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In The Backyard

Horticulture columns and tips done on a timely basis
Soldier Beetle

What Looks Like a Lightning Bug With No Light - the Soldier Beetle

Posted by John Fulton -

As linden trees are shedding pollen, that means the leatherwing beetles – or soldier beetles are with us. 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 yell...

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fall webworm

Fall Webworms - in June

Posted by John Fulton -

This is one of those years where it looks like we will have two generations of the fall webworm. Fall webworms live inside a "web" all the time. They actually expand the webbing as they need to have more leaves to eat. They are usually worst on fruit and nut trees. You can even clip the nest (and the branch it is around) off the tree and burn it. I guess this tells you that defoliation caused b...

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Pruning Evergreens

Posted by John Fulton -

This is the time of year, the last half of June, to prune 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 evergreens at this time is to allow sufficient time for regrowth to become hardened off before winter, and to keep new growth from becoming to...

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Mature bagworms

Bagworms

Posted by John Fulton -

Bagworms are an insect that conjures up images for many people. There are bagworms, and there are other larvae that live in a bag for at least part of their life cycle. We have bagworms, Eastern Tent Caterpillar, and Fall Webworms. For the true "bagworm," the insect that constructs a small bag like an ice cream cone from the leaf material of the tree or shrub it is on, the year-in and year-out...

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Growing Pumpkins for Halloween

Posted by John Fulton -

The primary use of pumpkins grown at home is for the Halloween symbols that we have come to know. The correct time to seed pumpkins for use at the end of October is around June 15, or Father's Day. Earlier seeded pumpkins tend to mature earlier and are rotten by the time you want to display them. Make sure you keep plants, especially new runners, treated for vine borers. Beetles that can transmit...

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mosquito

Mosquitoes and West Nile Virus

Posted by John Fulton -

With the first confirmed mosquito carrying West Nile Virus (WNV) in Illinois, it's time to examine the disease potential – and what can be done to prevent it. With the extremely wet weather we have had this year, being outside is not very pleasant about dusk. The mosquito numbers are becoming rather large, and WNV is of particular concern again this year. WNV was first isolated in Uganda, Afric...

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anthracnose on red maple

Tree Leaf Diseases Accelerate

Posted by John Fulton -

As mentioned a few weeks ago, fungal leaf diseases were present. They are now making their presence felt with a vengeance. These diseases infected trees and shrubs earlier, and they have continued to develop rapidly. Some trees are now to the point of being, well, leafless. Anthracnose is the number one fungal disease of good quality shade trees, and apple scab is hitting apples and cra...

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