April 26, 1996

Sunflowers


With the increasing interest in ornamental sunflowers and several million acres of land devoted to oilseed production, it's hard to imagine sunflowers as an unpopular plant. The sunflower is one of only four major crops of global importance native to the United States (blueberry, cranberry, and pecan are the other three).

Control of Tomato Blights in the Home Garden


Tomatoes are the most popular crop in the home vegetable garden. While tomatoes are relatively easy to grow, foliar diseases often occur in the home garden. Early blight and Septoria blight are the two most common foliar diseases of tomato. Early blight produces brown spots (up to 1/2 inch in diameter) on infected leaves. Concentric rings of darker brown often appear in the leaf spots. Septoria blight produces small brown spots (approximately 1/8 inch in diameter) with tan or gray centers and dark edges.

What is an Annual?


The general definition of an annual is a plant that germinates from seed, flowers, and sets seed, and dies in one season. Then to complicate matters some annual plants are referred to as hardy annuals or half-hardy annuals. Some half-hardy perennials are also grown as annuals.

Clover Mites are Moving


Clover mites are very tiny mites that live and reproduce in the lawn, but now is the time they may be encountered as a household pest. During early summer and sometimes in the fall, clover mites wander or migrate and stumble into dwellings by mistake.

Clover mites feed on grasses and weeds, including clover but do no harm to turfgrass. They seem to be especially numerous in lawns with a heavy growth of succulent, well-fertilized grass. Clover mites do not bite or cause any damage in the house and are a pest only because of the annoyance of their presence and tremendous numbers.

Rhizosphaera Needle Cast


Blue spruce trees are susceptible to an infectious needle disease caused by the fungus Rhizosphaera. The disease, referred to as Rhizosphaera needle cast, is the most common problem seen on blue spruce samples that are submitted to the Plant Disease Clinic. White spruce are classified as intermediate in susceptibility to the disease and Norway spruce are relatively resistant.