August 22, 1997
Sometimes folklore and science actually intersect, though often in unexpected ways. Take for instance, the case of ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea), a common and invasive perennial weed in Iowa lawns and gardens. Ground ivy is known by a variety of names, including Creeping Charlie, Creeping Jenny, and Ground-Over the-Gill.
Bacterial wilt occurs primarily on cucumbers and melons, but also may be a problem on squash and pumpkins. The disease is caused by the bacterium Erwinia tracheiphila. Symptoms vary on the different host species, but typically the leaves turn a dull green color and a progressive wilting of lateral leaves occurs. The pathogen moves through the main stem, plugging the vascular tissue, and eventually causes wilting and death of entire plants.
You've probably seen newspaper advertisements and attention-getting banners displayed at local nurseries and garden centers proclaiming "Fall is for Planting." But is it really wise to plant trees and shrubs at the end of a growing season and so close to winter? The answer to this question is a qualified yes. Fall planting can be successful as long as the planting season is not extended too late into the fall, if difficult-to-establish species are avoided, and if proper care (watering, mulching, staking if needed, etc.) is administered after planting.
Crown Rot of Hosta: Revenge of the South
The American Civil War was over a long time ago, but not to some Southerners. They're still mad about losing, and they're fixin' to get even. Their latest weapon? Sclerotia.
Say what? What are sclerotia, and is it O.K. to say "sclerotia" in a family newspaper? If you're reading this, the answer must be yes.