Local Interest

By Kathleen Cue, Nebraska Extension Horticulture Educator

 

The silvery checkerspot caterpillar, Chlosyne nycteis, can be found right now, happily eating away on sunflower, aster, Echinacea, goldenrod and Rudbeckia.  The checkerspot caterpillar has branched spines on its back that are black in color. Sometimes the caterpillars will have an orange stripe or two.  Depending on weather conditions, there will be one to two generations per year. Once first generation caterpillars are an inch long, they will stop feeding and form a pupal case on foliage. As the growing season winds down, the second generation caterpillars will hibernate as third instar larvae.

 

By Kathleen Cue, Nebraska Extension Horticulture Educator

 

By Kathleen Cue, Nebraska Extension Horticulture Educator

 

Mulch is an aspect of the landscape that doesn’t provoke much thought.  Wood chips or rock?  Landscaping fabric or not?  The reality is that the right kind of mulch, applied to the proper depth, has a BIG impact on plant health, especially during the heat of summer.

 

By Kathleen Cue, Nebraska Extension Horticulture Educator

 

Peach leaf curl is prevalent this spring.  The fungal pathogen, Taphrina deformans, causes leaf puckering and unusual coloration, with bright red, yellow, lime green, or a combination of all three colors on one leaf.  Infection occurs at bud swell and bud break, when spores, overwintering on twigs and buds, infect emerging leaves. The distortion of leaves inhibits photosynthesis and early defoliation occurs, all of which affects the tree’s ability to produce peaches. If infection is severe and occurs over several growing seasons, the disease weakens the tree.

 

By Kathleen Cue, Nebraska Extension Horticulture Educator

 

Cooks love the earliness that fresh asparagus provides. Gardeners love it because it’s perennial and relatively worry-free. If you’ve not grown asparagus, this spring would be a good time to plant a few crowns to find out for yourself just how easy it is to grow.

 

By Kathleen Cue, Nebraska Extension Horticulture Educator

 

Nothing provides greater satisfaction than to grow your own food.  It’s also really easy to start, with a small investment in some seeds, a few transplants, and a container or plot of land.

 

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