July 20, 2001
False chinch bugs are not a common pest in Iowa. Outbreaks have been noticed only 3 times in the last 20 years. When outbreaks do occur, large numbers or "swarms" of these tiny insects are observed in yards, fields, fencerows and gardens. Outbreaks are associated with dry weather.
Peony leaf blotch, also known as measles or stem spot, has shown up over the past few weeks. The recent warm, humid weather has provided optimal conditions for infection by the causal fungus, Cladosporium paeoniae.
Leaf spots are glossy and purplish-brown on the upper sides of leaves. On the lower sides, spots are chestnut-brown. Infection is generally more pronounced at the margins of outer leaves. Leaves may become slightly distorted as they continue growing.
Most areas in Iowa received adequate moisture this spring. However, in recent weeks the weather has been quite dry. The following questions and answers on watering may help the gardener deal with watering related concerns.