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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Spot check: look for tomato diseases now



Tomato leaf spot diseases are just beginning to appear on Minnesota tomato plants. Haven’t seen them yet? Take a closer look.

M. Grabowski, UMN Extension Educator

Most leaf spot diseases in tomato overwinter in the soil and then splash on to the lower leaves of the plant. As a result the first leaf spots can be found on the lowest leaves. To find them you may have to push aside the upper leaves and peer down at the leaves closest to the ground.
 
Young tomato plant with lower leaves infected with a leaf spot disease.
M. Grabowski, UMN Extension

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Be on alert for squash vine borers in your garden

Jeffrey Hahn, Extension Entomologist

Male and female squash vine borers on a date.  But make no
mistake, they are looking for your garden when they're done. 
Photo: Jeff Hahn, University of Minnesota Extension
If you are growing squash or pumpkins in your garden be on the watch for squash vine borers. They are beginning to emerge and may be in your garden soon!

Adult squash vine borers are wasp-like moths that are active during the day. They are about 1/2 inch long with an orange abdomen with black dots. The first pair of wings is an iridescent green while the back pair of wings, which is sometimes hidden, is clear.

There are a couple of methods for detecting them. Watch for them flying around while you are in your garden; they are conspicuous and easily noticed.

You can also place yellow containers (like pans or pails) half filled with soapy water. These moths are attracted to yellow; when they fly to the container, they fall in to the water. Then just check the container for moths.

As soon as you spot one squash vine borer, start management. If you don’t see any but have a history of these pests in your garden, take action by late June or early July (the further north you are located, the later the moths will emerge).

The larvae are a serious problem; they cause wilting and eventually death to plants. You can exclude the adults from laying eggs by using a floating row cover. There are also a variety of insecticides that you can apply, such as permethrin or carbaryl, to help discourage them.

For more information, including management, see Squash vine borer management in home gardens.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Get Smart & Save $$ watering your landscape this summer!

Gail Hudson, Extension Communications Specialist


Do you have an electronic controller for your yard and garden's irrigation system? Save money for your summer vacation and install a Smart Controller!

Smart Controller's are easy to install and operate (using a phone app). You can water your landscape based on the weather (Will it rain today? Did it rain yesterday?) and how much moisture there is in the soil.

Extension Educators and Turf Specialists Sam Bauer and Brian Horgan walk you through the basics in this excerpt from "Green Grass With Less Blue," a joint video project with the University of Minnesota Extension and the Metropolitan Council.

Water less and save more!


Aggressive weed challenges MN gardeners: Japanese knotweed

Mary Hockenberry Meyer, Extension Horticulturist
Gail Hudson, Extension Communication Specialist

Japanese knotweed plants produce female flowers and need a pollen source.
However, the plant spreads primarily through rhizomes (underground stems).
Photo: Mn Dept of Agriculture

Is it the buckthorn of weeds? Beware, this weed is so aggressive, it can even damage pavement! 

This large, fast-growing, shrub-like plant is commonly called Japanese knotweed or Mexican bamboo (Polygonum cuspidatum), which can grow from 3 to 9 feet tall with leaves that are six inches long and four inches across.

It is a tough weed to control thanks to its large system of fleshy, underground rhizomes (stems) as big or bigger than your finger, which can extend up to 5 feet from the plant.  Above ground, the hollow, bamboo-like stems can become tough and woody with age.

Learn how to control or reduce its presence by clicking on "Read more"...

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Ants in turf

Jeffrey Hahn, Extension Entomologist

Ants in lawns has been a common question lately. This insect is one of the most common insects we see in our landscape. Although they do not injure or kill turf, they can be a nuisance from their presence.

Field ants nesting around  a basketball hoop. They are not
injuring the grass but some may find this a nuisance and
unacceptable.  Photo: Jocelyn McDonald


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Watch out for Lyme disease!

Jeffrey Hahn, Extension Entomologist

Blacklegged (deer) ticks.  Top row: adult male and female.
Bottom row: immature nymphs.  Their small size, especially the
nymphs, makes it more difficult to see them and more likely to be
exposed to Lyme disease. Photo: Jim Occi, Bug Pics, Bugwood.org
Although you can encounter blacklegged ticks (also known as deer ticks) nearly any month of the year, June and July are the times of highest risk for becoming infected with Lyme disease. That is because summer is when the immature nymphs are active.

 Because of their very small size, it is easier to be bitten and not know it.
Learn about ticks--where they live and the symptoms of Lyme disease. Just click on "Read more."

Friday, June 1, 2018

Video: Are you over watering your lawn? Most people do, and don't even know it!

Save water, lower your bill and help the environment

Gail Hudson, Extension Communication Specialist

Photo: Gail Hudson, UMN Extension
Summer has quickly arrived, and already we've turned on our irrigation systems...leaving them to run throughout the season.  Typically, these systems are set on an odd-even schedule. But are you watering too much?

Click on "Read more" for the video...
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