BYGL Weekly News for May 20, 2019

The following articles were compiled during the last 7 days by members of the Extension, Nursery, Landscape, Turf (ENLT) team to benefit those who are managing a commercial nursery, garden center, or landscape business or someone who just wants to keep their yard looking good all summer.  Access the BYGL website for additional information on other seasonal topics at:


For more pictures and information, click on the article titles.  To contact the authors, click on their names.



Rhododendrons – Azaleas; Reality Art!

Authors Thomas deHaas

Published on May 20, 2019



Rhododendrons – Azaleas; Reality Art!


Rhododendrons and Azaleas are blooming in Northeast Ohio. They come in almost all the colors of the rainbow! Azaleas have been blooming in northeast Ohio since April 8th starting with Cornell’s Pink, a deciduous Azalea variety.


The first of the evergreen Rhododendrons to bloom was Rhododendron PJM, which was in full bloom April 19th. Rhododendron Olga Mezzit followed on April 22nd (But this was in Columbus).


Our Rhododendron in Northeast Ohio are just coming into bloom like Rhododendron Yaku Princess which starts pink as a bud but opens white.


Now in mid-May, Evergreen Azaleas are in full bloom like Azalea Herbert, a lavender and Azalea Stewartsonia, a bright Red.


Rhododendron English Roseum and Rhododendron Roseum Elegans are also blooming.


However, don’t forget the deciduous Azaleas calendulaceum – Flame Azalea and Azalea Klondike with yellow flowers.


Just remember, Right plant, right place. Rhododendrons and azaleas thrive in moist, well-drained slightly acid soil and prefer partial shade or protection from add day direct sunlight.


Enjoy nature’s artistic rainbow of colors.





Yellow Fields Forever

Authors Joe Boggs

Published on May 18, 2019



The dichotomous nature of cressleaf groundsel (a.k.a. butterweed) (Packera glabella; syn. Senecio glabellus) tests the tolerance of lovers of native wildflowers.  On one hand, a sea of golden-yellow flowers carpeting farm fields in Ohio provides welcome relief from highway monotony.  On the other hand, upright 2 – 3′ tall plants dominating Ohio landscapes presents a weed management challenge.


Cressleaf groundsel is so-named because its lower leaves resemble watercress.  Its alternate common name of butterweed comes from its conspicuous buttery yellow flowers.


Cressleaf goundsel is a winter annual meaning that seeds germinate in late summer to early fall.  Members of this sneaky group of weeds grow throughout the winter and flower in the spring.  Winter annuals aren’t much of a problem for farmers who plow in the spring because entire plants are plowed under.  However, cressleaf groundsel growing in hay fields is a different matter.


The leaves, stems, flowers, and seeds contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids that can cause liver damage if consumed by livestock.  The resulting chronic disease is called “seneciosis” from the alternate name for the genus.  Normally, livestock will avoid eating cressleaf groundsel; however, they may accidentally ingest dried plants if the plants or plant parts are harvested with hay.


A close look at the golden-yellow cressleaf groundsel clearly shows why it’s a member of the aster family (Asteraceae).  Each flower has a central composite cluster of disc flowers surrounded by up to 15 florets radiating like a star.  Indeed, “aster” comes from the Greek name for “star.”


The flowers are borne at the ends of thick, erect, deeply ridged green stems that are sometimes streaked in reddish-purple.  Seedheads look like miniature dandelion puff-balls which is no accident; dandelions (Taraxacum spp.) also belong to the aster family.


Vast expanses of cressleaf groundsel in full flower may draw the misplaced ire of allergy sufferers.  However, if you’re suffering sneezing fits, the answer, my friend, isn’t blowin’ in the wind.  The sticky, large pollen grains are too heavy to be moved by anything other than insects.  Cressleaf groundsel is actually considered to be an important early spring source of nectar for bees and other pollinators.


A Word from Management

Winter annuals can become a serious problem for landscape and nursery managers created by an over-dependence on pre-emergent herbicides applied in the spring to control weeds.  Preemergent herbicides used to target the spring seeds of summer annuals (e.g. crabgrass) do not remain effective long enough to suppress winter annual seed germination.  This allows winter annuals to escape to reappear as unwelcomed harbingers of spring each year.


