reuse plastic container to protect garden plants

Can’t recycle those items anymore? Use them in your garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko Now that we can’t recycle as many kinds of items as we did before, can we find ways to reuse them in our gardens? We already use lots of odds and ends in our gardens, but today let’s reach a little higher. Let’s look specifically at items that you can’t recycle anymore — items that get thrown in the trash and end up in a landfill. And let’s look at things that you were throwing into…

horse in Western New York

Can horse manure keep deer away from your garden?

by Connie Oswald Stofko I don’t get deer in my yard, so I haven’t tested whether horse manure might keep deer away. But I know how desperate Western New York gardeners get when it comes to deer, so I figured I should pass along any tip that might help. I got this information from a blog post by Joyce Tomanek on Mother Earth News that was published in 1999. Tomanek lives in the Southeast, which may (or may not) make a difference….

lone star tick

Watch out for scary new tick, plus update on lily beetle

Two invasive insects — one that can make you sick and another that damages your lilies— are discussed in this month’s WNY Gardening Matters. The publication is produced by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. Lone star tick The lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum) is a scary tick that is now in New York State, according to Lyn Chimera in this article. The bite of the lone star tick can trigger a very dangerous syndrome called…

grass growing among perennial plants

How do you get grass out of your garden? Please tell us your tips!

by Connie Oswald Stofko A gardener recently asked me how he could get grass out of his garden beds. It’s so difficult, he said, because when you pull up on the grass, you may think you’ve got it all, but the root just keeps going and going. All I could do was commiserate. I have stones lining my garden beds in an attempt to keep the lawn on one side and the garden beds on the other, but it doesn’t…

How to dispose of invasive or dangerous plants

by Connie Oswald Stofko In response to a previous article on lesser celandine, an invasive plant that can take over your yard, a reader left a comment with this question: What to do with the dug ups??? Same problem I have when removing poison ivy. Where can you put it that it doesn’t cause more problems? The best way to dispose of invasive plants or dangerous plants is to carefully place them in a plastic bag and set the bag…

red lily leaf beetle by

Time to look for red lily leaf beetle

by Connie Oswald Stofko Now is the time to start checking your lilies for the red lily leaf beetle, said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. A reader gave me a heads up a few days ago that she had spotted them on her fritillaria, an earlier springtime plant that the pests also damage. The red lily leaf beetle, which we first talked about in 2015, is a fairly new invasive species in Western New…

lesser celandine in Amherst NY

Lesser celandine: Take steps now to get rid of it!

by Connie Oswald Stofko We have talked about lesser celandine for several years, yet I see more and more of it in my neighborhood. If you see this pretty little plant in your yard, get rid of it! And tell your neighbors to get rid of it, too. If you don’t get rid of when you have just a few plants, it can take over your yard. Plus, it can get into wild areas and create havoc there. Lesser celandine…

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…