Category: Insects

Blue spruce not a great choice for Hoosiers

Q: We have 5.5 acres with several hundred white pines, 7 blue spruce, and 2 red pines. Several of the blue spruce are dying. Several years ago, two started dying from the bottom up. We put evergreen spikes around them, and after a year or so they came back to normal. Presently some of the large ones are now dying from the bottom to the top. We put spikes around two large and one small, […]

Damage control for the yellowstriped armyworm; Transplanting trees from the woods

Q. I have a worm eating my flowers. The flowers are in a tall planter so I am wondering if I need to add something to the base of the planter to keep them from coming up the plants OR are they hatching out on the plants? Some of the damage is caused by small slugs as well.Can you tell me what kind of worm this is? Also, what do you recommend to deter them? – […]

Peeling sycamore tree bark is normal; Top heavy hydrangea plants; Should I treat my lawn for Japanese Beetles

Q.  We have a large sycamore tree in our yard. Every summer it sheds its bark over a few weeks’ time. I think as it grows it is growing new bark and losing the old bark. Am I correct? – J.C., Walton, Ind. A.  You’re on the right track. Peeling bark is normal, and is a key ornamental characteristic for a sycamore, also known as American planetree. The bark starts out a bit gray-brown and as the […]

Roses: A Feast For Many Insects/Mystery Plant ID/Why Hydrangea Flowers Fade Pink to Tan

Q. How can I keep the beetles away and keep the invisible insects from eating holes in my rose leaves? The beetles have not been too bad the last couple of years, but the holes in the leaves never stop. I have tried so many different kinds of insecticides but to no avail. Our soil is not too sandy, but it is not all dirt either. Drainage does not seem to be a problem as […]

Weed or flower? Sometimes it’s in the eye of the beholder

Q) This flower/weed came up in my flower garden this year. I know that I did not plant it and two other people said that they have it growing in their yards also. I took it to our local nursery. They did not know what it was and looked it up in their books but could not find it. They gave me a few suggestions but when I looked them up on the internet, they […]

Question and Answer

Q. I enjoy reading your column every month in our Daviess-Martin County REMC Electric/Consumer Magazine. I have learned so much about flower gardening and share several articles with friends. My Amish friends in the Montgomery community have mentioned a “Busy Lizzy” plant that sounds similar to a pink begonia, since it was planted in shade and then taken in for the cold weather. They are no longer able to find any seeds or plants. It […]

We continue to receive numerous inquiries about bagworms on landscape plants, especially evergreens. Since we’ve addressed this issue several times over the last few years, I won’t take the time to repeat the information here, but you can find the answers to most of your questions from the Purdue Extension entomology specialists online at and Q. I have learned about this dreadful stuff called artillery or shotgun fungus the hard way — namely by having it […]

Q. We discovered fire blight on one of our apple trees this summer. We cut all the branches with symptoms (withered leaves and the crook at the end) and burned them. We have seen no sign of any further damage. Do we still need to spray next spring as directed by the product we bought from our local nursery? A. Fireblight is a bacterial disease that affects over 70 members of the Rose Family (Rosaceae), […]

Q. I have some spearmint growing now. I can tell when I mow over it, but I don’t know what it looks like. I would like to grow more but don’t how to go about it. A. All of the culinary mints have square stems and opposite leaves, with spearmint, in particular, having elongated-ovate leaves with coarsely toothed margins. Although many seed catalogs may offer seed packets, the best spearmint selections are of Mentha x piperita and can only […]

Q. I have had Japanese beetles in my yard for the past several years — and each year the infestation increases. This year, they are really profuse — everything in the garden is under attack! If I bump a branch when mowing, I am showered by them. I have about one acre surrounded by farmland. This year it is corn; but I see no sign of infestation on the corn stalks. I have been shaking […]

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