Sunday, June 29, 2014

Make the Most of Your Microclimates by Donna Duffy

A microclimate is the climate of a small area that is different from the area around it. It may be warmer or colder, wetter or drier, or more or less prone to frosts. Microclimates may be quite small - a protected courtyard next to a building, for example, that is warmer than an exposed field nearby. Cornell University Extension offers the following information about factors that influence microclimates.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Health Hazards for Gardeners? by Donna Duffy

Gardening is great for your health, right? The benefits of gardening-related exercise are well known. Lesser known are some serious health hazards that you could encounter. Remember,  your physician is always your first line defense and should be consulted anytime you have symptoms that are concerning.

Gardening, yard work and landscape injuries can be as simple as a scrape or as severe as a deep puncture wound, but any that break the skin can leave you at risk for tetanus, a serious and potentially fatal bacterial disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost one-third of reported tetanus cases come from gardening or farming injuries.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Fire Blight Arrives in Our Trees! by Mary Small

As if trees didn’t have enough trouble from last summers’s hail, fall's damaging freezes, and a late spring, some have now developed fire blight!  This bacterial disease is common on crab apple, apple, mountain ash and pear. 

Warmer than average temperatures during blossom time creates ideal conditions for disease development. If rain falls at the same time, its spread is rapid.  And guess what?  This spring was just perfect, if you were fire blight bacteria!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

What Makes a Weed a WEED? by Rebecca Anderson

Photo by Rebecca Anderson
This is the time of year when our landscapes are becoming greener and new plants are sprouting every day.  As I spend more time doing projects in my yard, I'm often faced with a decision: is a particular plant a weed or is it a beneficial landscape plant?  Here are some guidelines I use to help come to a conclusion. 
  1. Plants growing in the wrong location are weeds. This defines all the traditional weeds like the dandelions (Taraxacum sp.)in the lawn, but it also helps when evaluating more mobile landscape and garden plants. The morning glories (Ipomoea sp.) growing on the trellis where I planted them can stay. The ones climbing up the arborvitae (Thuja sp.) need to go. 
  2. Plants that are unattractive are weeds. Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but many of the common weeds lack attractive characteristics we value in other plants. This benchmark may apply to an intentionally placed landscape plant that has become scraggly over time, too. If pruning can't bring it back to the desired form, then perhaps removal is another option.