Oak Sawflies

Oak Sawflies are tiny fly-like, nonstinging wasps. The short-lived adults feed on pollen and nectar and do not cause any feeding damage, but their caterpillar-like larvae, on mass, can create extensive damage to oak canopies. There are several species of Oak Sawflies such as scarlet oak sawfly (Caliroa quercuscoccineae) which is native to the eastern United States and feeds on white oak, scarlet oak, pin … Continue reading Oak Sawflies

Yellowing Yews

Yellowing Yews (Taxus spp.) can be caused by a variety of things such as the soil being too wet or too dry, disease, insect pests, winter desiccation, salt damage, snow damage, animal grazing, animal urine, transplant shock, nutritional deficiency or too high or too low of a soil pH. Properly diagnosing the problem takes a little detective work. To complicate things, it is also quite … Continue reading Yellowing Yews

Pear Slugs (Caliroa cerasi) on Purple Leaved Sand Cherry

Pear slugs or pear sawfly (Caliroa cerasi), are also known as cherry slugs. They are pests of several fruit trees primarily pear and cherry (including purple leaved sand cherry), but also plum, quince, serviceberry, Juneberry and occasionally apple. They also feed on a few ornamentals such as cotoneaster, hawthorn, buttonbush, and mountain ash. Pear slugs are not actually slugs but rather the slug-like larvae of a … Continue reading Pear Slugs (Caliroa cerasi) on Purple Leaved Sand Cherry

Tar Spot on Maple Leaves

Tar spot is a common fungal disease of maple trees. The fungus attacks maple leaves in the spring causing pale spots that continue to grow in size, turning yellow then eventually to raised black spots by fall. The black spots look like spots of tar on the leaves, and thus its name. There are several species of tar spot that affect maples, with the 3 … Continue reading Tar Spot on Maple Leaves

Hydrangea Wood Borers

Hydrangea Wood Borers tunnel through the inside of stems, branches, trunks and larger roots, damaging the vascular system that is essential for the transportation of food and water for the plant. This causes wilting and yellow of leaves as well as branch and stem dieback. In small numbers they are easy to control simply by pruning back affected wood to healthy tissue. In large numbers … Continue reading Hydrangea Wood Borers

Vole Problems in Ornamental Gardens, Lawns, Orchards and Vegetable Gardens

Voles are small mouse-like rodents that can be highly destructive to lawns, ornamental gardens, vegetable gardens, orchards, forests and some field crops. They tunnel around underground creating an elaborate network of tunnels from which they use to feed on roots, tubers, and bulbs. Above ground they feed on seeds, berries, fruits, vegetables, herbs, grasses and other vegetation. In the fall they switch to eating the … Continue reading Vole Problems in Ornamental Gardens, Lawns, Orchards and Vegetable Gardens

Rudbeckias

Rudbeckias with their daisy-like flowers and long blooming time are real work horses in the mid-summer to mid-fall gardens. They are all native to North America, easy to grow and relatively disease and pest free. There are 25 species in all with many varieties and cultivars offering a range of colours from bright yellow, through to orange, even red, burgundy and bi-coloured. Height can range … Continue reading Rudbeckias

Fasciation Causes Unusual Growth of Flowers, Stems, or Fruit

The word fasciation comes from the Latin word fascia, to fuse, and that is often what this growth abnormality looks like. Affected stems, fruit or flowers appear as though 2 or more have been fused or banded together. At times the unusual new growth looks quite spectacular and unique, and breeders attempt to reproduce the effect. At other times affected plant material appears grotesque and … Continue reading Fasciation Causes Unusual Growth of Flowers, Stems, or Fruit

Powdery Mildew Verses Downy Mildew

Two common diseases in both vegetable gardens and ornamental gardens are powdery mildew and downy mildew. While the two diseases have many similarities the pathogen is different, symptoms are expressed differently, and each flourish in different types of environmental conditions. Learning to prevent and recognize the symptoms of each disease is key to managing these destructive diseases. Powdery Mildew Powdery mildew is a fungal disease … Continue reading Powdery Mildew Verses Downy Mildew

Japanese Knotweed

Japanese Knotweed (Reynoutria japonica), formerly Fallopia Japonica, is one of the most invasive weeds in the world. It produces extensive and powerful networks of rhizomes below the soil surface, so powerful that they can damage foundations and building structures, not to mention choke out other vegetation. The rhizomes burrow down up to 3 m (10ft.) in depth and span between 2 to 7 m (7-23 … Continue reading Japanese Knotweed

Lily Beetles

Lily Beetles (Lilioceris lilii) are a damaging pest insect for lily (Lilium spp.) growers. The pest chews on the leaves, flowers and stem leaving them looking ragged. If the pest numbers are high enough complete defoliation can occur. Early detection and vigilance are key to managing this pest naturally. Damage to Plants Both the larvae and the adults feed on mainly Asiatic lilies and fritillaries. … Continue reading Lily Beetles

Four-lined Plant Bug

Four-lined Plant Bugs (Poecilocapsus lineatus) are small and fairly attractive insects, but they are capable of quickly creating extensive damage to many herbs and ornamental plants in the garden. This is largely due to the powerful digestive enzymes contained in their saliva, which is injected into the plant tissue while they are feeding. Most of the damage occurs to the newest growth, on the tips … Continue reading Four-lined Plant Bug

Cut Worms in Home Gardens

Cutworms are a destructive pest insect of a wide variety of plant material. Many home gardeners have encountered them in the vegetable garden, where they chew through the stems of their seedlings, cutting them off near the soil line. There are hundreds of species of cutworms and appearances can vary, as well as habitat, food preferences and life cycle. There are however several general characteristics, … Continue reading Cut Worms in Home Gardens

Creeping Red Fescue For Shady Turf Areas

Growing turf grass in shady areas under and around large trees is certainly challenging. Especially trees like Maples that root close to the surface and drink up a lot of water all season long. A good turf choice in these areas is Creeping Red Fescue (Festuca rubra). Creeping Red Fescue prefers to dry out a bit between watering, requires less fertilizer, has a high tolerance … Continue reading Creeping Red Fescue For Shady Turf Areas

Ornamental Garden Calendar for May

May is one of the busiest and exciting times in the garden. The days are getting warmer and longer. Plants are quickly filling out, weeds are establishing, and insects are buzzing all around. The trees are breaking out in leaf and spring flowering trees and shrubs are putting on their show. Mid May is also when we here in southern Ontario typically begin planting out … Continue reading Ornamental Garden Calendar for May

Slugs and Snails in the Ornamental Garden

Most people are familiar with these slimy pests, that cause extensive damage to gardens, both ornamental and food. Slugs and snails while thought of as insects to most gardeners, are actually invertebrate animals known as molluscs or mollusks (along with oysters, clams and squid). They have been around for about 500 million years (BYJU’S, (n.d.)) with about 85,000 known species (Wikipedia, (rev.  9 April 2022)). … Continue reading Slugs and Snails in the Ornamental Garden