The UConn Home & Garden Education Center has been posting weekly blogs on a variety of horticultural topics since 2009. Over the years, contributors have included UConn faculty, staff, students and even a few guest columnists, each providing their unique takes on what’s happening in their yards and gardens, the latest horticultural happenings, ways to deal with plant pests, gardens of merit, and much more. This year the UConn Ladybug Blog won a Silver Award from Garden Comm 2022 Media Awards! Their submission was among 165 entries evaluated by a team of distinguished judges with both gardening and communications expertise. Check out their blog at their new website: www.homegarden.cahnr.uconn.edu.
UConn Home and Garden Education Center
Job Opening: Educational Program Assistant
The University of Connecticut is seeking applicants for a full-time position as Educational Program Assistant 1. The ideal candidate is a dynamic and engaged individual with a strong interest in finding horticultural solutions and a passion for communicating with the public. This position has 80% effort in support of the Home and Garden Education Center (HGEC) and affiliated service laboratories, and 20% effort in support of communications for the Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture (PSLA). The HGEC is part of UConn Extension and this person will be the main point of contact for the Plant Diagnostic Lab, Turfgrass Disease Diagnostic Center, and the Soil Nutrient Analysis Lab. The selected candidate will join a team of exemplary staff and faculty members in the HGEC that strive to identify and educate the public and private entities on environmentally sustainable and economically feasible solutions for commercial and residential horticultural issues. The selected candidate would also be a member of and primary communications staff person for the Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, which is recognized for service to Connecticut through graduate and undergraduate education, outstanding public outreach programs associated with formal extension and engaged scholarship, and nationally competitive research programs.
What is that Brown Bug in my House?
Deer Damage and Control
Deer damage or feed on a wide variety of fruits and vegetables such as cole crops, lettuce, grapes, corn, pumpkins, berries, tomatoes, fruit trees and other plants. Because white-tailed deer lack upper incisor teeth, the damaged leaves and twigs or stems have jagged edges, compared with a clean-cut surface left by rodents and rabbit feeding. Vegetables are readily eaten and entire gardens may be destroyed. Sweet corn tips are eaten, including the silk and one to two inches of the ear but occasionally plants are grazed to the ground. In addition, deer trample many crops as they move about the field.
Deer are active in Connecticut year-round. Breeding occurs from October to December. Fawns are born in May and June weighing about eight pounds at birth and increasing in weight over the next six to seven years. Peak feeding activity occurs in early morning and late evening; thus, deer may damage the garden without being seen. Damage by deer in Connecticut is increasing as residential development forces deer into smaller and smaller habitats and wild food sources decrease.
Deer are protected during all times of the year except various hunting seasons or by obtaining special crop damage permits. All methods of destroying deer such as using traps, poisons, toxic baits, etc. are dangerous to domestic animals and individuals and may result in liability for damage and poor public relations. Read more….
The full fact sheet with control techniques is available.
Holiday Plant Care
Did you receive a plant during this holiday season? Poinsettia, holiday cactus and rosemary trees are filling the shelves in greenhouses, grocery stores and even big box stores appealing to the giver to gift a plant lover on their list. While they are beautiful plants, they will need the correct care to keep them that way and in good health.
The familiar red foliage of the poinsettia plant are modified leaves called bracts. They surround the actual small, yellow flower at the center of the red bracts. Once the pollen from the flowers are shed, the bracts are dropped from the plant. Chose plants with little to no pollen for the bracts to be retained for a longer length of time. Plant breeders are developing different colored bracts, including variegated, offering many options than just red. Read more…
Article by Carol Quish of the UConn Home and Garden Center
Gardening Tips for November
Gardening Tips for November
- Cut back perennials that were covered in powdery mildew during the summer. Cut stalks to the ground and dispose of them. Image by Dow Gardens, Bugwood.org.
- Once the ground has frozen (but before it snows), mulch fall planted perennials by placing 3 to 5 inches of pine needles, straw, chopped leaves around them.
- Contact your local garden club for a list of upcoming programs or sign up for a workshop, lecture, or course at your local garden center or through the UConn Master Gardener Program.
- Avoid chilling houseplants by moving them away from windows as nights get colder.
- Trim existing asparagus foliage to the ground after the first hard frost and mulch beds.
- Asian lady beetles and brown marmorated stink bugs may enter the home to overwinter. Use weather stripping or caulking to keep them out.
- After the ground freezes, mulch small fruit plants such as strawberries. One inch of straw or chopped leaves is ideal for strawberries. Small branches may be used to keep mulch in place.
- Continue to thoroughly water trees, shrubs, lawn areas and planting beds during dry spells until the soil freezes.
- Cut back most perennials to 3-4 inches. Sedum, rudbeckia, asters, and ornamental grasses can be left to provide winter interest and food for the birds.
For more information visit our UConn Home and Garden Education Center.
One of the most common plant-problems we see in the lab is interveinal chlorosis. This issue can affect house plants and garden vegetables, to landscape trees and shrubs. We often get inquires about the plant-tissue analysis we offer in the soil testing lab as a means to identify various problems. While this is an extremely useful tool for diagnosing nutrient deficiencies, when we see a plant showing interveinal chlorosis, we usually check the soil test results first.
