cluster fly

How to deal with insects that move into your house in autumn in WNY

by Steven Jakobi, Master Gardener Volunteer, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Allegany County Autumn is a time for unwanted guests in the house. These insects are like squatters, moving in for the winter and looking for a place to ride out the cold months. In my house, we have to deal with cluster flies, Asian lady beetles and western conifer seed bugs. (Western conifer seed bugs are often confused with the marmorated stink bug.) Other folks I know also have occasional…

allium in pot and near bench

Now is the time to plant bulbs for spring flowers

by Connie Oswald Stofko “Alliums are flowers that people see in the spring, and they come in expecting to buy them,” said Mark Yadon, vice president at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses in Williamsville. “It’s showy and they think, ‘I’ve got to have that.’” Although these great flowers appear in spring, you have to plant them in fall. “Right now is the time to plant them,” Yadon said. You can plant them through mid-November, if you can still work the soil…

red lily leaf beetles mating

Could cedar mulch stop red lily leaf beetle?

by Connie Oswald Stofko Is it possible that there could be an easy way to keep the red lily leaf beetle from damaging lilies? A local gardener may have stumbled across a way: cedar mulch. John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County, was contacted by the gardener. She had happened to put cedar mulch in the bed where she has lilies and discovered that the pests didn’t bother her lilies. “It might just be a coincidence”…

heuchera in Amherst

What perennials should you cut back in autumn & which add winter interest?

There are still lots of things you can do in the garden now. The Master Gardeners of Erie County have posted new articles in WNY Gardening Matters, including one on what to do in the garden in October. One of the tasks addressed was cutting back perennials. For winter interest, many gardeners like to leave rudbeckia, butterfly weed, mums, heuchera and grasses standing, said author Peggy Koppmann. But there are some perennials that just get ugly after frost and are…


What should you do about yellowjackets & hornets? Nothing

by Connie Oswald Stofko Yellowjackets and hornets have been very active lately, and if they sting, it can hurt. “But if you can avoid them for another month, nature will take care of them,” said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. Both yellowjackets and hornets will die off in the cold weather, he said. The yellowjackets make their home in the ground and hornets make their nest high in a tree. Neither will use the…

dew on blades of grass

Seeing child make sand castles out of pesticide caused landscaper to change his practices

by Connie Oswald Stofko Caution. Warning. Dangerous. Keep out of reach of children. That’s what you’ll find on the labels of pesticides and other chemicals that people routinely spray on their lawns, said Paul Tukey, and he used to spray them, too. Tukey shared his story of how he went from routinely using chemicals with warning labels to using all-organic practices in his landscaping business. Now he is chief sustainability officer for Glenstone, a contemporary art museum in Potomac, Maryland….

green peach aphids

Aphids don’t need males to breed; see how to deal with them

Aphids can cause problems in your garden because they feed on so many different plants. Not only that, aphids can breed quickly. Aphids can reproduce asexually– no males are necessary, according to an article on aphids in this month’s issue of WNY Gardening Matters, produced by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. Spring and summer aphids are all females and so are their offspring. Find out more about aphids and what you can do if they…

late blight on tomatoes

Late blight is affecting tomatoes, potatoes in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko All of Western New York is at risk for late blight, said Emily Reynolds, executive director of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Chautauqua County. Late blight was confirmed on tomato plants in Chautauqua County this weekend, she said, and the genotype is still being determined. The first report in the state came from Erie County on July 10, according to a blog post on late blight published by the New York State IPM Program. (IPM is integrated…

blacklegged ticks, adults and nymphs

Could you get sick from a tick while gardening in Western New York?

by Connie Oswald Stofko “Compared to 10 years ago, calls and questions about ticks have more than doubled,” said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. The geographic range of ticks has been increasing, he said, and ticks can transmit Lyme disease as well as other diseases. Are you at risk in your garden? Your garden probably isn’t a high-risk place, but the areas near your garden might be. If your yard has well tended beds…

info to hang on door with lawn tips from Erie County

Keep your lawn green & weed-free without pesticides

Tips on how to keep your lawn healthy without pesticides are being distributed through the Erie County Environmental Management Council, an advisory board to Erie County Department of Environment & Planning. They’ve printed it as something you can hang on your door. Get a full-size pdf of the doorhanger: Here’s the front and here’s the back. Here are the tips you will find on the doorhanger: Don’t cut the grass too short! Taller 3-inch grass outcompetes weeds, better withstands drought…