Of course, if cressleaf groundsel is misbehaving, this winter annual can be easily removed right now and seed production reduced by hand-pulling or cultivation.  “Burn-down” herbicides such as pelargonic acid (e.g. Scythe) are also effective.


However, various reports indicate cressleaf groundsel may have some tolerance for glyphosate (e.g. Roundup), so high rates are required.  Indeed, there is speculation that perhaps the rise of cressleaf groundsel in recent years has occurred through herbicide-induced “un-natural selection.”  In other words, one person’s weed management program is another person’s wildflower proliferation program.


Another Yellow Flower Rocketing Skyward

The yellow-flowering garden yellowrocket (Barbarea vulgaris) is a non-native invasive biennial weed that is also on the rise at this time of the year and may be found mixed with cressleaf groundsel.  Yellowrocket belongs to the mustard family (Brassicaceae), so it is a prolific seed producer.


Plants spend the first year in the vegetative stage as tightly clustered rosettes of prostrate leafy stems that are often hard to spot lurking beneath other plants.  The weed shows its true colors the second year when it enters the reproductive stage.  Abundant clusters of tiny, bright yellow four-petaled flowers borne atop hairless, stout, light green to reddish purple flower stalks appear to “rocket” above 1-2′ tall rounded, bushy plants.





Fiery Eye-Candy

Authors Joe Boggs

Published on May 17, 2019



I came across one of the most striking beetles today that you’ll ever find in Ohio.  The fittingly named Fiery Searcher Caterpillar Hunter (Calosoma scrutator) is best described as beauty with a bite.


Their beauty is clearly on display with deeply grooved metallic green elytra edged in lustrous reddish-orange.  The elytra are actually hardened front wings that protect the abdomen and membranous hind wings.  All beetles share this general body plan as described in the name Coleoptera:  coleo = sheath; ptera = wing.


The eye-candy continues with a dark blue prothoracic shield that is edged by a radiant ring of copper-orange.  This flame-like motif is responsible for the “fiery” in the common name.


However, I believe the most colorful display is revealed by flipping the beetle over to expose a carnival glass-like mix of green and reddish-copper that plays off the vibrant colors of the long legs best described as dark blue fading into electric-violet.  You need a color-wheel to give accurate names to the range of colors displayed beneath this colorful beetle.


The bite of this predacious beetle comes from their powerful, sickle-shaped mandibles.  Fiery searchers hunt down and feast on free-range caterpillar meat as well as any other soft-bodied insect they can clamp their mandibles on; thus the “caterpillar hunter” part of their common name.


Fiery searcher caterpillar hunters live for 2 to 3 years spending the winter beneath bark or in the soil.  They are one of the largest “ground beetles” (family Carabidae) found in Ohio measuring around 1 1/4″ in length.  These large meat eaters are one of our more significant insect predators with the capability of having a substantial impact on the population densities of general defoliators.


Their large size and obvious hunting equipment which includes long legs, big eyes (The better to see you with, my dear!), as well as obvious mandibles (The better to eat you with, my dear!) makes the fiery searcher a perfect model for teaching about insect predators.  Of course, you should use pictures, not live specimens because they bite.  They’re miniature wolves after all.





The European Paper Wasp Conundrum

Authors Joe Boggs  Curtis E. Young  Dave Shetlar

Published on May 17, 2019



European paper wasps (Polistes dominula) have presented a conundrum over the past several years in Ohio.  The literature notes these wasps were first found in North America in the 1970s near Boston, MA.   They are now found throughout much of the U.S. and parts of Canada.


These highly aggressive colonizers exploded onto the Ohio scene between 2000 and 2010 to become the dominant paper wasp found in our state.  They were a frequent topic during our weekly BYGL conference calls with Dave Shetlar and Curtis Young reporting high populations in central and western Ohio and I commonly found them in Greater Cincinnati.


In fact, we had real concerns this non-native would eventually supplant our native wasps including the northern paper wasp, P. fuscatus, and the native wasp, P. annularis.  At one point, it became difficult to find these native wasps.


However, the reverse has become true in recent years.  I talked with Dave and Curtis to compare notes and we’ve all observed the same thing.  Our native paper wasps have become more common, but the European papers wasps are becoming harder to find.  We have no explanation for the apparent reversal of fortune for the European interlopers.


