toad lily in Amherst NY

Create a beautiful autumn garden; see how Amherst gardener does it

  by Connie Oswald Stofko The many trees and shrubs in Connie Krueger’s backyard filtered the blazing afternoon sun. It was relaxing to be sheltered from the heat while being able to enjoy the colorful plants in both sunny and shady areas. And guess what? It was already after Labor Day! While your garden might peak in July, you can still enjoy your garden in autumn. Krueger shared her landscape during Open Gardens this summer, and her yard is still lovely…

oak leaf with wilt

Got dead oaks? Could be oak wilt; please report it

Oak wilt, a serious disease that affects oak trees, has been detected for a second time in Ontario County, southeast of Rochester, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). If you know of an oak tree that died over a short period of time, especially if it occurred between July and August, please report it to the Forest Health Information Line toll-free at 1-866-640-0652. Symptoms of oak wilt infection are often very noticeable in red oak…

Asian Longhorned Beetle

Your help can protect our trees against Asian longhorned beetle

Now is the time of year to look for the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB), an invasive beetle that could cause serious damage to New York State’s street trees and forests. Most infestations of forest pests are found by members of the public, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), so your help can make a difference. Good news: The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets (DAM) has succeeded in eradicating the invasive beetle from Staten Island, Manhattan, Islip…

chair in shade

Heat wave: take care of your garden– and yourself!

  by Connie Oswald Stofko Western New York is feeling the heat wave that is moving across the country. “If there was a time to water, this is it,” said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. Pay special attention to trees and shrubs that have been planted in the last couple years, Farfaglia said. Those are the plants that will suffer the most if they’re not watered. Make sure you water deeply. Hanging baskets can…

lilacs in Amherst NY

Don’t wait to prune early-blooming shrubs

The time to prune shrubs that bloom before the middle of June is right after they flower, according to an article in the newest edition of WNY Gardening Matters, published by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. If you wait too long and prune them after they have set next year’s buds, you will lose the flower production next year. Early-blooming shrubs that you shouldn’t wait to prune include lilac, deutzia, kerria, Philadelphus, forsythia, viburnum, St. John’s…

maple seeds on tree with few leaves

Are you getting a bumper crop of maple seeds?

  by Connie Oswald Stofko Maple trees in my neighborhood are heavy with seeds, and some trees have few leaves. “These things happen in cycles,” said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. No one knows why it happens; it may follow a period of stress for the tree, he said. But since no one knows what conditions produce a bumper crop of seeds, there’s no way to predict when it will happen. What gardeners may…

ginkgo 'Snow Cloud'

Botanical Gardens to hold Great Plant Sale; buy ginkgo trees

Ginkgo trees will be one of the new items to be offered at the Great Plant Sale to be held Thursday through Saturday, May 17-19 at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, 2655 South Park Ave., Buffalo. Ginkgos are hardy plants that are used as street trees, said Kristin Pochopin, director of horticulture. Some people may be wary of ginkgo trees because the fruit is stinky and messy, but these trees are at low risk for fruiting. “These are low…

Arbor Day poster by student in Grand Island

Arbor Day tree tips, tours & a local poster winner

Trees are so important to our environment that they have their own day– Arbor Day, which falls on this Friday, April 27. How to choose, plant and care for a tree Consider planting a tree on your own property. Do it now; the best time to plant a tree is late winter or early spring before the buds open, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). If you can’t work that quickly, consider waiting until autumn. Trees…

tree still has leaves in spring

Will tree that didn’t drop its leaves in winter survive?

by Connie Oswald Stofko I was chatting with one of my subscribers at Plantasia and she mentioned that she has seen trees– Japanese maples as well as other trees– that didn’t lose their leaves over the winter. The leaves are brown, but still attached. “I’m scared because the trees don’t have buds yet,” she said. I noticed the same thing in my neighborhood, so I talked to John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. Don’t worry,…

bonsai of Japanese juniper

Mischler’s introduces bonsai plants & supplies; see them at Plantasia

  by Connie Oswald Stofko You can now get mature bonsai, bonsai starter kits and bonsai supplies at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses, 118 South Forest Rd., Williamsville. As we learned a few years ago, bonsai (pronounced bone-SIGH) is created by pruning and training a tree over a period of years to keep it small while giving it the form and shape of a mature tree. If you’re a beginner, you may enjoy the starter kits. If you’re already in the process…