What is interveinal chlorosis? A good place to start is defining what chlorophyll is. Greek for green leaf, chlorophyll is the pigment in plants that gives them their green color, and traps the light necessary for photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the process in which plants produce sugar from light energy. The chlorophyll molecule is held together by a central Magnesium ion. Interveinal Chlorosis is a yellowing of the tissue between the veins of a leaf due to the decline of chlorophyll production and activity. A give-away tell of interveinal chlorosis is that the veins generally retain their green color, hence the name, interveinal. When a plant cannot produce chlorophyll it loses its green color and could face stunted growth, fail to produce fruit and flowers, and eventually die.
What causes interveinal chlorosis? The quick version is nutrient deficiency. We already know that Magnesium is a central part in chlorophyll, but there are other essential elements like Iron, Manganese, and Molybdenum that are necessary in many enzyme activities, and a deficiency in one of these nutrients can lead to interveinal chlorosis. In our lab we most commonly see interveinal chlorosis caused by a lack of Iron or Magnesium. When thinking about a nutrient deficiency, it’s important to remember that there are other factors to take into account than just whether the nutrient is present in your growing media. Interveinal Chlorosis brought on by a nutrient deficiency can be caused by a pH imbalance, injured roots or poor root growth, and excessive amounts of other available nutrients in your growing media.
How can you get rid of interveinal chlorosis? We are available in the lab, and in the Home & Garden education center to help you figure out what’s causing your interveinal chlorosis. Once you determine what the cause is, fixing the problem shouldn’t be too difficult. Most of the time it’s a pH issue. If your soil is too alkaline, generally having a pH value of over 6.7, iron becomes more insoluble and less available for absorption. Soil pH can be corrected using a few different approaches, the most common method for acidifying soil is adding Sulfur. Generally, 1 lb Sulfur/100 sq ft will lower pH ~ 1 unit. Nutrient deficiencies can also be remedied using foliar and trunk applications, as well as soil treatments amendments.
More information on diagnosing and remedying interveinal chlorosis can be found through the UConn Home & Garden Education Center and the UConn Soil Nutrient Analysis Lab. Information on foliar fertilization can be found here.
Originally published by the UConn Home & Garden Education Center
10 Tips for the October Gardener
- Dig and store tender bulbs, corms, rhizomes, and tubers in a cool, dark, place.
- Remove plant debris from the flowerbeds. Bag any diseased plant parts and put it in the trash or take it to a landfill but do not compost.
- Take a scenic drive to observe the changing fall foliage. The CT DEEP has fall foliage driving routes for Connecticut.
- Rosemary is not hardy in most areas of Connecticut. Bring plants in before temperatures drop too low but check plants thoroughly for insects such as mealybugs. Rinse the foliage, remove the top layer of the soil surface, and wipe down containers.
- Squash and pumpkins should be harvested when they have bright color and a thick, hard skin. These vegetables will be
abundant in farmer’s markets and will make a colorful and healthy addition to fall dinners.
- As tomatoes end their production cut down plants and pick up any debris and put in the trash or take to a landfill. Many diseases will over-winter on old infected leaves and stems, so these are best removed from the property.
- Remove, bag and trash any Spongy moth, Bagworm, or Eastern tent caterpillar egg masses or spray them with a commercial horticultural oil to smother them.
- Cold-hardy fruit trees including Honeycrisp and Cortland apples, Reliance peach, Superior plum, most pawpaws and American persimmon can still be planted into October. Continue to water until the ground freezes hard.
- Outwit hungry squirrels and chipmunks by planting bulbs in established groundcovers.
- Drain garden hoses and store in a shed, garage, or basement for the winter. Turn off all outside faucets at the inside shut-off valve, turn on the outside faucet to drain any water left in them, and then shut them off.
For more October gardening tips, visit the Home and Garden Education Center resources, or one of our nine Extension Master Gardener offices statewide.
Article: UConn Home and Garden Education Center
10 Tips for the August Gardener
Ten Tips for the August Gardener
Click on highlighted links for additional information.
- Fertilize perennials with a 5-10-5 or 5-10-10 product to encourage continued blooming.
- Scout for C-shaped notches on the edges of the leaves of your perennials such as dahlias, roses, basil or coleus that are caused by Asiatic beetle feeding.
- Houseplants can dry out quicker in the heat and extra sunlight of summer. Check them frequently to evaluate their moisture needs.
- Keep an eye out for insect, slug, and snail damage throughout the garden. Use the controls in our fact sheet Snails and Slugs.
- Remove old plants that have stopped producing to eliminate a shelter for insects and disease organisms. Replant sites with chard, quick maturing beans or cucumbers, leafy greens etc.
- Even though tomatoes continue to ripen after picking, fruits develop greatest flavor when allowed to ripen on plants. The exception is cherry tomatoes since many varieties are prone to splitting. Pick any almost ripe ones before a heavy rain.
- Pick up, bag, and trash (do not compost) any dropped apples that show signs of apple maggot.
- Think about what fruits trees you might like to add to your yard this fall. Some suggestions for native plants may be found at Trees and Shrubs: Suggested Native Species for Pollinators.
- Reseeding the lawn in late August gives the new grass two growing periods (fall and spring) before the heat of summer. Be sure to keep the seed moist until germination.
- Fruiting plants such as winterberry, holly, and firethorn need regular watering during dry spells to ensure that berries mature and don’t drop off.
For more information visit the UConn Home and Garden Education Center or email firstname.lastname@example.org.