That’s why I was so surprised to find the nest that’s pictured in the lead image for this Alert in a local park this past Wednesday.  In fact, the wasps almost found me!  The nest was at eye-level, but I didn’t notice them until I was only about a foot away.


My concern was justified.  European paper wasps gained a deserved reputation for being very aggressive.  This coupled with their propensity to build nests in locations where we generally don’t find native paper wasps, such as in dense shrubbery, inside railings and mailboxes, and inside the bases of light poles, frequently brought them into stinging conflicts with people.


However, the European invaders do share several traits with our native paper wasps.  Winter is spent as fertilized females in protected locations.  The lone over-wintered females start building their paper nests in the spring.  They use their powerful mandibles to grind-up fibers gathered from dead wood and plant stems which they mix with their saliva to extrude the water-resistant paper used to construct their nests.  They are soon joined by their off-spring including new queens which all join in to gather food and expand the nest.  They only use their paper nests for one season and new nest-building is occurring right now.


As with our natives, the European paper wasps are both pollinators and predators.  They are frequently found visiting flowers.  Look closely at the soon-appearing blooms of bottlebrush buckeye (Aesculus parviflora) and later in the season at the blooms of common goldenrod (Solidago canadensis).


They also gather and grind-up various “meat items” with their powerful mandibles to provide a protein-rich slurry to their helpless grub-like young developing in the paper nest cells.  The meat may include caterpillars, sawfly larvae, and other soft-bodied insects which makes them important predators.  In fact, some researchers have noted the Europeans may have a wider meat palate compared to our natives which could account for their rapid population expansions at the expense of our natives.


Please Report Your Observations


We would like to gauge the current status of European paper wasps in Ohio as well as elsewhere.  However, we need your help.


We would like for you to be on the lookout for these non-natives, but please note that European paper wasps bare a remarkable resemblance to yellowjackets; they are paper wasps wrapped in yellowjacket clothing.  In fact, their black and yellow markings caused them to be frequently mistaken for yellowjackets.  However, yellowjackets tend to be smaller with shorter legs and more robust bodies.  They also construct enclosed paper nests rather than the open nests built by paper wasps.


If you observe European paper wasps, please drop me an e-mail message with the exact location, the situation (nest or wasp), and an estimated number such as “several on a nest” or “lone wasp on flowers.”  Pictures would be hugely helpful … if you can safely take them!


Just click on my name at the top of this Alert to get my e-mail address.




Tree of the Week – Carolina Silverbell

Authors Amy Stone

Published on May 17, 2019



Carolina silverbell (Halesia carolina) in bloom is a sight to behold. Its delicate white bell-shaped flowers hang down from 1/2 to 1 inch stalks in 2 to 5 flower clusters. While you can enjoy at all angles, my favorite is from underneath looking up as shown in the photo below.


As the spring progresses, flowers fall to the ground below carpeting the ground with the white flowers. The fruit that appears is oblong, 4-winged, dry drupe that will persist into the fall and occasionally into the winter.


This tree is a medium grower and will usually top off at 30 – 40 feet tall and 20 – 35 feet wide. The national champion tree is located at the Great Smokey Mountains National Park in Tennessee and is over 100 feet tall and 40 feet wide.


The plant does prefer a rich, well-drained soil with a pH range of 5 to 6, high in organic matter. Leaves can become chlorotic in high pH soils. The tree will do well in sun or part-shade.


More Information

Missouri Botanical Garden, Plant Finder…

University of Kentucky

Illinois Wildflowers




Bladdergall Enlightenment

Authors Joe Boggs

Published on May 16, 2019



My introduction to the wonderful world of plant galls began with observing vibrant red, wart‑like galls, known as “bladdergalls,” adorning the upper leaf surfaces of a silver maple tree.  The galls consist entirely of plant tissue and are produced under the plant gene-manipulating direction of the Maple Bladdergall Mite, Vasates quadripedes (family Eriophyidae).  I’m probably not alone with this being the first gall ever encountered.


