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In The Backyard

Horticulture columns and tips done on a timely basis
crabgrass

Lawn Care as we approach August

Posted by John Fulton -

Crabgrass and other annuals grass weeds can be seen about everywhere. Annual grasses which are common include the different crabgrasses, foxtails, and barnyard grass. They have been the most asked about items this past week. They will die with the first frost, so treatment is not available, or recommended, in the fall. The only exception to available treatments is the use of glyphosate (Roundup...

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verticillium wilt

Verticillium Wilt of Ornamentals

Posted by John Fulton -

Many major tree diseases cause vascular system blockage. Verticillium wilt, oak wilt, and most of the canker diseases fall into the group. Usually a fungus "plugs the pipes" so there is reduced movement of water up and food down. This leads to dead areas above the blockage. Of course, if the blockage is on the main trunk you end up with a dead tree. It is often possible to see streaking of the...

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leafhopper damage on red maple and burning bush

Potato Leafhopper Damage is Now Evident

Posted by John Fulton -

A few weeks ago, I wrote about damage from the potato leafhopper. The damage symptoms are now more evident on all types of plants. Symptoms include yellow or brown "v" shaped areas at the tips or points of leaves, possible discoloration of leaves (evident on red maples with red leaves already), and shrunken and distorted leaves – particularly on the youngest leaves. Once symptoms are no...

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bacterial wilt on squash

Wilt of Vining Crops

Posted by John Fulton -

With the growing season entering the home stretch for vining crops such as squash, pumpkins, cucumbers, and melons, there are few things worse than having your vines wilt suddenly. I've noticed the population of the striped cucumber beetles have exploded in the past few weeks. These beetles can be green, black and yellow striped, or black and yellow spotted. The importance of the beetles is not th...

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tree in water

Water Damaged Plants

Posted by John Fulton -

Most of Illinois has experienced excessive rains, which have resulted in waterlogged soils and flooding. Our area has certainly been no exception, with enough rain to make it difficult to remember how much it rained on a particular day. It is important to understand what is happening to plants growing in these conditions, and what to expect later. It is a wait-and-see situation. Many herbaceous...

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deer tick

Ticks

Posted by John Fulton -

The number of ticks has greatly increased over the past month. Just check your pet after a romp through some tall grass, and you might be amazed at the number of ticks picked up in a short time. Ticks are large, flattened mites that feed as parasites on mammals, birds and reptiles. They hatch from eggs into six-legged larvae that locate hosts and feed before dropping off the host and molting in...

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tomato early blight

Tomato Diseases

Posted by John Fulton -

Tomatoes seem to be a favorite with gardeners, as they produce an abundance of fruit. Some people grow large amounts, while others plant one or two in containers. At any rate, the calls and samples have been trickling into the office for a few weeks 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...

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fire blight on apple

Fire Blight Symptoms are Evident

Posted by John Fulton -

Apple and pear trees continue to have their problems. There is a large amount of tip dieback in some varieties, and this is probably fire blight. This would actually be the second bout for the year. 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 treatm...

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Potato leafhopper
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Insects

Posted by John Fulton -

Insects are plentiful this year. I don't think we can blame it on the mild winter, but they have great systems of survival. 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...

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Japanese beetle

Japanese Beetles

Posted by John Fulton -

A few beetles have shown up in the area. This is evident by some "window pane" feeding on favorite plants. Numbers in areas with a history of infestation have dropped dramatically over the course of about five years. Japanese beetle adults have a 1/2 to 3/4 inch long body with copper colored wing covers and a shiny metallic green head. A key characteristic is prominent white tufts of ha...

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