autumn leaves in Letchworth State Park by Stofko

Sept. 22 is first day of autumn; leaves beginning color change in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko The official start of autumn is tomorrow and the Chautauqua-Allegheny region is beginning to show fall color, according the most recent Fall Foliage Report produced by ILoveNY.com. Reports are issued every Wednesday afternoon, so tomorrow’s report may reflect more Western New York areas where the leaves are beginning to change color. The reports signal when leaf color is just beginning to change, at the midpoint, at near peak, at peak and past peak. Caterpillar damage If leaves on your…

egg mass on boxwood leaf

Bad news for boxwood: box tree moth has arrived in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko An invasive moth that damages and can kill boxwoods has arrived in Western New York. The box tree moth has been identified in Niagara County, said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. My sister in Cheektowaga has noticed damage to boxwoods in her area. That was probably caused by the box tree moth, too, Farfaglia said. This invasive pest “is expected to spread,” he said. If you haven’t seen it in…

caterpillar of gypsy moth

Did caterpillars eat leaves on your tree? What you can do now

Do you have trees in your yard that were defoliated during the gypsy moth caterpillar outbreak this year? Here’s what you need to know. Outlook for your tree Most healthy trees can withstand a couple years of leaf loss from caterpillar damage, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Long-term damage depends on the type of tree as well as how much defoliation took place. Hardwoods  A healthy leaf-bearing tree should have grown new leaves by now, though leaves…

box tree caterpillar

New threat to boxwoods! Look for box tree moth now in WNY

Don’t let a new invasive insect get established in Western New York. The box tree moth is an invasive pest that can significantly damage—and potentially kill—boxwood plants if left unchecked. Boxwood plants imported from Canada this spring could have been infested with the box tree moth. Box tree moths can produce several generations between June and October, so acting now is essential to prevent this pest from establishing itself in Western New York, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture…

garden beds by fence and pool in Snyder NY

Get inspired–and encouraged– by gorgeous Snyder garden with ups & downs

by Connie Oswald Stofko When you visit Dan Murak’s gardens on the Snyder-CleveHill Garden View, you may think he’s got a green thumb and succeeds with every plant, all the time. But starting in the front yard with the sick peach tree that he replaced last week, Murak is happy to tell you about the downs as well as the ups of his landscape. You can visit his landscape this weekend on the Snyder-CleveHill Garden View, one of six garden…

volcano mulch illustration muffin and donut

Reminder: no mulch volcanoes

by Connie Oswald Stofko It seems to be the start of volcano season in Western New York. Mulch volcanoes (those neat, cone-shaped piles of mulch at the base of trees) are showing up again. They may look nice to you, but they’re not good for the trees, according to garden experts. Mulch volcanoes can slowly kill trees. Check out our previous article on mulch volcanoes to find out why you shouldn’t use mulch volcanoes and how you can properly mulch…

tree roots

Do trees communicate, plus other Arbor Day news

by Connie Oswald Stofko Arbor Day is April 30, and it’s a time to think about trees. Do trees communicate? It appears that trees communicate and cooperate with one another. This fascinating article by The New York Times describes how mycorrhizas–networks of fungi in the soil–can pass carbon, water, nutrients, alarm signals and hormones from tree to tree. Use trees to save energy Trees that are situated in the proper location can shade your house in summer. In winter, trees…

colorful spring garden

How to create a beautiful spring garden in Western New York

_____ by Connie Oswald Stofko “It changes every day,” said Tom Homme of his spring garden in Pendleton. There’s never a lull in the landscape of Tom Homme and his wife Darcie because he has spent the past 11 years working to create gardens that are interesting in all four seasons. We got a peek at what makes his winter garden attractive in this previous article. You will be able to see the Hommes’ garden in person this summer on Open…

leaves with beech leaf disease

New tree disease affects beeches

Beech leaf disease is a new tree disease that has been identified in Erie County. It is listed on the “Top 10 Tree Insects & Diseases,” an article you will find in the newest edition of WNY Gardening Matters. Beech leaf disease Beech leaf disease (BLD) affects and kills both native and ornamental beech tree species. BLD was just discovered in recent years and there is a lot we still don’t know about this disease, according to the New York…

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),…