The Beringian Land Bridge and the Sumac Gall Aphid

The bladder-like galls produced the Sumac Gall Aphid (Melaphis rhois) are just beginning to develop on the leaflet midveins of its namesake host in southwest Ohio.  The galls are currently light green and so small they may be difficult to detect.  However, as the season progresses, the galls will eventually become more evident growing to 1/2 - 1" in length and becoming variegated with areas that are greenish-white bounded by areas that are mottled reddish-pink.

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Joe Boggs

Grape Phylloxera

Every time I see the bristly, lumpy round galls produced by the grape phylloxera (Daktulosphaira vitifoliae) on the lower leaf surfaces of wild grape (Vitis spp.), I'm reminded of the story of how an American saved the French (and European) wine industry.  Some may consider it a return on the favor for the French making it possible for us to have something to celebrate on the 4th of July.

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Joe Boggs

Chicory is in Bloom

Chicory is a weed that is in bloom in Ohio right now. It can be seen growing abundantly beside roads and highways. It can also be found in lawns, pastures, fields, and waste places. Originating in the Mediterranean chicory was distributed throughout much of the world where it was grown for centuries as a salad green. It escaped from cultivation in North America and has naturalized and spread throughout southern Canada and the U.S.

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Julie Crook

Regal Katsuratrees

Katsuratree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum) is one of my favorite trees, providing an array of foliar colors throughout the season and a sometimes elusive, but wondrous aroma of crème brulee on fallen Autumn leaves. I could go on and on, but it is better to hear from the master.

Michael Dirr in his “Manual of Woody Landscape Plants” writes of katsuratree: “New leaves emerge a beautiful reddish purple and gradually change to bluish green in summer; fall color varies from yellow to apricot...leaf is shaped like a redbud (Cercis) leaf...the senescing (fall-coloring)...

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Jim Chatfield

Coneflower Calamities: Round 3

Stunted and deformed coneflower plants are symptoms of Aster Yellows.  Of the three coneflower problems I'm presenting in this series, Aster Yellows is the most serious and its control requires the most extreme measures.  This is a serious, chronic disease that occurs throughout North America and may affect over 300 species of plants in 38 families including a number of vegetables such as carrots and potatoes.  However, as its common name implies, the disease most occurs on members of the aster family (Asteraceae (= Compositae); coneflowers appear to be particularly susceptible.

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Joe Boggs

Coneflower Calamities: Round 2

Tufted flower parts that rise rosette-like from coneflower cones are produced by the Coneflower Rosette Mite.   The mite is an eriophyid (family Eriophyidae) that has yet to be taxonomically categorized, so it has no scientific name or approved common name.  However, the mite is generally referred to as the Coneflower Rosette Mite based on the damage that it causes to coneflowers.

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Joe Boggs

Coneflower Calamities: Round 1

I share Pam Bennett's love for coneflowers; she highlighted the delightful range of cultivars in her BYGL Alert! posted on June 30.  Of course, as she also noted, mass plantings of this wonderful native may suffer from occasional problems.  I'm covering three of the more serious coneflower challenges that may threaten coneflowers in Ohio landscapes in a 3-part series under the banner, "Coneflower Calamities."  Fortunately, each of these problems can be effectively managed through accurate early identification and focused management options.

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Joe Boggs

Many Diagnostic Choices for Tomato Wilt

This was one of many tomato questions submitted to Ask an Expert and Ask a Master Gardener, OSU Extension's on-line service providing Ohioans answers to horticulture questions and other topics.  This started a discussion on how providing a definitive answer is not always possible. Even when more details are provided, one diagnostic solution is not always the answer; there can be several things all happening at the same time.  In this particular case, we reviewed the many possible causes for tomato wilt.  These include:

 

  • lack of water,
  • tomato spotted wilt...
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Denise Johnson

Petunias!

I walked through downtown Wooster, Ohio earlier today and was reminded once more of our debt to petunia breeders and petuniacal horticulturists of the past decade or two. Wow, planters and hanging baskets of incredible colors, shapes and sustained beauty throughout the summer. It’s bloomin’ crazy! The genus Petunia and its cousin the “mini-petunia” genus Calibrachoa rule. Both genera are native to South America and are in the Solanaceae (the nightshade family) with tell-tale funnel-like flowers: Some taxonomists even classify the two genera in the genus Petchoa...

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Jim Chatfield