June 6, 1997

Cicadas. At last!

The unseasonably cool temperatures during May have delayed the emergence of the periodical cicadas by two full weeks. While this has been depressing to entomologists and others anxiously awaiting their arrival, it probably has been insignificant to the cicadas. After all, they have waited 17 years to emerge. What's another 2 weeks?

Hostas with Fragrant Flowers

Hostas are usually planted for their attractive foliage. Flowers are generally secondary features. A notable exception are hosta varieties that possess fragrant flowers. Fragrant flowering hostas should be planted near a patio, deck or walk so their fragrance can be fully appreciated. Their fragrance is most noticeable on quiet, summer evenings.

Cold, Wet Weather Causes Melancholy Melons

Reports have come in from western, central, and southeastern Iowa concerning plantings of muskmelons and watermelons that have wilted and died shortly after being seeded or transplanted to the field. The culprit appears to be damping-off, a soilborne disease caused primarily by Pythium fungi that thrive during wet, cool weather.

"One Call" is all it takes

Next time you begin your plans for additions to your home landscape, remember to include Iowa's "One Call" system into your planting schedule.

One Call is the toll-free Iowa number-a nonprofit service funded by fees from Iowa utility companies-which enables homeowners to have all their utility lines marked by calling 1-800-292-8989. Within two working days, locations of all the buried utility lines will be marked by the responsible utility companies, ensuring that the digging and planting won't inadvertently sever a utility line.