April 12, 2002

Forsythia Varieties for Iowa

The bright yellow flowers of forsythia are a spectacular sight in the spring. Unfortunately, many of the forsythia varieties that have been widely planted in past years, such as 'Lynwood Gold' and 'Spring Glory,' don't bloom reliably in Iowa. Their flower buds are often killed by low winter temperatures. Home gardeners wishing to plant forsythia should choose varieties that possess excellent flower bud hardiness. The following varieties should bloom reliably in Iowa each spring.


Fritillaria is one of the more unusual spring blooming bulbs in the garden. With nodding flowers that are either brightly colored, muted or checkered, this group of bulbs is sure to attract some attention.

A Hard Puffball

A sample of Scleroderma polyrhizon (also know as Scleroderma geaster) was recently submitted to the Plant Disease Clinic from Shelby County. The homeowner found scattered groups of the fungus in her lawn.

Residential Use of CCA-Treated Wood to be Phased Out by January 2004

The following statement on CCA-treated wood was recently released by the EPA. "On February 12, 2002, EPA announced a voluntary decision by industry to move consumer use of treated lumber products away from a variety of pressure-treated wood that contains arsenic by December 31, 2003, in favor of new alternative wood preservatives. This transition affects virtually all residential uses of wood treated with chromated copper arsenate, also known as CCA, including wood used in play structures, decks, picnic tables, landscaping timbers, residential fencing, patios, and walkways/boardwalks.