Pear Trellis Rust isn’t pretty

The bright red foliage lesions and bumpy fruiting bodies of Pear Trellis Rust My sister-in-law was showing me the garden of their new home, including a number of fruit trees. Unfortunately, the foliage of the two pear trees are covered in red lesions, and the underside shows the clear signs that something is seriously amiss. […]

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Cedar apple rust on my serviceberry

The dark blue normal fruit of the serviceberry, along with one infected with Cedar apple rust It seems to be an OMG summer. Unusual things are happening after all the rain of spring 2011 – including a problem on my usually problem-free serviceberry (Amelanchier). OMG, what’s that? …was my reaction on seeing the intriguing spikes growing […]

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Meet the Clavate tortoise beetle

Clavate tortoise beetle on a chewed potato leaf. Note that teddybear shape on its back. Noticing some pellet holes in my potato leaves, I wondered if we’d been hit by flea beetles. Then I saw what looked like a small fleck of bird droppings on the leaf. When flicked, it moved. That’s when I first […]

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Lily leaf beetle season

Get those squishing fingers on. The lily leaf beetles are back, and they’re noshing on your Asiatic and Oriental lilies. In fact, they’re making like the two-backed beast, or beetle, to create the next generations of bright red eating machines. Until they earn their red beetle wings, these will be squishy brown blobs of beetle […]

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Alas, my bouquet of tu*ips

Call me superstitious, but some garden things are best left unsaid. For example, it can be dangerous to look forward to the blooming of t***ps. I dare not speak their name. Because the squirrels who, each spring, unceremoniously snap off the heads of the handful of t***ps in my tiny, tiny garden have been at […]

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Warning: Eastern Filbert Blight

The rather gross-looking cankers of Eastern filbert blight, a fungus that’s not a fun-guy! Run out right now and inspect your corkscrew hazel shrub (Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’) for bumps like these. If you see semi-regular, black cankers along the stems (like I did), your hazel has Eastern filbert blight (Anisogramma anomala). If left to its own […]

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Nip this bug problem in the bud… or in the egg

During a post-vacation check-up of my heat-challenged, newly planted Japanese maple this morning I spied this pixel-patterned egg mass. Aha! I exclaimed, summoning my vast store of entomological knowledge, Those are definitely the eggs of some kind of insect. No, I’m not an entomologist. But I can be a fairly good detective when it comes […]

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Tamarix: One of the Dirty Dozen

Pretty, isn’t it? Tamarix ramosissima, also known as tamarisk or saltcedar, is blooming with extra vigor here and there around the city. When not in bloom, it looks unassuming, and sparsely feathered – as if a shrub had disguised itself as asparagus fern. Don’t be fooled. I used to wonder why it wasn’t more widely […]

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Red Alert: Lily Leaf Beetle Eggs

Nip your lily leaf beetle problem in the bud, or in the egg, by squishing this pest’s red, shiny ova before they hatch. Here’s what they look like… laid in a line, on the underside of lily leaves. Oriental and Asiatic lilies are particularly yummy to the lily leaf beetle, and the three successive generations […]

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Oh, no! Rust on my roses

Rust! I have rust. For the first time ever, rust on my roses. Not on my tough-as-old-boots Rosa ‘New Dawn’, but on my I-had-such-high-hopes-but-it-seems-they’re-coming-to-naught David Austin rose, R. ‘William Morris.’ Rust is a fungal disease, which spreads by spores. Sometimes, rust on roses is co-hosted by junipers, so I’ll have to inspect the tree in […]

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Warning: Dog-Strangling Vine about to pop

This may be our last chance this summer to catch a major pest before it spreads its seeds. Watch out for these monsters: Under-ripe pods, packed with feathery, airborne, milkweed-like seeds. If you’re a Toronto Gardens reader, you’ve noted our campaign against the steamroller known as dog-strangling vine (DSV) or pale swallowwort (Vincetoxicum rossicum, syn. […]

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Tomato problems: Curly Top Virus

This is one of Sarah’s tomato casualties, which I think we’ve IDed as being felled by beet curly top virus, an insect-borne malady. The leaves have curled upward and become stiff (Sarah says: like rigor mortis for tomatoes), with purple veining on the undersides. The whole plant has become stunted and curled, not older or […]

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