Smart, Safe Pesticide Use

Summer has arrived in full force with rising temperatures, which means pests may start causing problems in our gardens and landscapes. It is very important to know how to safely use and store pesticides. The identification of beneficial insects versus pests should always occur before purchasing any pesticides as these insects…

Time to Plant a Butterfly Garden

It is almost the perfect time to plant a butterfly garden, so start planning now. In the next few weeks, the soil will be warm enough for annual seeds, such as Mexican sunflower and zinnia, to germinate. Choose a sunny location for the needs of both plants and insects. Proper…

How Do I Know If My Plant Is Really Dead?

Reading the Drought Monitor for the next few months isn’t the most uplifting material, but then again, the situation in our landscapes may not be as dire as we think. In particular, the question asked, debated, and referred to friends, neighbors, and even “experts” – is it (tree, shrub, etc)…

Lawn Burweed – Preventing this Prickly Pest

“Last spring, I noticed our family dog almost tip-toeing through the yard. He acted like something was pricking his feet. When I walked in the same area, I realized that he wasn’t just acting!! Whatever it was pricked my feet too! On closer inspection, I found this weed that had…

There’s a Mouse in the House!

Small, furry, and fast, there’s nothing quite like being visited or invaded by a mouse or mice. Many people still call it a “house mouse”, as if it were a special breed of mouse that lived only in houses. The fact is there are several varieties of mice (plural of…

My Perfect Poinsettia Has Pests!

Poinsettias are such cheerful plants! In a variety of colors, some in vivid hues, some newer varieties with variegated leaves, and a few dwarf kinds such as ‘Freedom’ and ‘Pink Peppermint’, they signal the holidays! Many of us have a least one of these Euphorbias, their botanic name, on display…

Look Out for Emerald Ash Borer

“I have recently heard about an insect pest that is wreaking havoc on ash trees in the northeast. What is this pest and will it be headed our way?” Yes – unfortunately, we are dealing with yet another invasive pest, the emerald ash borer (EAB). This insect is already in…

Boxwood Blight in Holiday Greenery

Watch out for boxwood blight in holiday greenery. Boxwood blight is a devastating disease that was first introduced to Alabama in 2013. During the past year we had six cases of boxwood blight in Birmingham area landscapes. While the disease is typically introduced on infected plants, it can also be…

What Happened to the Figs?

“My fig tree didn’t produce any fruit this year. What’s up?” We’ve been so focused on weather-related issues, a recent question regarding figs (Ficus carica) diverted attention to this old, honorable and valuable addition to our edible landscapes. Native to Middle Eastern lands, the history and use of figs goes…