December 8, 2017

Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic - 2017: Year in Review!

This was a year of spruce!  Of all the trees in Iowa landscapes, we receive the most samples of sick spruce trees.

New Annuals and Vegetables for 2018

As you browse through the seed catalogs over the next several weeks, you'll notice a number of new flower and vegetable cultivars.  Some of the new cultivars that you should check out, and possibly plant in 2018, are listed below. 


Alternanthera 'Purple Prince' - plants have ruby to purple foliage; grows 10 to 16 inches tall and 18 to 20 inches wide.

Celosia 'Bright Sparks' Series - well-branched plants are 12 inches tall; brightly colored flower plumes are 3 to 4 inches long; available in 3 colors.

Horticulture Programs, 2018

Horticultural Programs.  Upcoming horticulture conferences/workshops of possible interest to HHPN readers are listed below.  Additional information on each program is available from the listed contacts.

January 11-13, 2018

Great Plains Growers Conference and Trade Show Fulkerson Center, Missouri Western State University, St. Joseph, Missouri Program Information:

January 23-25, 2018

Master Gardener Class on Campus, Fall 2017

The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Master Gardener program hosted two classes on the Iowa State campus in Ames this fall as part of its annual Master Gardener training course.  The Class on Campus is a hands-on part of the 40 hours of training required class participants Gardener trainees before they begin working in communities across the state.

Beekeeping Classes around Iowa Start in January

The Iowa Honey Producers Association has released the Beekeeping Class information for 2018.  There are 36 courses listed that will cover both beginning and advanced beekeeping.  Many course start in mid- to late January.

For a list of beekeeping courses, locations, dates and times, fees and registration information see and click on "Classes & Clubs."

ISU's Soil and Plant Analysis Laboratory to Close

The Soil and Plant Analysis Laboratory at Iowa State University has announced that the lab will close effective December 31, 2017 after 35 years of soil, water and environmental testing services.  The last day to submit samples is December 15.  Updates regarding the laboratory will be posted on their website.

Planting and Growing Holly in Iowa

Holly is a decorative plant used at the holiday season.  Many varieties are available and some will perform well in Iowa.  See the Iowa State University Extension & Outreach Yard and Garden new release from December 7, 2017 for more information on the history of this seasonal favorite and tips on selecting hollies that perform well in Iowa. 

Bugs on Holiday Plants

Festive holiday plants displayed at this time of the year may bring along uninvited guests – insects and other pests.  For more information and tips on dealing with bugs on holiday plants and related issues see the Iowa State University Extension & Outreach Yard and Garden new release from November 29 2017.