What? Me Worry?
Symptoms that aren't as serious as they look
by Jonathan Heaton
As an arborist, I work with a lot of people who care deeply about their trees and shrubs. Almost once a week, I will get a call from someone who is alarmed that something new they’ve noticed on their tree might be a major problem. Sometimes it is a problem that needs help, but often it is something that looks bad, but isn’t. Here are some of the common issues that arise. >> read article
Control Caterpillar Pests
by Blake Layton
Caterpillars are vexing pests to many of the plants we grow in our home landscapes and vegetable gardens. There are numerous different species of pest caterpillars, most of which specialize in feeding on a particular group of plants: azalea caterpillars sometimes defoliate whole plantings of azaleas; heavy infestations of bagworms destroy arborvitae trees; tobacco hornworms strip the leaves from homegrown tomatoes; squash borers kill squash and pumpkin vines. And the list goes on. >> read article
Where Are They Now?
by Steve Frank
People don’t often think about insects in winter. Frankly, most people don’t think about insects at all except when they are being tormented by mosquitoes in the summer. As gardeners, we tend to consider insects and the natural world more frequently than other people, but what happens to the pests that drive us crazy and the other bugs that fascinate us during warmer months? >> read article
by Douglas A. Spilker Ph.D.
The thought of spider mites can bring chills to an avid gardener, rekindling memories of the damage inflicted to a favorite plant by tiny creatures you can hardly see. Of all the pests in the urban landscape, spider mites are probably the most difficult to manage. >> read article
Stop the Vampires!
Gardening Practices to keep mosquitoes down in your yard
by Yvonne L. Bordelon
Besides ruining a day in the yard, certain mosquitoes can transmit West Nile and other diseases in their quest for the blood needed to produce eggs. In fall, mosquitoes mate and the males die. The females spend the cold months hidden in protected places, such as hollow logs and in the cracks of buildings. So it is a good practice to clean up debris and caulk buildings in fall. >> read article
Deadly Rose Rosette Disease Moves Across the Country
by Delisa White
Rose gardeners throughout the country need to be vigilant in watching for the symptoms of an increasingly common problem known as rose rosette disease. >> read article
Don’t Cry ‘Uncle’ When You See Ants
by Douglas A. Spilker
Ants are good guys in the garden, but bad guys in the house. Learn more about these colony-dwelling insects.
Whether it is a lone ant wandering the countertop or a column on a mission, an ant invasion can be unnerving. Landscaping with organic mulches, movement away from broadcast applications of lawn insecticides and recent mild winters seem to have increased the encounters with these unwelcome visitors. >> read article
Douse the Flames
Yes, you can control fire ants.
by Blake Layton
Fire ants. Just hearing the words will make most Southern gardeners anxiously check their shoes and the ground where they are standing. These non-native stinging ants are established in portions of 12 southeastern states, and six of these states – Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida and South Carolina – have fire ants from border to border.
Fire ants prefer treeless grassy areas such as pastures, roadsides, parks and lawns, and densities can reach 50 to 200 mounds per acre in areas where they are not controlled. Fire ant mounds are unsightly, but it is their stings that make them so notorious. Unlike honeybees, fire ants do not have barbs on their stingers, and this means they can sting more than once. A single fire ant sting is painful, but unsuspecting gardeners sometimes sustain dozens or even hundreds of stings as a result of unknowingly stepping in a fire ant mound. The raised white pustules that result usually persist for about a week. >> read article