Of course, mine is a cautionary tale.  I did not know that maple bladdergalls are a gateway-gall; they can lead to a serious hard-core gall-addiction.  It took me years to muster the courage to say this:  my name is Joe Boggs and I’m a gall-oholic.


The eriophyid responsible for maple bladdergalls only produces this type gall and no other.  The equally common maple spindle galls, which are sometimes called nail galls, are produced by a different eriophyid mite, V. aceriscrumena.  This eriophyid mite species never produces bladdergalls.


Maple bladdergalls have been great teachers of gallology.  The first lesson I learned is that galls can change appearance as they age, or “mature.”  The maple bladdergalls change from bright green to deep red and eventually turn black.


The second lesson is that populations of plant gall-makers tend to rise and fall dramatically from year-to-year.  I often re-visit the same trees year after year and I’ve found that while a tree may reward me with a huge gall display one year, it frequently disappoints the next.  My maple bladdergall photos below demonstrate this; same tree, different years.


Finally, very few galls that are produced by insects and mites cause any real harm to the overall health of their host plants.  I sometimes get reports of maple bladdergalls causing defoliation.  However, I’ve never observed this first-hand.  I suspect reported defoliation is perhaps connected to other issues including poor site conditions (e.g. poor drainage), nutrient deficiencies, maple anthracnose, maple petiole borer, etc.  One of the most common diagnostics missteps is to blame the obvious.


Other Eriophyid Gall Oddities

The Black Tupelo Bladdergall Mite (Eriophyes nyssae) produces galls that look very similar to those found on maples.  Black Tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica) (a.k.a. black gum, sour gum) provides a twofer with the eriophyid, Eriophyes dinus, producing crinkled leaf edges.  The crinkling is sometimes referred to as Black Tupelo Leaf Roll Galls.


One of my favorite plant galls is produced by the Poison Ivy Bladdergall Mite (Aculops rhois (= A. toxicophagus)) on its namesake host.  The galls vaguely resemble the itchy skin blisters we suffer when we contact the plant.  I like to imagine that gall-infested poison ivy plants suffer the same agonizing itch, but they have no fingers!


I’ve found that boxelder (Acer negundo) can challenge the saying “leaves of three, leave it be,” and the handiwork of the Boxelder Bladdergall Mite (Eriophyes negundi) doesn’t help.  The galls bear a striking resemblance to those on the three leaflets of poison ivy.  However, the boxelder bladdergalls undergo a distinctive change in appearance as they “mature.”


Early on, they appear as small bladdergalls.  Later, they become much larger and produce velvet-like patches on the corresponding lower leaf surface.  They are even given a different common name of “Boxelder Velvet Galls.”  I originally thought bladder and velvet galls were the work of two different gall-makers, but the literature attributes both types of galls to the same eriophyid mite.


Galls produced by the eriophyid, Eriophyes brachytarsus, are another type bladdergall that changes form as they mature.  At first, the galls look like typical bladdergalls and are called “walnut bladdergalls” in some online references.  However, as they mature, the galls become distinctively pouch-like and are referred to as “walnut pouch galls.”  Eventually, the galls break open like popcorn to reveal tufts of silvery-white hairs.


I first encountered the fuzzy, cauliflower-like galls produced by the eriophyid, Aceria cephalanthi, on common buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) last year in northeast Ohio.  I could find no information in the literature about this gall-maker.  However, given the rise of buttonbush as a prized bumble bee magnet in pollinator gardens, I predict this gall will gain greater notoriety.


As with the vast majority of plant galls produced by arthropods (e.g. wasps, midges, etc.), those that are induced by eriophyids cause little to no harm to the overall health of their plant hosts.  Indeed, I contend that they add ornamental value to their tree and shrub hosts.  Of course, I’m a gall-oholic.




Slugged Rose Leaves from a Bristly Pest

Authors Joe Boggs

Published on May 16, 2019



When I started working for Extension back when growing roses meant hybrid teas, the dominant roseslug sawfly (order Hymenoptera, family Tenthredinidae) was Endelomyia aethiops.  It was so common, the common name approved by the Entomological Society of America (ESA) for this species was simply Roseslug.


The roseslug only has one generation per season, so we didn’t worry too much about this sawfly.  The early-season leaf damage was quickly covered over by new leaves as the season progressed.  We would occasionally see the Curled Rose Sawfly (Allantus cinctus), but with only two early-season generations, this sawfly would come and go so quickly it seldom caused appreciable damage.


