With the warmth of recent days and temperatures predicted to be in the 60s it’s hard to think about winter but our average first frost date isn’t far off. Make sure you get your vegetable gardens and ornamental beds cleaned up before winter. Our Master Gardeners practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM) when maintaining their home grounds and fall garden sanitation is part of an IPM program. Removing plant debris not only decreases many plant diseases but also removes cover for over-wintering pests. Another important part of IPM is crop rotation. Before cleaning up those vegetable beds take a few minutes to make a map of this year’s plantings so you don’t plant vegetables of the same family in the same spot next year.

With the warmth of recent days and temperatures predicted to be in the 60s it’s hard to think about winter but our average first frost date isn’t far off. Make sure you get your vegetable gardens and ornamental beds cleaned up before winter. Our Master Gardeners practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM) when maintaining their home grounds and fall garden sanitation is part of an IPM program. Removing plant debris not only decreases many plant diseases but also removes cover for over-wintering pests. Another important part of IPM is crop rotation. Before cleaning up those vegetable beds take a few minutes to make a map of this year’s plantings so you don’t plant vegetables of the same family in the same spot next year.

If you’re planting new trees this fall carefully inspect the roots to make sure none are encircling the trunk. Girdling roots can cause problems later if not taken care of at planting time. If you find any, carefully bend them away before backfilling the planting hole. It’s also important that the tree is planted so the top of the soil is at the trunk flare (where the trunk begins to flare out) and not higher on the trunk. Also, keep the tree well watered right up until the ground freezes and apply a 2 to 3-inch layer of mulch making sure it doesn’t touch the trunk of the tree.





Upcoming events:
Gardening Hotline: Our Master Gardeners are in the office on Tuesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon to answer your home garden and landscape questions at 331-8415 ext. 107.

Master Gardeners are a great resource for new gardeners and for troubleshooting home garden and landscape problems including weeds, lawn issues, wildlife, insect pests and plant diseases along with control recommendations. Plant and insect samples can be brought to the office for identification or diagnostic work. During non-hotline hours you can leave your sample with our secretary or in the drop box at the end of the building. Please put insects in a sealed plastic container (so they won’t get crushed) and plant samples in sealed plastic bags. Remember to label them with your name and daytime phone number where we can reach you.

We also offer soil pH testing (cost is $3 per sample) and can help you with soil test interpretation.

Holiday greens workshop: Dec.1. This workshop is now full.

Info for woodlot owners: Call 331-8415 ext. 107 to schedule a free woodlot site visit. These free site visits typically last up to 3 hours with our Master Forest Owners providing woodlot management information to Wayne County woodlot owners including best management practices for achieving management goals. During the visit our MFOs can also provide you with additional sources for assistance and information.

For information and webinars on forest health visit www.cornellforestconnect.ning.com.

Federal Income Tax on Timber: Tax Tips for the Forest Landowners for their preparation of the 2012 tax returns can be found at www.timbertax.org.

Tips:
• Fall is an excellent time to have your soil tested. Call our office for more information on how to take a good soil sample and for types of soil tests available. Many soil amendments can be added this fall provided the soil test indicates that soil amendments are needed.
• Continue mowing until the grass is no longer growing. Grass left too tall over the winter is more prone to disease.
• Rake fallen leaves and compost them (they make an excellent source of browns for the compost pile) or use a mulching mower and leave some on your lawn. Whole leaves left on turf can suffocate grass and cause mold problems.
• If your lawn is compacted this is an excellent time for hollow core aeration. Another great use of finished compost is to add a thin layer over turf and rake in.
• Dig up tender bulbs before winter. Wait until after a frost to cut back dahlias - then wait one week before digging them up.
• You can still plant spring flowering bulbs. To keep tulip bulbs safe from rodents enclose bulbs in a wire planting cage.
• Check houseplants for insect pests.
• Harvesting winter squash - Mature squash should be hard when you scratch it with your fingernail. Be sure to harvest squash before the first hard frost using a sharp knife or pruners, leaving at least 1 of stem attached. If you pick squash without the stem it will decay at the stem end and won’t store well. Before storing cure squash in a dry, well-ventilated area for 10 days at 75 to 85 degrees F.
• Harvest potatoes after their tops have died but before the ground freezes. Cure the tubers by leaving them in a dark, cool (about 60 degrees) area with relatively high humidity for a week or two. Then lower the temperature to 38  to 40 degrees F for long term storage.

Hydrilla discovered in canal
A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist recently discovered hydrilla, a highly invasive aquatic plant, in the Erie Canal in North Tonawanda, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced recently. Experts at a symposium on hydrilla in Syracuse last week confirmed the identification.

This latest discovery creates a very high threat of infestation in New York and beyond the state’s borders through the Niagara River and the Erie Canal system by natural flow disbursal and to many more waters by recreational boating. Recreational boating is the highest risk vector for spreading this plant to other waters. DEC urges boaters to take steps to prevent the spread of this and other aquatic invasive species.

“DEC urges boaters, anglers and others enjoying New York’s incredible and abundant water resources to help stop aquatic hitchhikers,” said DEC Assistant Commissioner for Natural Resources Kathy Moser. “Inspect boats and gear for any clinging plants, mud or tiny animals; remove them, and clean and dry all boats and gear. Use DEC’s aquatic invasive species disposal stations, when available.”

“Preventing the spread of hydrilla and other invasive plants and animals in the Great Lakes is a priority for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In response to the discovery of hydrilla in the Erie Canal, Service biologists are working with others to rapidly assess if it has spread in that area," said Jaime Geiger, Assistant Regional Director for the Service's Fisheries program in the northeast.

DEC is working closely with federal and state partners including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York State Canal Corporation, the Office of Parks and Recreation and the Western New York Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management to determine the extent of the infestation and develop recommendations for rapid response.

Prior to the discovery in North Tonawanda, hydrilla was found in the Cayuga Inlet and small, isolated occurrences on Long Island and Orange County.

Hydrilla is considered to be among the most invasive aquatic plants in North America, and has resulted in significant ecological, recreational and economic impacts in other regions of the country. Its biological traits enable it to out-compete native species and dominate aquatic ecosystems due to its ability to grow in a variety of environmental settings and to propagate and spread from fragments, turions (overwintering buds) and tubers (reproductive structures attached to plant rhizomes).