September 2, 2016

Watch out for European Paper Wasps

Paper wasps nesting behind a window shutter

Fall is when all wasps, including paper wasps, yellowjackets and baldfaced hornets, reach their peak numbers for the year.  It is also the time when their behavior changes and people are more likely to notice colonies, or are more likely to be stung by wasps from a colony they hadn't yet found.  Fall is the time to keep an eye out for wasp activity and for wasp nests.

Artillery Fungus Spots

Small black artillery fungus spots on a hosta leaf

Have you seen tiny black spots on house siding, cars or plants?
Small, shiny black spots that look like specks of tar are a moderately common occurrence in Iowa and the rest of the eastern U.S.  Sometimes the spots are as high as 18 feet off the ground and attached to everything, though they show up best on light-colored house siding.  

Tulips for Perennializing

Most modern tulip cultivars bloom well for only 3 or 4 years.  However, there are some tulip types (classes) that bloom well over a longer time period.  When purchasing tulips in the next few weeks, choose from the following types if you want perennial-type tulips with attractive flowers. 

Twobanded Japanese Weevil – Another Invasive Pest

Japanese weevil on a leaf

The twobanded Japanese weevil, Pseudocneorhinus bifasciatus is an invasive pest that has been in the U.S. for a century and is now found in Iowa.  Individuals were collected in Ames, IA in early August. 
Twobanded Japanese weevil adults have a broad host range and feed on the leaves of many common ornamental plants. Their feeding starts as notches along the margins of leaves and sometimes whole leaves are consumed.

There are over 100 host plants including:

Caring for Lawns in Fall

Seeding, aeration and fertilization are standard lawn maintenance activities best done in the fall of the year.  Learn how to best prepare your lawn for the upcoming year in the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Yard and Garden news release from August 18, 2016.

Properly Storing Garden Produce

Fall is an excellent time to reap the benefits of home gardens. Produce harvested from personal plots can make for a bountiful feast. But storing and keeping produce including potatoes, onions and carrots fresh can become an issue.  Learn more about extending the storage life of garden produce in the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Yard and Garden news release from August 31, 2016.

Master Gardeners Will Visit Campus in October

Over 300 Master Gardener trainees will gather on the Iowa State University campus in October for the program’s annual training class. The course, which will be held on Oct. 8 and 22, provides a full day of hands-on learning and is part of the 40 hours of training gardeners receive through the Iowa Master Gardener program.
Read more in the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach news release from August 24, 2016.

Harvesting and Storing Apples

Fall is almost here, and one of the best parts of the season is the apple harvest. Apples are a delicious, fun part of autumn, but care must be taken with harvest time, storage and potential blotches.  Learn more about best care for picking and storing apples in the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Yard and Garden news release from August 31, 2016.