February 12, 2016

How To Change Your Soil's pH

Iowa soils are very diverse and so are the chemical characteristics that make up these soils.  Soil pH is one property that can vary widely across the state both naturally and due to crop production inputs.  It is also one of the most cost effective and easy to manage soil properties that can be modified to improve plant health and crop production.

Forcing Flowering Bulbs Indoors during Winter

With snow covering the ground across much of Iowa, the current winter climate isn’t hospitable for outdoor growth of flowers. But it’s the perfect time to prepare for spring by forcing bulbs indoors. See the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Yard & Garden news release from February 4, 2016 for tips on which plants work best for forcing indoors.

Caring for Fruit Trees

With spring just around the corner, fruit tree owners should start to think about the care of their trees and this year’s fruit crop. The key to a good fruit set is to provide conditions favorable for flower bud formation, survival and pollination. See the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Yard & Garden news release from February 10, 2016 for tips and practices that improve a tree’s ability to begin and continue to bear fruit.

Milkweeds for the Home Landscape

Photo of butterfly weed

If you would like to plant milkweeds to attract bees and butterflies to your landscape, but would prefer not to plant common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) and other species that tend to be too vigorous and weedy for beds and borders, there are manageable, attractive options. 

Extension Course Offered to Help Create School Gardens

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will offer a series of five classes to help local schools to build a strong team to start or continue to expand a school garden.  Read more in the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach news release from January 19, 2016.

Growing Season Webinars Available on YouTube

Explore design, water features, and pollinators with Master Gardener volunteers and Iowa State University faculty on a series of three webinars brought to you by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach’s Master Gardener program.  The link for watching the videos is https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLBsBPVFxix-qdpQPatShDMyGGdWdiLpq2

Regal Fritillary Proposed as Iowa’s State Butterfly. Again.

Again this year the Iowa general assembly is considering a House and Senate joint resolution (HJR2) to name the regal fritillary (Speyeria idalia) as the state butterfly of Iowa.  This is the last chance for this resolution.  If it does not make it to the floor this year for a vote, it will be dropped. 

Emerald Ash Borer Confirmed in Johnson County, Iowa

Map of emerald ash borer impact

Emerald ash borer, a tree-killing pest of ash trees, has been confirmed in Iowa City. The discovery was the result of University of Iowa Facilities Management Landscape Services personnel contacting the Iowa EAB Team after locating trees on campus appearing to be under attack by this invasive pest. Upon further examination, a suspect specimen was collected and later confirmed positive by national identifiers with the USDA.

Day of Insects at Reiman Gardens, April 9, 2016

Day of Insects, April 9, 2016

This year marks the eighth annual “Day of Insects” at Reiman Gardens. Held on Saturday, April 9th at Iowa State University’s Reiman Gardens, DOI is a day filled with 15 presentations from professionals, academics, advocates, and enthusiasts covering a wide range of insect related topics. From young beginners to seasoned veterans, DOI has something for everyone interested in or involved with insects.