Diagnostic Double-Take: Scorch or Scab chatfield.1 Sat, 07/30/2016 - 16:34

  Last Friday, outside our bank in Orrville, Ohio, I espied a crabapple tree with a carpet of brown leaves underneath the tree. On first glance, I imagined this to be due to leaf scorch and then leaf drop due to recent dry weather. After all, we are almost eight inches below normal over the past three months in many northeast Ohio areas. Made sense. I was simply following Question #4 of the 20 Questions of Plant Diagnostics: What Do You See That Looks Abnormal?

  Looking more closely, however, (Question #6 is: “Exactly What Do You See?)”, I noticed that there were many leaves,...

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Jim Chatfield

Yellowjackets are Buzzing

Yellowjackets (Vespula spp. and Dolichovespula spp.) are beneficial insects.  Just keep repeating that to yourself when you're chased or stung by these yellow and black marauders!  Yellowjackets have actually been with us since the beginning of the season.  Each nest was started by a single overwintered queen.  However, this is the time of the season when the ever-expanding nests contain enough individuals for yellowjackets to start making their presence known … sometimes painfully.

 

All species of yellowjackets in Ohio build circular to oblong...

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Joe Boggs

Aphids Spoiling Monarch Milkweeds

During yesterday's OSU Master Gardener Volunteer Diagnostic Workshop in Licking County, OH, one of the participants asked about the hordes of yellow aphids sucking juices from common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) reserved for monarch butterfly caterpillars.  These are oleander aphids (Aphis nerii) and their appearance reminds us that nature makes no food reservations.

 

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Joe Boggs
Don't Turn Your Head on These Guys! bennett.27 Fri, 07/29/2016 - 14:28

What the heck?  I am gone for a week and the population of two-spotted spider mites on my Baptisia australis (baptisia) exploded!  I don't know why I am surprised because these guys love it hot and dry and can complete a life cycle in five to seven days under these conditions.  I had one plant infected ten days ago and now all eight of them are loaded with this mite.  The lack of rain has also been a positive factor for their development.  A good spray with a hose or a heavy shower washes off some of the pests and in this case didn't happen.  In the above photo, the plant in the...

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Pam Bennett

Tree of the Week: Sassafras

  Sassafras (Sassafras albidum) is a lovely native woodland tree which is used more and more in landscaping. It is typically a medium-sized tree up to 30-50 feet in height but the national champion in Kentucky exceeds 100 feet. Leaves are variable, some entire, some mitten-liked and two-lobed, some three-lobed. Fall color can range from attractive yellows to yellow-orange, especially effective as a grove of sassafras trees.

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Jim Chatfield

Ghostly Ericoid

John Muir wrote: “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” This is certainly true of so much of what we see as horticulturists and plant lovers, from insects that induce plants to turn genes on and off and thus produce galls, to the cedar apple rust fungus that traverses its two-year life cycle in obligatory cycling between junipers and rosaceous plants.
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Jim Chatfield
What Is In My Bluebird House?? titchenell.4 Thu, 07/28/2016 - 10:33

Despite the name 'bluebird house', eastern bluebirds are not the only species that call those little wooden boxes home. Bluebird houses (hereafter called bluebird nest boxes) are also used by tree swallows, chickadees, house wrens, and house sparrows. All of the aforementioned species are cavity nesters, meaning they build their nests in cavities, whether naturally occurring (in trees) or man-made (in nest boxes).

 

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Marne Titchenell

Cedar Quince Rust Rages

  Christmas In July: Some hawthorns these past two weeks are sporting little orange sherbet-colored aecial spore masses of the cedar quince rust fungus (Gymnosporangium clavipes), pushing out from the haws. I am receiving many calls about this and, Frits Rizor, the Executive Director of the Ohio Nursery and Landscape Association, even sent me a text and image the other day – we are all plant pathologists!

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Jim Chatfield
Insects Need Water Too! kulhanek.5 Wed, 07/27/2016 - 20:21

A homeowner called the Extension office after noticing bees or yellow jackets were repeatedly visiting a small koi pond in the yard.  What was going on?  Well, insects, like all of us, need water too!  

Many insects receive water from nectar or via their prey, but honeybees, bumblebees, wasps, and many other insects visit dewy leaves, mud puddles, bird baths, pools, pet water bowls, or even decorative koi ponds to refuel their H2O needs, especially in hot, dry weather.  Bees can use water to regulate humidity in the hive and for evaporative cooling. Butterflies are often seen...

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Ashley Kulhanek

Beetles on the Potatoes in the Garden

While out looking at an oak tree earlier today in Lucas County, the property owner asked if I wanted to see his vegetable gardens - YES gardens!  Corn, tomatoes, green beans, zucchini, potatoes and more! 

 

The potatoes where being hit pretty hard by the feeding of the Colorado potato beetles (Leptinotarsa decemlineata) - both the adult and the larvae were present.  

 

The homeowner had been hand picking but losing the battle so I joined in for a bit.  There were many more eating to their hearts content in his several rows as he continued to "take...

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Amy Stone