May 9, 1997

Periodical Cicadas to Emerge in Iowa


This is the year! After waiting in the soil for 17 summers, that is, since the summer of 1980, the periodical cicadas will again appear in a significant portion of the state of Iowa.

Black Knot


Black knot is a fungal disease that occurs on wild and cultivated cherries and plums. Signs of the disease are easy to recognize. Black knots (or swellings) occur on branches, twigs, and/or the main trunk. These swellings, which are longer than wide, may extend up the branch from a few inches to a foot or more. They are especially noticeable before the leaves emerge in the spring.

Black Knot


Black knot is a fungal disease that occurs on wild and cultivated cherries and plums. Signs of the disease are easy to recognize. Black knots (or swellings) occur on branches, twigs, and/or the main trunk. These swellings, which are longer than wide, may extend up the branch from a few inches to a foot or more. They are especially noticeable before the leaves emerge in the spring.

Growing Hardy Geraniums


Hardy geraniums are easy to grow. Most species prefer moist, well-drained soils and partial shade to full sun. They have few insect or disease problems.

In spite of their favorable qualities, hardy geraniums are not widely planted in home gardens. Gardeners may want to try some of the following species and cultivars.

Infectious Needle Disease of Conifers


Infectious needle diseases of conifers, such as Dothistroma needle blight on Austrian pine, brown spot of Scots pine, and Rhizosphaera needle cast of spruce are controlled primarily through the use of protectant fungicide sprays in the springs. The first spray is typically applied around mid-May and a second application a month later.

Training Tomatoes


There are several advantages to training tomatoes to a stake or growing them in wire cages. Training tomatoes conserves valuable garden space for gardeners with small plots. Cultivating and harvesting trained tomatoes are easier. Tomato blight problems are generally less severe because of better air circulation. Plus, trained tomato plants often produce better quality fruit than those allowed to sprawl on the ground. Training methods vary, but the two most common methods are staking or growing in wire cages.