August 24, 2018

Hardy Hydrangeas for Iowa

Smooth hydrangea Annabelle

Hydrangeas are popular shrubs for the home landscape.  Their large, elegant flowers charm homeowners and visitors alike throughout the summer months.  In the past decade there has been an explosion of new cultivars with varying flower colors and shapes.    Surely there is one (or two) that will work in your landscape. 

Species and Cultivars

Several hydrangea species can be grown in Iowa.  Two species are easy-to-grow, reliable performers.  The others can be a bit more challenging. 

A Hard Puffball?

earth ball

Earth ball mushroom

This week, a homeowner in Benton County found scattered groups of the fungus in their lawn. A client submitted a sample for mushroom identification of a bumpy looking mushroom by her oak tree. What are they? Our client though maybe truffles? Maybe a puffball?. Not quite.

Large Milkweed Bugs

cluster of large milkweed bugs on milkweed leaves and pods

Alert reader and careful insect observer Patrick O'Malley sent the picture below showing a particularly large cluster of large milkweed bugs (Oncopeltus fasciatus).

Revised Pamphlet on Insect Galls of Trees and Shrubs

Front page of the revised Insect Galls pamphlet

Iowa State University Extension & Outreach pamphlet number ENT 0039 has been revised and expanded to include color photos of the most common insect galls found on trees and shrubs in Iowa.  The hundreds of unique galls are distinctive swellings or abnormal growths of leaves, stems, twigs, branches, trunks and roots caused by insects and mites present on the plant at the time of tissue development.  Galls cannot be cured after they have formed and identifying common galls is an important step in recognizing that galls do not generally affect the health and vigor of trees a

Insect Pests of Raspberry Fruit

Four-spotted sap beetles are shiny black with 4 yellow spots on the wing covers.

Sap beetles, spotted wing drosophila and various species of wasps damage raspberry fruits as they are ripening, reducing yield and interfering with the enjoyment of home-grown fruit.  Learn more about these common pests and how to manage them in the Iowa State University Extension & Outreach Yard and Garden news release from August 23, 2108.

Late Summer Plantings

Grass seed, trees and vegetables can be planted through late summer and early fall.  Learn more about the benefits of late summer planting in the Iowa State University Extension & Outreach Yard and Garden news release from August 16, 2108.