January 15, 1999

Renewing Houseplants by Air Layering

Many houseplants don't age gracefully. Some lose their lower leaves and become tall, leggy, and unattractive. Others simply become too big. Instead of tossing the plants, many old houseplants can be renewed by air layering.

Air layering is a procedure used to induce roots to form on a plant stem while it is still attached to the parent plant. Complete or partial girdling of the plant stem interrupts the downward translocation of carbohydrates and other compounds. The accumulation of these compounds promotes rooting at the point of injury.

Upcoming meetings of interest

Upcoming state horticulture meetings of possible interest to HHPN readers and several continuing education opporturnities are listed below. For additional information, contact the individual listed for each meeting.

January 25-27, 1999

Iowa Turfgrass Conference and Trade Show*
Polk County Convention Complex, Des Moines, IA
Program Information: Lori Westrum, (515) 232-8222

January 28-29, 1999

Iowa Nursery and Landscape Association Convention and Trade Show
Polk County Convention Complex and Marriott Hotel, Des Moines, IA

1999 Plants of the Year

Looking for a few good garden performers this spring? Tired of being overwhelmed by the mountainous selection of plants at your local garden center? A number of growers associations have made it a little easier to find a few good plants. Each year they select the cream of the crop to be their plant of the year. These plants are tried and true garden performers. So consider these plants for your garden as you are browsing the aisles at the local garden center this spring.

Smooth Patch on Bark

Have you ever noticed a smooth, light patch on the bark of a tree? Certain saprophytic fungi (those that live on dead organic matter) decompose the rough, dead outer bark of trees. This results in smooth grayish patches that are adjacent to the normal, rough bark. Small patches may expand slowly over time, coalescing to form smooth grayish areas that are several feet in length. Aleurodiscus oakesii is one of the fungal species that can cause smooth patch and may occur on trees such as American elm, sugar maple, and various oaks.