bats All of New York State’s bats eat insects. A single little brown myotis bat can consume 1,000 mosquito-sized insects in just one hour! The bat is the only mammal that can truly fly. (Flying squirrels glide, but don’t fly.) Bats are extremely long lived, compared to mammals of similar size. The oldest documented one was…