American chestnut tree

American chestnut among offerings in tree seedling sales

by Connie Oswald Stofko If you’d like to help perpetuate the native American chestnut tree, check out the tree seedling sales in Western New York. Three counties are offering the native specimens. See details on the tree seedling sales below, and get tips on how to plant your tree seedling to maximize its chances for success. American chestnut The American chestnut seedlings are being offered in sales in Erie County, Niagara County and Genesee County. The American chestnut (Castanea dentata),…

overall garden in snow by Connie Oswald Stofko

How to make your garden look great in winter

by Connie Oswald Stofko Is your garden exciting in winter? Do you enjoy gazing at all its beautiful features? Or are you one of those people who didn’t even know it’s possible to have a garden that looks great in winter? Today we’ll take a look at a Pendleton garden has been featured on Open Gardens. It’s amazing in the summer, but it sparkles in winter, too! Tom and Darcie Homme had lived in Lockport before they moved 11 years…

bee covered in pollen on swamp milkweed

Support fireflies, plus 4 more reasons to get rid of some of your lawn

by Connie Oswald Stofko Attract fireflies, support pollinators, save yourself some work and have cleaner air. Those are some of the benefits you can reap when you get rid of some of your lawn. Support pollinators Pollinators include butterflies, insects, birds and other animals. To support them, turn a section of your lawn into a garden and include native plants. Native plants are better than non-natives in providing what native pollinators need: nectar, pollen and seeds, according to the New…

living Christmas tree

Living Christmas tree: enjoy inside, then plant outside

by Connie Oswald Stofko One way to make Christmas last a little longer is by buying a living Christmas tree. You can decorate it, enjoy it inside, then plant it outside where it will grow for years to come. Living Christmas trees are available now at at Urban Roots Cooperative Garden Market, 428 Rhode Island St. Buffalo. “We have three or four families who come in every year,” said Patti Jablonski-Dopkin, general manager of Urban Roots. “You’d think kids would want…

autumn leaves on trees

Quiz time: What do you know about gardening in WNY?

by Connie Oswald Stofko How much do you know about gardening in Western New York? Here’s a fun quiz that will allow you to test your knowledge. Some questions are easy, but one or two might trip you up. You can see the answers below along with a link for more information. 1. What can you do with autumn leaves? A. Put them in your compost B. Spread them around your perennials C. Start a new garden D. All of…

birch bark

Find better alternatives to silver birch in WNY Gardening Matters

People love the beauty of silver birch trees (Betula pendula) but have realized that variety is short lived and susceptible to the birch borer. Find other native alternatives that are more interesting in this article by Lyn Chimera. It’s in the current issue of WNY Gardening Matters, produced by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. “Remember, if you want to plant a tree always check for an appropriate native first,” Chimera said. Other articles in this…

garden directly under a large tree

You can garden in shade–even under a tree!

by Connie Oswald Stofko Do you struggle with shade? Find out how these gardeners created lush shade gardens–directly under large trees! The trick, the gardeners said, is using good soil with lots of compost. Note: Don’t pile soil up against the tree trunk and don’t create mulch volcanoes. See more here. “Make sure the soil is real good,” said Linda Monaco. She and her husband Chris live in Lackawanna and shared their landscape on Open Gardens last month. “In the…

Asian longhorned beetle in pool

Look for signs of two invasive dangers to trees in WNY

Western New Yorkers should watch for signs of oak wilt and Asian longhorned beetles (ALB), two invasive dangers to trees. Neither has been found yet in Western New York, but if either is here, early detection could help stop the spread. You might also begin to notice tar spot, which is common on maples here. It’s ugly, but doesn’t damage the tree. Oak wilt Oak wilt disease is a fungal disease that affects both red and white oaks, but red…

stages of Gypsy moth

Insect damage? It might be gypsy moth caterpillar or fourlined plant bug

by Connie Oswald Stofko You may have seen damage to your plants recently and not known what was causing the damage. Here are two possibilities: gypsy moth caterpillar and fourlined plant bug. The worst is over for this year, but you should be on the lookout for them next year. Below is some general information on Gypsy moth caterpillars and fourlined plant bugs. If you have more questions about damage to plants or if you want an identification of an…