However, in recent years, these relatively innocuous sawflies have been largely supplanted in Ohio by the more damaging Bristly Roseslug Sawfly (Cladius difformis) which has multiple generations per season.  Damage from this sawfly starts in the spring and only ends with the first frost.  The expanding numbers with each new generation may produce heavy defoliation by the end of the season.


I’m not sure what changed.  The bristly roseslug sawfly is considered a European native that was accidentally introduced into North America.  However, the introduction probably occurred decades ago because it is now found through the continent.  Of course, one thing that changed during this time was the rise of shrub roses over hybrid teas as the dominant roses in Ohio landscapes.  I don’t know of any host preference studies on this slug sawfly; however, there seems to be some preference for the shrub roses.


Early instar bristly roseslug larvae feed by removing one leaf surface and the mesophyll beneath. The corresponding epidermis on the opposite leaf surface remains intact and turns white producing a characteristic “windowpane” symptom.  Eventually, the “windowpanes” drop out to produce holes.


Later instars feed between the main veins to directly produce holes in leaves.  Heavy feeding damage by early and late instars may combine to produce “see-through” leaves.  We have commonly observed this type of damage from bristly roseslugs over the past few years in southwest Ohio.


You must look closely to spot the pale green semi-transparent sawfly larvae.   Despite their common name, the larvae of roseslug sawflies resemble tiny caterpillars and look nothing like the glistening, elongated pear-shaped “slug sawflies” which do resemble tiny slugs.  As their common name indicates, bristly roseslug sawfly larvae are covered with short, hair-like bristles that can be best seen with a hand-lens.


Control and prevention of further damage depend on proper identification of the true culprit.  Only the bristly roseslug is worthy of control measures because it continues to produce damage throughout the season.


Biorationals such insecticidal soaps are effective, but direct contact is necessary.  Products containing spinosad (e.g. Conserve, Entrust) are effective against sawfly larva and will also have less impact on bio-control agents.  Chlorantraniliprole (e.g. Acelepryn) is also effective and presents a low risk to pollinators.  Soil drench applications of systemic insecticides such as imidacloprid (e.g. Merit) or dinotefuran (e.g. Safari) are effective and provide lengthy protection.


Although roseslug larvae look like caterpillars, products based on strains of the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) that are specific to controlling moth caterpillars (order Lepidoptera) will have no effect on these primitive hymenopteran larvae.




Sycamore and Ash Anthracnose

Authors Joe Boggs

Published on May 16, 2019



Symptoms of two host-specific fungal anthracnose diseases are becoming apparent in southwest Ohio.  Ash anthracnose is usually announced by the appearance of irregularly shaped reddish-brown, blotchy spots along the edges of the leaflets.  The leaf necrosis often causes the leaflets to curl and severe infections may lead to defoliation.


Sycamore anthracnose typically takes two forms:  leaf lesions that appear to “bleed” from the veins and stem cankering that causes new leaves to wilt and blacken.  Both forms can lead to defoliation.  Thus far, the symptoms associated with the stem cankers has been the most apparent form of this disease in southern Ohio.


It’s important to keep in mind that the fungal anthracnose diseases affecting sycamore and ash are produced by different host-specific fungi.  The fungus that produces anthracnose on sycamore does not infect ash and vice versa.  This is also true for other fungal anthracnose diseases such as those that may occur on maple, oak, and beech.  Each is caused by a host-specific fungus.


Anthracnose diseases occur every year but most are enhanced by cool, wet conditions during leaf emergence.  Of course, “cool and wet” describes the weather experienced throughout much of Ohio this spring.  Still, it is just as common in the southwest part of the state to find sycamores and ash trees that are free of anthracnose symptoms as it is to find trees showing heavy symptoms.


Anthracnose diseases are not considered tree killers.  In fact, they seldom cause enough damage to seriously harm the overall health of their host trees.  While affected trees may look bad now, based on past history, the trees will recover.  There’s plenty of time for healthy trees to produce new leaves when warm temperatures are less supportive of new infections.


