April 21, 2000

Clover Mites: More Abundant Than Usual

Clover mites are very tiny arachnids that live and reproduce outdoors, but are frequently encountered as a household pest during the springtime when they migrate onto and into dwellings by mistake. They are only 1/64th inch long, soft, oval, and flattened from top to bottom. They vary in color from rusty brown to dark red. A distinguishing characteristic is the very long pair of front legs that extend forward like antennae.

Rhizosphaera Needlecast of Spruce

This week the majority of questions and samples received in the Plant Disease Clinic were of a fungal disease, Rhizosphaera needlecast. Blue spruce trees are particularly susceptible to this disease. While this needle disease is common in Iowa and doesn't usually kill the tree, it can cause significant aesthetic losses in the landscape.


Little-Known Shrubs

When selecting shrubs for the landscape, many gardeners choose familiar plants, such as lilacs, dogwoods, spireas, and potentillas. However, there are a number of little known shrubs that are wonderful additions to the home landscape. Though they are not widely planted and may be somewhat difficult to find, the following shrubs are excellent plants for new and existing home landscapes.