Infestations by "big, black ants" often are a sign of a tree that has already been weakened by other damage.
Unlike plant diseases and many insect pests, slugs are not host-specific and have a very diverse diet from asters to zinnias, with hostas being one of their favorites.
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.
The removal of annual and herbaceous plant debris from the flowerbed is very important. Proper sanitation decreases the chance of disease and insect problems in the spring. Diseases and insects like to use debris as over wintering “hiding places” and they can then cause serious damage to plants in the following growing season.
Strawberries are well suited to home gardens. They are hardy, easy to grow, and produce a good crop with moderate effort. Early spring (April to early May) is the best time to plant strawberries in Iowa.
Prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis) is a prairie plant native to North America that will add softness to any home garden, especially around a border. Other suitable planting areas include rock gardens, prairies and pastures, and along roadsides. It has a low, fountain-like appearance, with leaves that fall gracefully towards the ground. Plains Indians used the seeds to make flour and birds seek the seeds as food.
As the growing season gears up, it is also a great time to start fertilizing plants for a healthy garden. But figuring out how and when to use fertilizers can be confusing and improper fertilization can be harmful to plants. Here are a few commonly asked questions about fertilizers.
One such award winning plant is Golden Hakone grass (Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’), the 2009 Perennial of the Year. Every year members of the Perennial Plant Association vote for a winning plant entry. Perennials that are nominated must be attractive, suitable for many areas across the country, low maintenance, pest and disease resistant, and readily available to the public. This year’s winner is the latest in a long line of good perennials for the garden.
Onions are easy to grow. They perform best in well-drained, slightly acidic, fertile soils in full sun. Heavy soils can be improved by incorporating organic matter, such as compost, into the soil. Onions require higher fertility levels than most other vegetables. Apply 1 to 2 pounds of an all-purpose garden fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, per 100 square feet and till into the soil prior to planting. Four to five weeks after planting, sidedress with additional fertilizer. Sprinkle 1 pound of an all-purpose garden fertilizer per 100 feet of row. Place the fertilizer in a narrow band about 2 to 3 inches from the base of the onion plants.
All parts of a beet plant are edible. The tops, or greens, can be cooked and enjoyed like spinach or turnip greens. But it is the root, the pretty part, that we prefer. While the bulbous roots are most often dark red, they can also be yellow, white and striped like a candy cane. Don't let the color fool you - even the white ones are as sweet and tasty as the red ones! Their shape can vary as well. They can be round, flat or cylindrical.