tree seedlings from NYS Department of Environmental Conservation

5 reasons to buy tree & shrub seedlings; sales are open now

by Connie Oswald Stofko Sales of tree and shrub seedlings are again being held in Western New York through counties and through the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Here are 5 reasons why you should consider buying tree or shrub seedlings: Tree & shrub seedling sales The sales have different ordering deadlines. The organizers suggest you order early to make sure the items you want are still in stock. The county sales generally have you pick up…

tree trunk with snow and missing a branch in Williamsville NY

Winter damage to shrubs & trees, plus more from Master Gardeners

“Helping Woody Plants Survive Heavy Snowfalls” by Carol Ann Harlos is the topic of an article in the most recent edition of WNY Gardening Matters, produced by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. You can find more tips on dealing with damaged trees and shrubs in this previous article with David Clark. For information on how to prune, see the article on page 34 of the December 2020 edition of NYS Conservationist Magazine. _____ Also in…

highbush cranberry

For autumn interest, choose attractive shrubs that help WNY’s environment

by Connie Oswald Stofko How did your landscape look this autumn? Did you have lovely autumn perennials? Trees bursting with fall-colored leaves? How about shrubs? Chances are you don’t have shrubs with autumn interest, and if you do, it’s a popular shrub that is problematic. As you make your plans for next year, consider choosing a native shrub that is interesting in autumn in Western New York. Stunning, but problematic: burning bush I’ve got to admit, burning bush (Euonymus alatus),…

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…

evergreens in pots in Williamsville NY garden

Tips for winter garden: keep pots from cracking; evergreens are a must

by Connie Oswald Stofko Now that it’s autumn, have you turned your back on your gardens, or will your landscape give you pleasure even throughout winter? Keep your autumn and winter gardens appealing with these two tips from Jay Jinge Hu, who shared his Williamsville landscape on Open Gardens for the first time this year. Keep ceramic & cement pots from breaking in winter I have always advised gardeners to bring their concrete or ceramic pots inside for the winter….

autumn leaves on trees in Amherst Ny

Reminder: Keep your leaves!

by Connie Oswald Stofko Last week, I was trying to get some exercise, walking around my neighborhood, but I just had to stop. The autumn leaves were so beautiful I had to photograph them! As I was meandering, two different strangers stopped to comment on how beautiful the trees were. But now the leaves are dropping. Yay! We gardeners love autumn leaves on the trees and in our gardens! Here’s a previous article that lists many of the ways you…

leaves with beech leaf disease

Beech leaf disease found in all of Western New York; report affected trees

Beech leaf disease (BLD), which affects all species of beech trees, has been identified in in all eight counties of Western New York. DEC is asking the public to submit reports through NYimapInvasives if they encounter a beech tree showing signs of BLD. The main symptom to look for on beech foliage is darkened striping between the veins, which is best seen when looking up through the canopy. Leaves with severe symptoms can be heavily banded and crinkled, with a thickened leathery…

red lily leaf beetles mating

Lily beetles, veggies, mulch volcanoes: update & tips in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko Here is one update and two reminders for the beginning of the growing season in Western New York. Some gardeners say they have seen fewer red lily leaf beetles in past years. Get tips on growing vegetables in gardens and in containers. Mulch volcanoes are popular, but bad for your trees. Are there fewer red lily leaf beetles in WNY? A few gardeners mentioned to me that they saw fewer red lily leaf beetles in Western…

plants in winter in Amherst NY

What you need to know about plant hardiness zones in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko When you’re buying perennials (or trees and shrubs), you want plants that will survive the winter and come back the next year. What plants will work for you depends on where you live. The 2012 USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is the standard that helps you determine which plants are most likely to thrive in your location. You can look at the map to find your zone, or you can type in your street address. The…

pruning tree in winter

Winter is good time to prune trees

Do you have a tree that needs pruning? Winter is a great time to make any necessary cuts, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). It’s easier to see the branches and assess a tree during winter when it doesn’t have its leaves. In addition, pruning when insects aren’t active helps lower the risk of a fungus or disease (such as oak wilt) entering the pruning wound. Learn more about pruning trees here: See the article…