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…

pest and weeds in spring

6 pests & weeds to watch out for during spring in WNY

  by Connie Oswald Stofko Now is the time that certain troublesome insects and weeds can show up in your garden, and now is the time to take action. Today we’ll talk about six insects and weeds to watch out for in spring: red lily leaf beetle, ticks, mosquitoes, lesser celandine, creeping Charlie and crabgrass. Red lily leaf beetle Calls have started coming in from gardeners who have spotted the red lily leaf beetle, so it’s time to look closely…

lilacs in Amherst NY

Lilac tips and more from Master Gardeners

Lilacs, a staple of spring in Western New York, don’t like wet feet, according to an article in this month’s edition of WNY Gardening Matters, produced by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. They will do best on hillsides or on level ground with good drainage. The article “This Month in the Garden” suggests giving lilacs a top dressing of compost worked into the soil to help retain water. Fertilize with a high-phosphorus formula in early spring; too…

plant sprout in spring by Stofko in Amherst

Early bird may get only muddy boots– don’t rush your garden

With all this cold, snowy weather, it seems like spring will never get here. Don’t worry; milder temperatures are on their way. But don’t rush into your garden at the first whiff of warm weather. “Be patient, take your time, and take time for your garden to get ready for you,” said Peggy Koppmann in “This Month in the Garden,” one of the three articles in this month’s edition of WNY Gardening Matters. “Remember, the early bird may get nothing more than…