Yard and Garden News

The following news stories are written by Rosie Lerner, Extension Consumer Horticulture Specialist, and are distributed to news media around the state by Agricultural Communication Service, at Purdue University.


Time to Harvest Sweet Potatoes


  Although some folks may be sad to see summer coming to a close, many gardeners are looking forward to harvesting their sweet potato treasures. Sweet potatoes are warm-season plants that are very sensitive to cold temperatures. The tuberous roots should be harvested by the time frost kills the vines or soon thereafter. Sweet potato roots continue to grow until frost kills the vines. Roots can be left in the ground for a short while; […]


Oedema Is a Corky Quirk


Plants that experience extremes in soil moisture may develop spots on their leaves, called “oedema” (also spelled “edema”). The spots may first appear as a blister or raised spot, particularly on the undersides of leaves, but may occur on the top side as well as on the stems. Eventually, the blister develops a rust-colored, cork-like scab. Oedema is most commonly seen in the greenhouse on ivy-leaf geraniums but also on pansies, jade, and other thick-leaved […]


September Garden Calendar


HOME (Indoor plants and activities) Prepare storage areas for overwintering tender flower bulbs and garden produce. Thanksgiving (or Christmas) cactus can be forced into bloom for the holidays. Provide 15 hours of complete darkness each day — for instance, from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m., for approximately eight weeks. Keep temperature at about 60-65 degrees F. Temperatures of 55ºF will cause flower buds to set without dark treatment. Dig and repot herbs, or take cuttings, […]


Perennials for Shady Gardens


Plants differ in their adaptability to different growing conditions. Sunshine is one of the most significant factors. We often think of light as being either sunny or shady, but, in fact, there are many “shades” of light in between. Your garden may experience light shade, such as that filtered through an overhanging tree; dense shade, such as that found in woodlands; or intermittent shade from an object, such as a building that blocks the sun […]


Use Caution With Spreading Plants


People often select plants first for their beauty and second for their functionality in the garden. Frequently, we don’t know or don’t consider a plant’s behavior when we’re selecting them. Almost by definition, a species that is an effective ground cover will have a spreading habit. But does that make the species aggressive or invasive? There can be much confusion about the meaning of the terms aggressive and invasive. Some plants, given their optimal habitat, […]


Indiana’s State Tree is a Popular Landscape Choice


If you’ve ever had to work on a tree leaf collection, no doubt you included a leaf from Indiana’s state tree. Also known as tulip poplar and yellow poplar, the tuliptree is actually not a poplar at all. It is a member of the magnolia family known botanically as Liriodendron tulipifera. The tuliptree is native to most of the eastern half of the United States and prefers rich, moist, well-drained, loamy soil. It is found throughout […]


Tomatoes Are Tops for Summer Crops


Most gardeners would agree that tomatoes are the most popular crop for home growing. But what gardeners can’t agree on is what tomato is considered “the best, since taste is such a personal matter. The diversity of cultivars available makes it easy for anyone to grow tomatoes even if all you have is a pot on the patio. The Burpee Seed Company introduced the first F1 hybrid tomato ‘Big Boy’ in 1949. Since then, plant […]


When to Remove Maple Tree Sucker


Q. I have a maple tree (it is either an ‘October Glory’ or ‘Autumn Blaze’) that has (what I assume to be) a rather large sucker at the bottom. The diameter of the sucker is about 2 inches, and the tree trunk is 7 inches in diameter. I have attached pictures of it from different angles. I would like to know if it is OK to remove it? I’ve read quite a bit about these […]

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Where Have All the Flowers Gone?


Winter 2017-18 was pretty harsh compared to most years. Much of central and northern Indiana experienced 13 or more days well below zero, while southern Indiana had four to five days just a few degrees below zero. In addition, gusty winds further injured plants by desiccating buds and twigs. The consequences remain to be seen. While some spring flowering trees and shrubs may perform admirably this season, some species will have few or no blooms […]

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New Tool Provides Resources for Midwest Landscapes


The Purdue Landscape Report provides science-based, timely information for Midwest landscapes. Members of the Purdue Landscape Report Team create articles and supporting photos. The team is composed of Purdue Extension specialists and diagnosticians in many disciplines, including horticulture, entomology, plant pathology, urban forestry and turf science. The information in the report is intended to benefit commercial growers, garden centers, landscapers, arborists, or others who want to keep up with current landscape issues. In addition to […]


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