• Test Your Soil Before Starting an Edible Landscape

    Ever wondered about the content of your soil? Worried about planting edibles in a city yard? The City of Toronto Public Health Department has published an excellent Guide for Soil Testing in Urban Gardens. As it states, "Cities are great places to grow food, but they can also have issues with soil contamination. This guide is for people who want to start an urban garden and ...

  • Report Sightings of the Invasive Spotted Lanternfly

    Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) has issued an alert regarding this invasive species. The Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) is not a fly, but a planthopper. Found recently in the US, Spotted Lanternfly has NOT been detected in Ontario yet. However, it has been found in Pennsylvania, where it overwintered successfully. In other countries, it has become a major agricultural pest. For this reason, it has been added to Ontario’s “watch list”. This ...

  • Want to Become a Master Gardener? Entrance Exam is September 17

    Passionate about gardening? Passionate about volunteering? Toronto Master Gardeners might be just the group for you. The first step in the annual recruitment process is a no-charge one-hour entrance exam to assess your basic gardening knowledge. The only test date this year is September 17. There's no fee or registration required. All are welcome to apply. 7 pm, Monday, September 17 Toronto Botanical Garden 777 Lawrence Avenue East at Leslie Free parking. The test is to determine you ...

  • White Grub Alert: Sod Pulled Up? Spongy Lawn? Odd Dead Patches?

    All these may be indicators that you have white grubs in your lawn. They are the larvae of various beetles such as European chafers, Japanese beetles and June beetles.  If you pull back the sod, you will find white, C-shaped, soft-bodied larvae with legs near the head. They feed on grass roots, causing sections of the lawn to die. They will turn into adult beetles and emerge from soil to mate and ...

  • Start Managing the 2019 Magnolia Scale Population Now

    Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) has posted a notice advising homeowners that magnolia scale females have recently given birth to live young, and these tiny, dark crawlers have ventured out to feed on twigs. When the magnolia scale population is high, the resulting excess honeydew attracts insects harmful to the trees. Now, and again in fall, employ insecticidal soap or horticultural oil to control the generation that's emerging now.

  • After the Flood … How to Deal with the Impact of Excess Water in the Landscape

    While many landscape plants will survive short periods of flooding, extended periods of standing water are often detrimental because of declining levels of oxygen in the soil. As soon as possible, remove flood debris from the landscape. If additional soil or sediment has been deposited on lawns or over tree root systems, you may need to remove it. One inch of silt or soil is sufficient to kill a lawn. Silt deposits of 3 inches or ...

  • Free Gardening Advice at the CNE

    Got a gardening question? Going to the Ex? Master Gardeners will host an Advice Clinic at the CNE daily, from opening day Friday August 17th to CNE close on Monday September 4th. Trained Master Gardeners will be available to answer your gardening questions, free of charge. Be sure to look for us in the Enercare Centre  near the flower and plant competitions.

  • Black Edges on Young Pear Leaves No Cause for Alarm

    OMAFRA (Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs) has just released an advisory on this subject. They report  that this year, as in 2016, black marginal necrosis  is appearing on the newest growth of pear (Pyrus) trees.  In 2016, after several attempts at culturing pathogens failed, they determined that the necrosis was the result of extreme weather. Southern Ontario has experienced sweltering heat and humidity again this ...

  • Shear Boxwoods and Eastern White Cedars to Control Miners

    OMAFRA has issued a reminder that now is the time to give both these woody plants a light shearing to reduce populations of leafminers currently in the larval stage in which they feed on the inside of leaves and scales. You may have noticed the damage they cause -- yellow spots on boxwood foliage and dead brown scales on cedars. Annual summer sheering of these evergreen hosts can, over time, reduce infestations of leafmining pests, and also ...

  • Carry a Bucket; Save a Tree

    The past few weeks of extreme heat coupled with lack of rain is putting urban trees at risk. Do help the trees along streets, in parks and in your own yard by giving them a much needed drink of water. Sugar maples, birch and beech are trees with relatively shallow roots systems and will be among the first to indicate stress from high temperatures and low moisture levels. Newly planted or young trees need as much as 3-4 buckets of water ...

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