July 26, 2019

Be Alert for Diseased Rhododendrons in Iowa

Homeowners, gardeners and landscape managers are advised to be on alert for diseased rhododendrons. A total of six Midwestern states — Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska — have confirmed Sudden Oak Death (SOD) in rhododendron plants that were shipped to retail nurseries across the region.

Rust on Turfgrass

Rust is a fungal disease caused by several species of Puccinia.  All turfgrass species are susceptible to rust.  However, it is most commonly seen on Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass. 

From a distance, rust infected turf has a yellowish orange color.  Close examination of rust-infected grass blades reveals numerous yellow-orange pustules.  Rust can be easily diagnosed by walking across the lawn.  As you walk across the lawn, the bright orange spores of the rust fungi rub off onto your shoes. 

Controlling Moles in the Lawn

The eastern mole, Scalopus aquaticus, is the most common mole in Iowa lawns and the cause of considerable "mole rage" throughout the state.  Moles dig tunnels through the soil for burrows and for feeding.  They also deposit soil excavated from deep tunnels on the surface in a volcano shaped mound or "mole hill." 

Yard and Garden: Late Season Peony Care

Peonies can thrive up to 100 years if maintained properly. Horticulturists with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach answer questions about late season peony care, specifically when to divide the plant and cut back foliage.