HORT SHORTS

April through May is the time of year when female coyotes (Canis latrans) reluctantly enter underground dens to birth their pups. With their incredibly heightened senses of hearing and smell, confinement in a small underground den limits these senses making coyotes even more nervous than normal.

Issue:

It is not uncommon this time of year to encounter a slithery visitor in gardens, landscapes, and backyards. There are several species of snakes happy to live their lives in backyards, but one of the most common is the EASTERN GARTERSNAKE (Thamnophis sirtalis). Named for the 3 light stripes that run along the length of its black, brown, gray, or olive body, the gartersnake is sometimes nicknamed the 'garden' snake because that is where unsuspecting gardeners often encounter them.

Issue:

Plant galls are some of the most obvious but least understood plant disorders encountered by arborists, landscapers, and others who work with plants. To learn more about plant galls, check out Part 1 of a three-part “Gall Trilogy” written by Joe Boggs and Jim Chatfield for American Nurseryman Magazine.

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This question is a common one in the spring when we have a surplus of ash from the woodstove coming out of a long winter. This material could only be good for our gardens, right? Well, not so much in soils that have a higher pH, which includes a sizable portion of the State of Ohio.

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We highlighted poison hemlock (Conium maculatum) earlier this season as the "Weed" in the "Plants of the Week" section of BYGL 2015-02 (04/16/15) and noted that this non-native is among the most deadly plants in North America. All parts of the plant are highly toxic to both humans and livestock. It is also extraordinarily invasive owing to its prolific seed production and dense growth habit; a few plants can become a sea of poison hemlock in just a few years squeezing out preferred plants.

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County Extension offices are receiving reports from concerned homeowners wanting to know why their maple trees appeared to have "suddenly died." The trees reportedly began green and looked good and then suddenly they are all brown and have died. Is there some new insect or disease that is killing off maples?

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The purchase has been made and the trees are in the ground. You may ask, "What is the next step?" In addition to immediate water and maintenance practices to deal with broken, rubbing or misshapen branches, the next five years is very important for both the establishment and training of the shape of the tree to come.

Issue:

The annual spring needle drop on yews (Taxus spp.) illustrates that "evergreen" is a relative term for both narrow-leaf and broad-leaf evergreens. The fact that shed leaves and needles are a common feature beneath healthy evergreens is evidence that these plants naturally jettison foliage.

Issue:

Just as the lilacs are beginning to bloom, POISON IVY (Toxicodendron radicans) shoots begin to emerge. This native plant grows on shallow-rooted vines that wrap and climb their way up trees, fence posts, buildings, and many other objects sometimes growing 20' in one season. In direct sunlight, the vine can also grow in a shrub-like form.

Issue:

On Saturday, April 18, 2015, the 2nd Annual Tree School was held on the OSU Mansfield Campus as part of the OSU Woodland Stewards Program. This combination of indoor and outdoor sessions included eleven educational opportunities that participants could choose from throughout the day.


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