For this reason, it’s difficult to justify making fungicidal applications to suppress sycamore or ash anthracnose.  Sprays applied now cannot undo the damage from the early springs infections responsible for the symptoms we’re seeing now.  Preemptive suppression sprays starting at bud break can reduce infections; however, there’s no way to predict whether or not subsequent spring environmental conditions will support the levels of infection that justify the applications.  While there’s no such thing as an anthracnose crystal ball, history teaches us that heavy infections are a rarity.




Be Alert to Wild Parsnip!

Authors Joe Boggs

Published on May 15, 2019



Second-year wild parsnip (Pastinaca sativa, family Apiaceae (= Umbelliferae)) plants are producing deeply grooved flower stalks topped by characteristic bright yellow blooms in southern Ohio.  Landscape managers and gardeners should exercise extreme caution around this non-native invasive biennial plant.


Wild parsnip sap contains psoralens which are naturally occurring phytochemicals grouped in a family of organic compounds known as linear furanocoumarins.  Psoralens kill epithelial skin cells by inserting themselves into the DNA in the cell’s nucleus.  These cells are responsible for protecting us from long-wave ultraviolet radiation (LWUVR) that bombards us from the sun.


Severe blistering occurs when skin affected by the psoralens is exposed to LWUVR. The synergistic effect is called phytophotodermatitis(a.k.a. Berloque dermatitis) and the burn-like symptoms, as well as skin discoloration, may last for several months.  However, connecting skin blistering to exposure to wild parsnip sap can be a challenge.  The cause and effect are muddled by time because symptoms do not appear for around 24 hours after exposure to LWUVR and severe blistering doesn’t peak for another 48 to 72 hours.


Another challenge with connecting the dots is that wild parsnip commonly grows in and around other weeds, particularly poison hemlock (Conium maculatum) which is another member of the Apiaceae family.  This deadly non-native biennial weed contains highly toxic piperidine alkaloid compounds which cause respiratory failure and death in mammals.


The poison hemlock toxins have a completely different mode of action and must be ingested or enter through the eyes or nasal passages to induce poisoning; they do not cause skin rashes or blistering.  However, gardeners exposed to wild parsnip growing among poison hemlock may mistakenly blame the poison hemlock for their ultimate misery.


Psoralens are found in a number of other members of Apiaceae family including the notorious giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) which has captured national attention in the past.  However, giant hogweed has only been confirmed in Ohio growing in the extreme northeastern part of the state primarily in and around Ashtabula County.  Wild parsnip is found throughout the state and is equally damaging.  Of course, giant hogweed has a more threatening sounding common name; wild parsnip just sounds like a vegetable gone wild.


Wild parsnip is native to Eurasia and grows as a biennial in Ohio requiring two seasons to complete its life cycle.  Plants spend the first year as rosettes with leaves confined to growing from a short stem only a few inches above the ground.  While in this stage, the plant produces a long, thick taproot.  Flower stalks are produced during the second year.


Second-year plants can grow to impressive heights topping 8′; however, most mature plants range in size from 4 – 6′.  Leaves are alternate, pinnately compound, branched, and have saw-toothed edges.  Each leaf has 5 -15 ovate to oblong leaflets with variable toothed edges and deep lobes.


Mature plants will produce a single, thick, deeply grooved, greenish-yellow stem that sprouts lateral branches topped with hundreds of clusters of the umbellate flowers.  Plants are prolific seed producers meaning that small patches of this weed can develop into large patches in just a few years.


Keep in mind that sap in both the first year rosettes and second-year flower stalks contains damaging concentrations of psoralens. Always wear gloves and protective clothing if you find yourself working around any biennial growth stage of this malevolent weed!


Mechanical and Chemical Control

The toxic nature of the sap makes mechanical control of wild parsnip problematic.  Hand-pulling is a high-risk endeavor and not recommended.  There have been reports of sap spattered by mowers and string trimmers onto equipment operators producing phytophotodermatitis on exposed arms and legs.


The safest approach to controlling this invasive weed is to use herbicides.  Of course, as always, read and follow label directions paying close attention to recommended rates and whether or not surfactants are recommended to enhance herbicide efficacy.


