Archived News

Can Dark Green Leafy Vegetables Save Your Eyesight

Dark green leafy vegetables are rich in the antioxidant lutein, which has been claimed to help reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), said Sarah Francis, an Iowa State University assistant professor and ISU Extension nutrition specialist. AMD is the leading cause of vision loss in adults age 65 and older, and nearly 10 million Americans have this eye disease. Since March is Age-related Macular Degeneration Awareness Month, lutein is gaining attention.

New Working K9 Handler Academy Provides Search and Rescue Training

A child is lost in 80 acres of woodland, at night and in the rain. An elderly man is missing from an Alzheimer’s facility, last seen heading north through town. Situations like these often require the services of canine search and rescue teams. These canine handlers need specialized training, and now they can get it online, from the Working K9 Handler Academy.

Preparing Evergreens for Winter

All evergreens, and particularly broad leaf evergreens such as boxwood and rhododendron, are susceptible to winter desiccation. Winter desiccation also is referred to as winter burn or winter browning. Desiccation occurs when the evergreen's foliage loses moisture due to the bright winter sun and harsh winter winds. In winter the plants are not able to absorb enough additional moisture from the soil to replace the water that evaporates from the foliage and stems. In addition to making sure the plants are well watered before the onset of winter there are a few other measures homeowners can take to protect the plants.

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Growing Garlic

Garlic (Allium sativum) is relatively easy to grow in the home garden. It is a member of the onion family along with leeks, chives and shallots. Each garlic bulb contains a dozen or more smaller bulbs, called cloves. The cloves are enclosed by a white or purplish, dry, parchment-like skin.

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Study Measures Significance of Agriculture to Iowa Economy

Iowa agriculture puts healthy, affordable food choices on the table of today’s consumers and it boosts county and state economies, according to a recently-completed economic analysis sponsored by the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers (CSIF).  As harvest takes place it is appropriate to note agriculture’s impact not only on the landscape, but on the state’s economy.

Prepare Your Plants for Winter

Plants that are well maintained during the year (proper pruning, watering and fertilizing) and that are healthy will be better candidates for winter survival. Winter conditions can kill plants in many ways, even some cold hardy plants. Their tops or roots may freeze. Some evergreens that do not have enough water supply in the soil may dry out when subjected to persistent winds.

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Secrets of Sooty Blotch and Flyspeck on Apples

Sooty blotch and flyspeck may be as old as apples themselves. Drawings of apple varieties from the 1820s clearly show sooty blotch on every fruit. It wasn’t until sprayed-on pesticides, such as lime sulfur and lead arsenate, became popular around 1900 that consumers began to expect to buy apples without a heavy coating of sooty blotch and flyspeck. The cosmetically perfect apples found in today’s supermarkets weren’t common until the middle of the 20th century, when more effective organic fungicides appeared.

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Late Summer is Time to Rejuvenate Your Lawn

If your lawn failed to live up to expectations this summer, don’t wait until next spring to take action.  The late summer/early fall season is a great time to rejuvenate your lawn.  It’s important to keep in mind that even the most attractive lawns don’t look that way on their own.  Creating and caring for a beautiful lawn takes time and effort.  Performing a few key maintenance practices now will help get your lawn back in shape and prepare it for next spring and summer.  Controlling perennial weeds, fertilizing, establishing new turf with seed and aeration are basic maintenance practices commonly performed during the next couple of months.

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Discoloration on Oak Leaves may be Caused by Bur Oak Blight

Late summer/early fall is the time of the year when leaves of bur oaks in Iowa are showing V-shaped brown discoloration and browning of the leaf veins. The affected leaves eventually die and fall to the ground or hang dead on the twigs through the winter and into the following year. The disease may affect the entire tree and if only a portion of the tree is affected, the disease is generally most severe in the bottom of the tree.

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Winter Injury to Boxwood in Iowa

Typical signs of freezing injury are a blackened/brownish discoloration or bleaching of plant tissue. If the freezing injury kills a significant number of buds or cambial tissue, the plant may die or suffer so much crown die-back that it becomes unusable. If freezing injury is limited to flower buds and shoot dieback, it may require corrective pruning and time to allow the plant to grow out of the damage.

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Winter Injury to Boxwood in Iowa

Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens) is a dark green evergreen native to southern Europe and northern Africa. It usually grows to a height of three to four feet in the Iowa climate, and is popular for borders and hedges because of its dense, dark green foliage. Boxwood requires fertile, well-drained soils and prefers wind protection if grown on an exposed site.

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