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.

Pesticide Deregulation


Organic farmers and gardeners will have easier access to some pest control products. The EPA has decided that 31 substances will no longer be regulated as pesticides.

Exempted compounds include: castor oil garlic/garlic oil potassium sorbate cedar oil geraniol putrescent whole egg solids cinnamon/cinnamon oil geranium oil rosemary/rosemary oil citric acid lauryl sulfate

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.

Symptoms

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.

Determine and correct the problem(s) causing the lawn decline. Possible causes include hot weather, insects, diseases, unsuitable turfgrass species, and improper care. If the problem(s) is not corrected, the lawn will likely decline again. Select the best grass for the site. For example, seed mixes containing fine-leaved fescues are the best choice for shaded or partially shaded sites.

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).