May 6, 2016

When Spring Flowers Don't Bloom

Lack of bloom on flowering plants in the landscape is a common problem caused by a variety of situation.  To learn more about what happens when flowers don’t bloom properly, or at all, and what can be done about it, see the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Yard and Garden news release from May 5, 2016.

Add Native Plants to Iowa Landscapes

Native plants can give home landscapes a unique, varied look when paired with the current flora and fauna that already dot landscapes across Iowa. See the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Yard and Garden news release from April 28, 2016 to learn more about which native plants are best for specific landscapes and gardens, and how should they be treated for best results.

Apple and Crabapple at Risk of Cedar Apple Rust

An example of a cedar apple rust gall

The bountiful spring rains have brought us our first report of a sighting of telial horns (see picture below) of the fungal pathogen Gymnosporangium juniperi-virginianae. This pathogen causes the disease called cedar apple rust. As the disease name implies, this fungus infects both cedar trees (Juniperus spp) and apples trees (including crabapple trees).

Growing Snap Beans

Beans are one of America's favorite garden vegetables.  Early bean cultivars were stringy, hence the term "string" beans.  Modern cultivars are stringless, tender, and crisp.  Since they snap easily, these new cultivars are referred to as snap beans.  Snap beans may be classified as bush or pole beans.  Bush-type beans are low-growing plants that grow 1 to 2 feet in height.  Pole beans are vining plants which must be supported by a fence or stakes. 

Managing Rhizosphaera Needle Cast

Wet spring weather creates conditions favorable for many fungal diseases, including rhizosphaera needle cast.  Symptoms are already starting to develop and now is the time to learn how to manage rhizosphaera needle cast in the following ways:

Propagating Spring Blooming Woodland Wildflowers

I have greatly enjoyed the woodland wildflowers this spring.  The masses of bloom beckon us to slow down and wander the woods leisurely and look more closely to see their delicate floral displays.  Many are ephemeral – meaning their display is fleeting, and they go dormant when summer heat and drought arrive.  Spring ephemerals can also be enjoyed in home gardens. However, do not remove these plants from the woodlands. Wild collecting is often prohibited. It is also likely to be unsuccessful inasmuch as survival is reduced when plants are moved in bloom.