Snow and ice are headaches for motorists and pedestrians. To prevent accidents on slippery surfaces, highway departments, businesses and homeowners use deicing compounds to melt ice and snow on roadways, parking lots, sidewalks and driveways. While deicing materials improve travel conditions, they can damage automobiles, concrete surfaces and landscape plants.
Earwigs are easy to recognize by the prominent pincers or forceps on the end of the abdomen. Adults are about 5/8 inch long and dark brown with a reddish head and pale yellow-brown legs.
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.
The bagworm caterpillar lives its entire life inside a tough protective case made of silk and camouflaging bits of foliage. Each caterpillar makes its own bag that it carries around as it feeds with the head and legs sticking out the open, top end of the bag. As the caterpillar eats and grows the bag is enlarged until by the end of the summer, what started as tiny pods only one-quarter inch long will have grown to almost two inches in length.
Rabbits are often portrayed as cute, furry creatures in books and movies. In the real world, however, rabbits can be destructive pests in the home landscape. In winter, rabbits often browse on young trees and shrubs. If feeding damage is extensive, trees and shrubs can be completely destroyed.
The white grubs that routinely damage lawns in Iowa are called annual white grubs. These root-eating, underground June beetle larvae have one generation per year and take one year to complete their life cycle of egg, larva, pupa and adult. The adult beetles of our annual white grubs are specific kinds of June beetles called masked chafers. They are tan or straw brown in color and as the name implies, they have a black stripe across the eyes and face. The masked chafers begin flying in late June and lay eggs in the turf during July.
Among the more secretive creatures in the animal world are armored scale insects. These tiny insects (less than 1/8 inch long) live under a protective cover on the leaves or bark of their host plant. Armored scales are enclosed in this cover that is constructed of wax, shed skins and other substances.
Last year rabbits severely damaged several annuals and perennials in my garden. Are there any herbaceous ornamentals that would be safe from hungry rabbits?
Is it possible to grow peanuts in Iowa?
Several apples have formed on a newly planted fruit tree. Can the apples be allowed to mature or should they be removed?
The first “side” of the triangle is so obvious it may be overlooked. In order to have a plant disease, you must have a plant. More specifically, you need a susceptible plant, one that is able to get a particular disease. Each plant species is prone to a unique set of maladies. Crabapples and oaks get different diseases. Within a species, plant varieties differ in their susceptibility to various diseases. For example, some crabapple cultivars are decimated by apple scab while others are unaffected. The overall health and vigor of an individual plant also affects its susceptibility to disease.
The time of year has arrived when people begin to worry about fending off the common flu viruses. The feelings of malaise caused by viruses can lead to some unproductive days in the garden. This is the time of year when one should be busy clearing out diseased leaves and stems to ensure healthy plants next year. Some might wonder if plants can get the flu. Plants are susceptible to a variety of virus diseases, although the general term “flu” is not used in the plant world. Fortunately, the virus diseases that infect plants are unique to plants. They don’t infect people.