Current Issue: September 12, 2023

Fall Lawn Care

Mowing by encierro AdobeStock

Fall is an ideal time to complete many lawn maintenance practices.  The work you do on your lawn in the fall helps it recover from the stress of summer and prepares it for winter, allowing it to look its best next spring.

Below are links to more information about the many maintenance tasks you can do in the late summer and fall.

Growing and Harvesting Ornamental Corn

Along with mums and pumpkins, ornamental (occasionally referred to as "Indian corn") is often used to decorate homes in the fall.  Ornamental corn can be purchased at farmer’s markets, roadside stands, craft shows, garden centers, and other locations.  Ornamental corn can also be grown in large home gardens. 

How to Force Spring-Flowering Bulbs Indoors

Bulb forcing can bring the bright colors and fragrances of spring indoors during winter. Daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, crocuses, and other spring flowering bulbs can be started indoors in September for forcing from December through March.  Learn how to force bulbs indoors below.

Let's Talk Trees on the Video Series, The Undergrowth

Have a little fun and watch the latest episode of The Undergrowth.  Sebastian speaks with Dr. Jeff Iles, an extension horticulturist, professor, and Horticulture Department chair at Iowa State University about caring for trees. 

Oak Leaves Flagging throughout the Tree Canopy

A common sight in the Iowa landscape this summer has been patches of ~2-10 dead leaves (give or take) occurring randomly scattered throughout oak tree canopies. Most leaves, however, remain unaffected. This condition (called flagging) does not discriminate between the various species of oak and has been reported on red, white, and bur oaks but seems most prominent on older oaks than young or newly planted trees. Let’s discuss the possible causes of this oak leaf flagging, starting with the most likely.

Harvesting Grapes at Home

When it comes to cultivating cold-hardy hybrid grapes, enthusiasts often find themselves navigating a unique path. Unlike European grape varieties, official recommendations on how to grow these grapes and determine the right harvesting parameters can be scarce. Fortunately, institutions like Iowa State University have taken up the mantle of research, providing valuable insights into the world of wine parameters and grape cultivation for these unique hybrids.

AAS Winners are Great Ornamental Peppers for Your Home Garden

All-America Selections has been trialing edible and ornamental plants for over 90 years, presenting awards to entries that will impress home gardeners with their performance regionally or nationally. There have been plenty of exciting new winners that merit a place in your garden that will be highlighted in this series.

Multicolored Asian Lady Beetles (MALB) and Fall Fruit: Why you should look before you eat

The recent cool temperatures and visages of browning corn and soybeans in the rural landscape are signs that fall is upon us.  One negative of the fall crops dying off is that some of the insects that were living in those fields are now looking for alternative food sources such as apples, grapes, and fall raspberries.