Gardening in the Zone: Miniature Roses

James Romer discusses the advantages of planting miniature roses in your garden.

Gardening in the Zone: Growing Christmas Trees

ISU Extension forester Paul Wray talks about how to grow Christmas trees in Iowa in this 2004 Gardening in the Zone segment.

Gardening in the Zone: Starting Seeds Indoors

Richard Jauron discusses how to start your garden seeds indoors to get a jump start on your garden.

Gardening in the Zone: Lilacs

Dr. Cindy Haynes, horticulture specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, discusses the varieties of lilac bushes and how to properly prune them.

Gardening in the Zone: Overwintering Geraniums

Richard Jauron, ISU Horticulture Specialist, discusses the different ways you can overwinter your geraniums.

Squash Vine Borer

The squash vine borer is a very common, pudgy, white caterpillar found inside squash plant stems (usually near the soil line) from June through August. Damage usually first appears as a wilting of the vines. Other times, moist, white sawdust may accumulate around the base of the plant indicating tunneling activity by the borers inside. Damage may be severe, but infested plants are often able to live and produce in spite of borer activity.



Oystershell scale

Among the more secretive creatures in the animal world are armored scale insects. These tiny insects (less than 1/8 inch long) live under a protective cover on the leaves or bark of their host plant. Armored scales are enclosed in this cover that is constructed of wax, shed skins and other substances. 

Underneath the camouflaged cover, you can find an animal not resembling any insect you have seen: no eyes, legs or visible antennae, and its body appears to be somewhat flattened and sac-like. Words such as “bizarre” and “amazing” might come to mind in response to seeing these insects for the first time.


Houseplants are prone to a varied assortment of insect pest problems. Some of the most common are scale insects and spider mites. However, one of the easiest to recognize is the mealybug. You’ve probably seen mealybugs at one time or another on the stems or leaves of a houseplant. They look like small white puffs of cotton or fluffy deposits of white powder. They are common on African violets, Ficus, jade gardenia, poinsettia and other indoor plants. The body of each mealybug is oval and about 1/4 inch long. However, the soft, segmented body is concealed by filaments of white wax that cover the insect. The filaments extend out from the periphery of the body and may be up to 1/2 inch long.

Japanese Beetle

The Japanese beetle is a well-known pest of turfgrass and landscapes in the eastern United States. JB has been reported from 72 different counties in Iowa since 1994.  Click here to see the current distribution map.

Emerald Ash Borer

The emerald ash borer (EAB) is an invasive beetle from Asia. EAB has been found in nearly all Iowa counties and its neighboring states.  EAB larvae feed on the inner bark of ash trees and cut off the living, water, and nutrient conducting vessels, causing tree death. EAB has killed hundreds of millions of ash trees in North America and cost municipalities, property owners, nursery operators, and forest products industries hundreds of millions of dollars.