arborvitae bent in snow in Hamburg New York

How to deal with snow damage in your WNY garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko “What a crazy thing this was!” said David Clark, who got about 80 inches of snow at his Hamburg home during the recent snow storm. The amount of snow dropped in Western New York varied. Buffalo’s Southtowns area was hit hardest while areas in the Northtowns got a foot or two. The snowfall varied in other WNY counties as well, with some parts getting just a few inches. If your landscape felt the brunt of the…

rain

Drought watch ends in WNY; don’t burn leaves

Six Western New York counties have been taken off drought watch: Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming.  The drought watch was designated in August due to the below-normal precipitation during the previous three months. There have also been low stream flows and low groundwater levels. The status of these counties was changed Oct. 9 because of recent rainfall and higher levels of ground and surface water. Now all of Western New York is is in the normal range. A…

hand holding hail in Snyder NY

Hail damaged your plants? What you can do in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko by Connie Oswald Stofko A narrow band of weather dropped hail– some of it as large as peas– in Western New York on Friday. A localized hail storm a few weeks ago damaged plants in some gardens in Niagara County, said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. Hail can shred the leaves of your plants and bruise the stems. Will your plants survive? It depends on how badly damaged they were….

graphic for drought watch

7 WNY counties now on ‘drought watch;’ what it means to gardeners

by Connie Oswald Stofko Cattaraugus and Allegany counties were recently added to the list of counties on drought watch, joining these five counties already on the list: Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua, Orleans and Genesee. Wyoming County still has normal water conditions, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). A “watch” is the first of four levels of state drought advisories: “watch,” “warning,” “emergency” and “disaster.” See a map of current drought conditions here. Understanding drought watch A…

hail damage on hostas

Will your hostas & other plants recover from hail damage in WNY?

by Connie Oswald Stofko I was one of the gardeners who experienced hail last week– it was the size of fat M&Ms! That wasn’t the only setback weather brought to Western New York gardeners in the past few weeks. “Some of us got hit with a five-day period of frost and freeze in mid-May,” said Kathy Guest Shadrack, board member and communication liaison with the Western New York Hosta Society. “Sadly, this came after a long period of abnormally warm…

garden in snow by Stofko

Winter makes a surprise visit—What it means for your garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko Last week, I told you it was it was leaf season and gave you ideas on how to use all those autumn leaves. But before we could get the leaves raked — many leaves are still on the trees! — we got snow that broke records for Nov. 11. So what does all this snow mean for your garden? Snow provides insulation — yay! “I don’t think this is going to be a bad thing,” said…

Tips & inspiration for wild winter weather in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko and Stephen Vermette We’ve had some wild weather in the past week: lots of snow, wind, an official blizzard, and dangerously cold wind chills. But yesterday it felt like spring, with strong sun and temperatures around 60. Now some areas have flooding, and more flooding is possible. Tomorrow we might get freezing rain. Later in the week the forecast is for rain, then snow. Find out what you can do in your landscape in these changing conditions, and remember…

snow and Autumn leaves in Amherst NY

New tool helps you understand climate change in your garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko Find out how climate change is affecting your garden through a new online tool that provides county-level information on how the climate has changed since 1950 and what you can expect in the future. Called Climate Change in Your County, the tool was launched recently by the Cornell Institute for Climate Smart Solutions. It tracks average annual temperatures, high and low temperature trends, length of growing season and annual growing degree days. It also offers precipitation trends and…

snow in Amherst garden

Which was better for our gardens– this winter or last winter?

by Connie Oswald Stofko Last winter was bitterly cold, but there was a lot of snow cover to protect perennials. This winter has seen some swings in temperature, which can be bad for perennials. I thought our gardens might have liked last winter better than this winter. Not so, say my gardening experts. “Definitely this year is better, hands down,” said Teresa Buchanan, Teresa Buchanan, general manager at Lockwood’s Greenhouses, 4484 Clark St., Hamburg. Note that she’s in the South…

path to front door in Snowvember storm 2014

One year after Snowvember Storm, some WNY gardens still feeling effects

by Connie Oswald Stofko I was talking with some gardeners recently who began to commiserate about how poorly their roses did this year. Since mine did quite well, I was surprised to hear they had problems. Then I remembered where I was– South Buffalo, one of the areas hardest hit by the Snowvember Storm. That lake-effect storm hit a year ago next week, Nov. 17-21, 2014. In just a few days, they got a whole winter’s worth of snow– seven…