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In The Backyard

Horticulture columns and tips done on a timely basis

Bagworm Check

Posted by John Fulton -

If you haven't checked for bagworms yet, now would be a good time. Small bags have been noticed in the county for the last several weeks. Re-treatment may be necessary in some cases. Carbaryl (Sevin) will work on the smaller sized bagworms, while the B.t. products may be required for the larger ones. Remember bagworms frequently start in the tops of trees. Bagworms are the larvae of clearwing mot...

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squashbug nymph

Cucumber, Pumpkin, and Squash Insects

Posted by John Fulton -

Cucurbits are basically everything in the squash and melon families. There are several potential insect problems with them, and today's column attempts to help minimize or prevent these problems. The first group of insects is the cucumber beetles. These can be green, black and yellow striped, or black and yellow spotted. The importance of the beetles is not that they eat small holes in the leaves,...

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Pruning Evergreens

Posted by John Fulton -

This is the time of year to wrap up pruning chores on evergreens. This includes both needle-type and broadleaf evergreens. If you're wondering what a broadleaf evergreen is, that includes holly, rhododendron, and azalea. The logic behind pruning your yews at this time is to allow sufficient time for regrowth to become hardened off before winter, and to keep new growth from becoming too rank bef...

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Septoria Leaf Blight on Tomato
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Tomato Diseases

Posted by John Fulton -

It seems like the tomato is the one plant that just about everybody tries to grow. Some people grow large amounts, while others plant one or two in containers. At any rate, the calls and samples have started coming in to the office already. Most of the samples have spots, brown leaves, and dropping leaves, or all of the above. Several diseases hit tomatoes, but two of the more common ones are e...

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Pumpkins

Posted by John Fulton -

Many pumpkins are already on their way, with seeds being sown a month ago. While this practice is great for producing pumpkins for pumpkin pie and blossoms, it really doesn't work very well for producing the Halloween jack-o-lantern pumpkins. The Halloween pumpkins are best planted around Father's Day. This timing helps prevent the pumpkins from rotting before we get to the end of October....

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Garden Walk

Posted by John Fulton -

Master Gardeners will host their garden walk Saturday, June 26 from 9am until 3 pm. Six different gardens plus a container garden exhibit will be on the tour. The cost is $10 per person. The easiest place to start would be the Extension Office at 980 N. Postville Dr. in Lincoln. You can get your ticket there, view the demonstration beds at the office, and view the container garden exhibit. The...

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Mature bagworms

Bagworms

Posted by John Fulton -

The last insect to discuss is the bagworm. Bagworms are notorious pests of evergreens such as spruce trees. We're about to June 15, the traditional date for control. With the warmer spring we may run a few days ahead of normal. The idea is to have all the eggs hatched before treatment, but not wait until the bagworms are almost mature. For control, the traditional standby has been Sevin, but th...

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Potato leafhopper

Potato Leafhopper

Posted by John Fulton -

Potato leafhopper populations have exploded in the last week. These are the small, pale green, wedge-shaped insects we often see around lights at night. The main garden crop they affect is, guess this one, potatoes. They suck sap, and inject a toxin back into the plant. The first sign is a yellow "v" at the tip of the leaf. These areas then turn brown or black. Entire plants or branches can die...

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Soldier Beetle

Soldier Beetles

Posted by John Fulton -

Leatherwing beetles, or soldier beetles, are now present where linden trees are pollinating. They look like pale lightning bugs, but don't have the light. These beetles are elongate, soft-bodied and about 1/2 inch long. Colors of soldier beetles vary from yellow to red with brown or black wings or trim. A common and easily-spotted species is the Pennsylvania leatherwing, which is yellow with on...

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Earwig

Earwigs

Posted by John Fulton -

One insect of note with the wet weather is the earwig. Earwigs tend to be in high organic areas, as they feed primarily on dead insects and plant material. However, they can and do eat live plant material such as marigolds, zinnias, strawberries, and others. They may be a prime suspect if you notice damage, but never see any insects during the day. Control can be obtained with insecticides such as...

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fire blight on apple

Fire Blight of Pear and Apple

Posted by John Fulton -

Apple and pear trees are also having their problems. There is a large amount of tip dieback in some varieties, and this is probably fire blight. Look for a shepherd's crook at the tip of the affected areas as a clue it is fire blight. Fire blight is a bacterial disease, therefore there is little chance for you to treat it. The common treatment in commercial operations is streptomycin, but it ha...

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American Dog Tick
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Ticks

Posted by John Fulton -

Tick numbers seem to be off the chart this year. Anyone who has been out in tall grass or wooded areas can probably attest to that. Probably, the frequent spring rains in much of the state have provided the high moisture and humidity that ticks need. Ticks are large, flattened mites that feed as parasites on mammals, birds and reptiles. They hatch from eggs into six-legged larvae that locate ho...

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