July 13, 2005

Wild Parsnip -- a Weed to Watch

Conditions have been especially favorable this year for wild parsnip, Pastinaca sativa, a common roadside weed in Iowa. Wild parsnip is a non-native plant in the parsnip family that originated in Europe. The edible roots were consumed in ancient Greece and Rome and there are still some cultivars grown for food today. Wild parsnip also poses a health hazard that many people may not be aware of.

Overseeding the Lawn

Healthy, dense lawns are attractive additions to home landscapes. Lawns in poor condition, however, have a negative impact on the landscape. The poor condition of a lawn may be due to poor management, heat, drought, diseases, insects, or other factors. In severe cases, the existing lawn may have to be destroyed and a new one established on the site. Other lawns (those where desirable turfgrasses comprise more than 50% of the lawn) can often be improved by overseeding.

Tip Blight of Junipers

Junipers are particularly susceptible to Phomopsis and Kabatina tip blight, two damaging fungal diseases that cause needle browning and dieback at the tip of the branches. Tip blight of junipers is caused by two different species of fungi, Phomopsis juniperovora and Kabatina juniperi, which cause similar symptoms in the affected plants. However, the two diseases differ by the time of the year when they occur and their development on the plant.