Poisonous to Touch Weed Series: Poison Sumac (Toxicodendron vernix)

Poison Sumac (Toxicodendron vernix) is a perennial shrub or small tree, native to eastern Canada as well as east-central and eastern United States. Like poison ivy and poison oak the leaves and berries of this plant contain urushiol (an oily mixture of organic chemical compounds); but the oil is said to be more concentrated in poison sumac. The Urushiol can cause a severe allergic reaction in sensitive … Continue reading Poisonous to Touch Weed Series: Poison Sumac (Toxicodendron vernix)

Poisonous to Touch Weed Series: Wild Parsnip (Pastinaca sativa)

Wild parsnip (Pastinaca sativa) aka poisonous parsnip is one of the phototoxic weeds we grow here in Canada. It is a non-native and as such is an aggressive and invasive species. It is the only one of the phototoxic weeds that has a yellow flower, the others bearing white umbels. It’s pinnately compound leaves are also quite different than the palmately compound leaves of cow … Continue reading Poisonous to Touch Weed Series: Wild Parsnip (Pastinaca sativa)

Poisonous to Touch Weed Series: Cow Parsnip (Heracleum maximum)

Cow Parsnip (Heracleum maximum) aka Common Parsnip or American Parsnip, is a native plant that widely grows in north America. It is a large plant rising up to heights of 1-2.5 m (3-8 ft.) when in flower. Like giant hogweed, cow parsnip contains organic chemicals within it’s sap called furanocoumarins. This chemical is activated by ultraviolet radiation and the result is severe burning, blistering and … Continue reading Poisonous to Touch Weed Series: Cow Parsnip (Heracleum maximum)

Poisonous to Touch Weed Series: Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum)

Giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) is likely the largest and most dangerous to touch perennial weed in North America. In Ontario it commonly reaches heights of 3-4.5m but in other parts of the world it can reach heights of 5.5m (MacDonald F. and Anderson H. 2012). There are a few other Giant Hogweed species that are a bit smaller in size but Heracleum mantegazzianum is the … Continue reading Poisonous to Touch Weed Series: Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum)

Poisonous to Touch Weed Series: Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans and Toxicodendron Rydbergii)

By: Kimberley Pacholko Eastern Poison Ivy, (Toxicodendron radicans) and Western Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron Rydbergii ) are important plants to learn how to identify for personal safety. Touching any part of this plant can cause a painful itchy rash with red swollen skin and painful blisters. I have had the miss fortune of being caught twice by this plant and can testify to how unpleasant the … Continue reading Poisonous to Touch Weed Series: Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans and Toxicodendron Rydbergii)

Daylily Problems

Daylilies (Hemerocallis sp.) are popular garden plants grown abundantly by home gardeners, cities and commercial properties alike. Their appeal in part is do to their long bloom time, adaptability to a wide range of growing conditions and their relative ease of maintenance. There are a few foliar problems to be aware of, and while they seldom kill the plant they can certainly mar the visual … Continue reading Daylily Problems

Mealybug Damage To Yews

Yews are a popular shrub in ornamental home gardens. Their deeply green foliage contrasts beautifully in the gardens spring, summer, fall and winter. Their slow growth habit and ability to take a hard pruning has made them a favorite for hedges and topiary for thousands of years. These beauties are also pricy and it is no wonder that homeowners want to protect their investment and … Continue reading Mealybug Damage To Yews

Juniper Blight

Juniper trees and shrubs are a popular choice in the ornamental home garden. These slow growing plants require little maintenance, are fairly drought tolerant, take full sun and are able to grow in a variety of soil types. They are fairly salt tolerant and make good road side plantings. In addition to this they are evergreens and provide year round beauty and interest to the … Continue reading Juniper Blight

Haskap Berries

An Exciting New Crop for North America ‘Haskap’ berries (Lonicera caerulea) also known as ‘Blue Honeysuckle’, and ‘Honeyberries’ are a fast growing, cold hardy, high yielding and early harvesting berry touted to be high in vitamin C, potassium and antioxidants in addition to being high in fibre (Haskap Canada Association, n.d). Their taste (while variable depending on the cultivar) is described as being a cross … Continue reading Haskap Berries

Calcium It’s Role in Soil and Plant Health

What is Calcium? Calcium is an essential plant nutrient who’s role is vital to both plant and soil health. Its presence in the soil affects everything from soil pH and soil salinity to a soils structure. Its uptake by plants is vital to cellular health where it serves to strengthen and thicken cell walls and to regulate cell permeability. Its role as secondary messenger additionally … Continue reading Calcium It’s Role in Soil and Plant Health

Planting Near A Walnut Tree

When selecting plant material for a home garden it is important to first take inventory of the trees on your property and neighbouring properties. Trees like walnut can present a real challenge for gardeners. Not only do the plants you select have to deal with shade and strong competition for water and nutrients, (as with planting near any large tree), they additionally have to contend … Continue reading Planting Near A Walnut Tree

Viburnum Leaf Beetle

Viburnum leaf beetles (Pyrrhalta viburni), are a serious threat to many species of viburnum. They are voracious feeders with a long feeding season. Both the larvae and adults feed on viburnum leaves. The larvae skeletonize the leaves while the adults chew oblong holes in them. If their numbers are great enough they can completely defoliate a viburnum shrub, causing dieback that can lead eventually to … Continue reading Viburnum Leaf Beetle

MULCH so Many Benefits and so Many Choices

Why Mulch?    Mulch adds nutrients to the soil and increases soil microbes. Soil microbes are responsible for breaking down organic matter and organic fertilizers and converting them into nutrients that the plants can easily absorb. Mulch holds in moisture, reducing watering requirements and keeps the soil at a more consistent moisture level. Mulch suppresses weeds by shutting out light and any weed seeds that do … Continue reading MULCH so Many Benefits and so Many Choices

Juniper Rust (aka) Apple Cedar Rust

Juniper Rust (Gymnosporangium juniperi-virginianae) better known as Apple Cedar Rust. Is a fungal Disease requiring 2 years and 2 host plants to complete it’s life cycle. In the first group of host trees you have Apple, Quince and Hawthorne. In the second group you have Eastern Red Cedars and many varieties of Junipers. The disease can be quite destructive and disfiguring. The disease at maturity … Continue reading Juniper Rust (aka) Apple Cedar Rust

Fire Blight In Purple Sand Cherries

Fire Blight caused by Erwinia amylovora, is a serious bacterial disease that affects purple sand cherries as well as many members of the rose family. Purple sand cherries that have been infected have the appearance of having been scorched by fire. The disease is systemic and spreads rapidly leading to extensive damage, even death. There is no cure only management. Symptoms Blossoms: at first appear water … Continue reading Fire Blight In Purple Sand Cherries