April 19, 2002

Mining (Andrenid) Bees

"Mining bees" are an occasional pest of the lawn, especially in dry areas with sparse vegetation. Not every entomology reference uses the nickname "mining bee;" a more commonly used name for these solitary, ground-nesting insects is andrenid bees.

Morel Sighting!

Attention!! Hunters, get ready. Morels were officially sighted in Decatur County on April 14th.

Morels, known to some people as sponge mushrooms, are in the genus Morchella. They are included in a large group of fungi known the ascomycetes. The literal meaning of the word "ascomycete" is sac fungus. This is an appropriate name since fungi in this group form their spores in microscopic sacs. The spores of morels burst from their sacs, which are within the pits of their caps and are carried by the breeze.

Staghorn Ferns

The Staghorn Fern is unusual and can be a challenge to grow. The fern has two types of fronds. One is branched resembling a horn or antler giving the fern its name, while the other forms a circular collar around the base of the branched fronds. Plants can be mounted on a piece of cork, bark or hardwood such as oak, maple, and elm. Fasten the round basal fronds onto the slab with wire or crisscrossing fishing line. Place moist sphagnum moss, Spanish moss, peat moss, oak leaves, or combination thereof between the plant and the wood slab. The plant needs to be kept moderately moist.

Caring for Newly Planted Trees

The first 2 or 3 years are the most important period in the establishment of newly planted trees. Good cultural practices during this period help reduce transplant stress and create a favorable environment for tree growth.