Extension News

Ask the ISU Extension Gardening Experts

Note to media editors: Got gardening questions? Contact the Iowa State University Extension Hortline at (515) 294-3108 (Monday-Friday; 10 a.m.-12 noon and 1-4:30 p.m.) or send an e-mail to hortline@iastate.edu. For more gardening information visit us at Yard and Garden Online at www.yardandgarden.extension.iastate.edu.


My sycamore is losing some of its bark.  Is there something wrong with the tree?

Shedding bark on some trees is a completely normal development.  The bark of most young trees is smooth and thin.  As the tree grows, the bark layer thickens with the outermost tissue eventually dying. Continued growth pushes the bark outward, sometimes causing the outer layers to crack.  On some trees, the outer dead layers peel and drop off, revealing the inner layers of bark.  Shedding or peeling bark is characteristic of trees such as sycamore, redbud, silver maple, shagbark hickory, birch and Scotch pine.  The grayish brown bark on a large sycamore tree, for example, flakes off in irregular blotches revealing a cream or whitish gray inner bark.  The loss of the outer layers of bark on sycamores is completely normal.

When would be the best time to transplant a rose?

In Iowa, early spring (before the plant begins to leaf out) is the best time to transplant a rose.  The optimal time period is normally late March to mid-April.  Dig up the rose using a shovel or spade and replant immediately.  After transplanting, water the rose on a regular basis for several weeks.

How do I control “creeping Charlie” in my perennial flower bed?

Hand pulling, digging and hoeing are the best ways to control ground ivy or “creeping Charlie” in garden areas.  (While broadleaf herbicides can be used to control ground ivy in turfgrass areas, herbicides are not a viable option in flower and vegetable gardens.)  The key to effective control of ground ivy in gardens is persistence.  Repeatedly pull, dig, and hoe the ground ivy (remove the plant debris to prevent it from rooting) until it has been eliminated.  Once destroyed, maintain clean, weed-free borders around flower and vegetable gardens to prevent the ground ivy from "creeping” back in from adjacent areas.


Contacts :

Richard Jauron, Horticulture, (515) 294-1871, rjauron@iastate.edu

Del Marks, Communications and External Relations, (515) 294-9807, delmarks@iastate.edu