healthy impatiens by Stofko

Autumn updates: 3 plant diseases and a pest

by Connie Oswald Stofko Here are updates on three diseases and one pest: downy mildew on impatiens, tar spot on maple leaves, late blight on tomatoes and potatoes, and the brown marmorated stink bug. Maybe you’ve been dealing with these issues for years, or you might be noticing one of these for the first time. John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County, gives us updates. Impatiens There’s good news and bad news about impatiens (Impatiens walleriana)….

goat's beard

Try goat’s beard, a bold native plant, plus other tips from Master Gardeners

If you want a large, dramatic plant with showy flowers that also attracts lots of pollinators, go for goat’s beard. That’s the suggestion from Lyn Chimera in September’s issue of WNY Gardening Matters, published by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. Goat’s beard (Aruncus dioicus), is hardy in zones 6-8, but needs moist shade in zones 7 and 8. It can get seven feet tall and four feet wide, so make sure you have enough room….

mulch volcano around tree

Danger: mulch volcanoes kill trees!

by Connie Oswald Stofko Even if you’ve never heard of mulch volcanoes, you’ve seen them. They’re those neat, cone-shaped piles of mulch at the base of trees. They’re kind of pretty. But like a real volcano, a mulch volcano is dangerous — it can slowly kill your tree. Nobody seems to know how this trend started. The trend continues, I guess, because people copy their neighbors. And then the mulch volcanoes seem to be everywhere. If everybody is doing it,…

woodlands

Woodland owners sought to volunteer with Cornell program

People who own woodland are sought to volunteer with Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Master Forest Owner program. Volunteers meet with owners to listen to their woodland goals, concerns and questions, then offer sources of assistance and encourage them to work with professionals. Get more information in an article here. That article is part of the latest issue of WNY Gardening Matters, produced by the Master Gardeners of Erie County. In this issue, you’l also find out how to tell the difference…

oak leaves showing symptoms of oak wilt

Watch out for oak wilt in July, August

The good news is that oak wilt, a serious disease for oak trees, hasn’t been spotted in Western New York yet. The bad news is that it has been identified in Ontario County, southeast of Rochester, as well as in other parts of New York State. See a map here. The good news is that if oak wilt is found, steps can be taken to keep it from spreading. July and August is the time to spot oak wilt disease,…

bies koreana 'Silver-Show'

Dwarf shrubs are highlights of Great Plant Sale at Botanical Gardens

by Connie Oswald Stofko Three interesting dwarf shrubs are among the new offerings at the Great Plant Sale to be held this week in the Administration Building at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, 2655 South Park Ave., Buffalo. Also new this year is a checkout process that should speed things up. “No more tallying plants in line,” said Kristin Pochopin, director of Horticulture. “Everything will be bar coded and scanned!” And Buffalo-NiagaraGardening.com will be a sponsor of the…

looking into 'secret garden' in Amherst NY

Shade, color, water and sound create sanctuary on Amherst Garden Walk

by Connie Oswald Stofko “This is my sanctuary,” said Kathleen Pratt of Amherst. “The waterfall, the fish, the birds — it all brings me such peace.” I visited the home she shares with her husband John during last year’s Town of Amherst Garden Walk. This year, the Town of Amherst Garden Walk will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 6. You can see the dates for all of the garden walks here. Even though her yard…

petunias, ranunculus and other cool-weather plants

Plant some things now; others have to wait until after last frost—or longer

by Connie Oswald Stofko Here is a question that I received from a reader: Hello, I saw that the last frost for my area (in Hamburg) is possible as late as May 22; should I really wait so long to plant anything?  Mariely Ann Ortiz Actually, there are lots of things you can plant outside right now! But some things have to wait until after the last frost — or even longer. And that date you have of May 22…

Seven-sons tree in Western New York

Choosing trees for your landscape

by Connie Oswald Stofko When we think of plants for our landscape, we often forget about trees. With Arbor Day coming up on Friday, April 26, we turn our attention to these huge plants that we sometimes don’t notice. How to choose a tree People need to know what they want out of a tree before they choose a tree for their landscape, said Tom Draves, president of Draves Arboretum, 1821 Sharrick Road, Darien. Draves said some of the things…

pruning oak tree in winter

Guidelines on pruning damaged trees; prune any oaks now

We’ve had high winds this winter that have damaged some trees and shrubs across Western New York. Those trees and shrubs may need pruning. Here is information to get you started. Make safety a priority The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has good information about pruning damaged trees. The first thing they talk about is safety. Any work that requires a chain saw or can’t be performed from the ground should be done by a professional tree-care…