July 11, 2003

Air Conditioner Diseases (Pythium Blight and Brown Patch)

The continual use of an air conditioner is a sign that it s time to look for brown patch (Rhizoctonia blight) and Pythium blight. These two diseases commonly affect lawns and golf courses in Iowa when the weather is warm and humid. The fungi that cause these diseases can infect most types of grasses.

Flying Fuzz-Balls Woolly Alder Aphid

A peculiar phenomenon reported across Iowa during early July is the unmistakable sight of small cottony white fuzz-balls "flying" through the air. If you are deft enough to gently catch one of the apparitions, you see a plump bluish black body and transparent wings pulling the cottony tuft through the air.

Year 2000 was apparently the first year in recent memory for an appearance by the woolly alder aphid. A repeat performance is occurring in 2003.

2003 Home Demonstration Gardens - Join the Celebration

The 2003 growing season is wonderful for gardening, in part because ISU is celebrating 100 years of ISU Extension at the Home Demonstrations Gardens statewide. To commemorate this occasion, we are taking a look back at some of the vegetables and flowers that were commonly grown 100 years ago. Some of the vegetables such as Queen Anne s Pocket melon, Lemon cucumbers, Green Hubbard squash, Fish pepper, Jenny Lind Cantaloupe, Amish Pie pumpkin, Wapsipinicon Peach tomato, and Rat Tail radish, you may not recognize.

Illegal Rodenticide in United States

A Chinese rodenticide or rat poison containing tetramethylenedisulfotetramine, also known as TETS, has been illegally imported into the United States. TETS is an odorless, tasteless white powder that is a highly lethal neurotoxin. TETS is not registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for use in the United States, and its importation, manufacture, and use in the United States is illegal. TETS has been banned for sale since the mid-1980s but is still widely available in China. Cases of poisoning, both intentional and accidental, have been reported in China.

Harvesting Sweet Corn

Harvesting sweet corn at the proper stage of maturity is essential to ensure a high-quality crop.

Sweet corn should be harvested at the milk stage. At this stage, the silks are brown and dry at the ear tip. When punctured with a thumbnail, the soft kernels produce a milky juice. Overmature sweet corn is tough and doughy. An immature ear is not completely filled to the tip, and the kernels produce a clear, watery liquid when punctured.