April 12, 1996

Fungus Gnats

There are several small flies, or gnats, that can be found inside the home. The ones associated with houseplants are called fungus gnats. These small, non-biting flies are completely harmless, except for the annoyance of their presence. Fungus gnats look dark gray in color. The wings also appear smoky-gray. The body is long and slender, unlike a fruit fly that has a short, robust body shape. At a little more than 1/16th inch in length, fungus gnats usually go unnoticed outdoors where they can be quite plentiful in fungi, damp soil and decayed vegetable matter.

Organic Gardening

What does organic gardening mean to you? There are as many different views on what organic gardening means as there are people. Some interpret it to mean old-fashioned, some believe it involves the use of homemade concoctions, others believe it means complete chemical-free gardening. The basic meaning of organic gardening is that it relies on cultural practices and natural products rather than the use of synthetic or petroleum-based fertilizers and pesticides.

Virus Diseases of Orchids

Viruses are among the smallest organisms that cause plant diseases. They can be seen only when magnified thousands of times. Although they are simple organisms, made up only of nucleic acid and a protein coat, viruses cause devastating diseases.

More than 25 viruses have been reported to infect orchids. The two most common orchid viruses are cymbidium mosaic virus and odontoglossum ringspot virus.

Renovating a Thin Lawn

Hot weather, insects, and diseases can cause lawns to decline and become thin. Thin turf areas can be renovated by following the steps outlined below.

1996 Tree of the Year -- Prairifire Crabapple

The Tree of the Year promotion is a community outreach program sponsored by the Iowa Nursery and Landscape Association to highlight specific trees determined to have superior qualities for Iowa landscapes. The tree of the year for 1996 is 'Prairifire' crabapple. Useful information about this tree is provided below.

History - introduced by D. F. Dayton, Department of Horticulture, University of Illinois, Urbana in 1982.

Growth Habit - Upright to rounded tree (20 feet high and wide).