Wild parsnip plants are susceptible to postemergent herbicides such as the non-selective systemic herbicide glyphosate (e.g. Roundup) and the contact “burndown” herbicide pelargonic acid (e.g. Scythe).  However, keep in mind that multiple applications of a burndown herbicide may be required to exhaust the energy stored in second-year tap roots.  Effective selective postemergent herbicides include 2, 4-D, clorpyralid (e.g. Transline), and metsulfuron (e.g. Escort XP).





Blue Week in Northwest Ohio

Authors Amy Stone

Published on May 15, 2019



Each May, the partners of the Green Ribbon Initiative assemble a wide array of programs to encourage people to get out into the amazing region in Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan. This globally unique region is home to a wide variety of plants and animals such as wild blue lupine, Karner blue butterflies, blue spotted salamanders, big and little bluestem, blueberries, bluebirds, blue racers and much, much more.  We love our blues!


The week-long celebration includes everything from bike rides and canoeing, to guided hikes and demonstrations by local experts, the programs offered each year are assembled to encourage people to get out and explore the region and inform them of how diverse and important the region is.


Even if you don’t live in NW Ohio, check out the website to learn more and learn why we are happy to be “blue” in the Oak Openings Region! It is a great place to visit and see its uniqueness for yourself.


More Information

Oak Openings Blue Week Website





Bug Museum Eases Fears

Authors Thomas deHaas

Published on May 14, 2019



The Lake County Master Gardeners and The Ohio State University Extension presented a Bug Museum for Perry Elementary School on May 8th and 9th, 2019.


Classes visited in twenty-minute increments throughout the days. Each class was shown a PowerPoint presentation on the importance of pollinators, and then were free to visit individual stations featuring a collection of bees, beetles and live grubs, cicadas, hornet nests, praying mantis egg sacs, water insects, and much more. Bradley shared, “It’s really weird. I never knew how cool bugs looked up close”. Giada  beamed “I like butterflies the best. They are so colorful. I went to a fair once where they let butterflies go. It was awesome.”


Ruby added, “Ladybugs are my favorite”.

“I love how interested the children are in insects! We are grateful to Perry Elementary for allowing us the opportunity to share our collection and teach the importance of native bees and pollinators”, said Amy Goletz, Master Gardener and Bug Day Coordinator. The Master Gardeners are always happy to hear remarks from children like Lucas, a third grader, when he shared, “I found a big bug in my room but I like bugs and didn’t want to kill it. So we caught it and put it outside.” that’s exactly what Amy likes to hear as part a group of over 40 Master Gardener Volunteers in Lake County.


Master Gardener Gwen Zeitz amassed the OSU collection over the past 10 years. Along with Gwen, Master Gardener Volunteers Pat Smeby, Jan Downing, and Amy Goletz all answered questions throughout the days.

Answering questions. “That’s what they do as Master Gardeners. They answer questions about all things related to Horticulture”, stated Thomas deHaas, Agriculture and Natural Resource Educator for OSU – Lake County Extension who assisted with the event as well. We offer horticulture help to homeowner every Tuesday from 9-11 AM April through October via Helpline. Residents are welcome to call the helpline at 440-350-2254 or drop into the office located at 99 East Erie Street, Painesville. In addition, we are always looking to welcome more volunteers. We are presently taking application for new intern trainees that will begin in August.


If you love bugs, The Lake County Master Gardeners and The Ohio State University Extension will be participating (as they do every year) in “Bug Day!” at Penitentiary Glen on September 8th, 2019. See you there!




Dogs Gone Wild!

Authors Thomas deHaas

Published on May 13, 2019



Dogwoods are in full bloom in Northeast Ohio. They are beautiful: Whites, Pinks and Pale Pink.


However, are you sure that is what you want to install? Consider where dogwood grow in the wild. They are an understory plant on the edges of woods and they like moist, well-drained soil containing organic matter with a slightly acid Ph. So before you run out and buy that beautiful white or pink dogwood, ask yourself, is this the right plant for the right place. Dogwoods that are under stress will deteriorate over time.


They can get borers, sunscald and cankers. Most of these will be a greater problem when the tree is grown in full sun and suffers drought in the summer, which can lead to leaf scorch as well. Be kind to some of our favorite dogs (Dogwood).


Just consider right plant, right place.

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