• Urge Parliament to Declare Bunchberry Our National Flower!

    Master Gardeners of Ontario are urging Canadian Heritage to declare the bunchberry as Canada's National Flower. You can sign the petition to the Government of Canada here. Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis) was the choice of some 80% of the nearly 10,000 Canadians who voted in the nation-wide contest organized by Master Gardeners of Ontario ...

  • STOP: Check Soil Moisture Before Fertilizing Trees and Shrubs

    Although we've had a few rainy nights recently, most Toronto gardens are still very dry, which means that it's not a good idea to apply fall fertilizers yet.  Dig down 6-10 inches to see if you can feel some moisture and see the soil particles adhering together when you squeeze a handful. By splitting annual fertilizer requirements into separate fall and spring applications, we can actually maximize plant uptake of important nutrients such as nitrogen.  Potassium is another ...

  • Toronto Master Gardeners Free Advice Clinic Every Thursday at TBG Organic Farmers’ Market

    Sustainable gardening practices and organic foods make a great combo! Come to the Toronto Botanical Garden, 777 Lawrence Avenue East, every Thursday between 2:00 and 7:00 to ask gardening questions at the free Toronto Master Gardeners Advice Clinic, meet organic farmers and buy local produce, bread, meat, cheese, honey, and prepared food. Free parking is available on site. For more information about the Farmers' Market, click here.

  • Manage Beech Scale Now

    Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) has posted a notice advising that at this time of year, the white waxy covering that female Introduced Beech scale (Cryptococcus fagisugae) produce to protect their eggs is easier to see  on native American beech (Fagus grandifolia).  Look for tiny tufts of white, cottony-like masses on the main trunk and large branches and plan to treat them with horticultural oil or by pressure washing the tree trunks. ...

  • Want to Become a Master Gardener? Entrance Exam is September 25

    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 entrance exam to assess your basic gardening knowledge. The only test date this year is September 25. There's no fee or registration required. All are welcome to apply. 7 pm, Monday, September 25 Toronto Botanical Garden 777 Lawrence Avenue East at Leslie Free parking. The test is to determine you have a ...

  • Start Managing the 2018 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. The 2017 population of this insect has been very high and the resulting excess honeydew attracted insects harmful to the trees. Now, and again in fall, employ insecticidal soap or horticultural oil to control the generation that's emerging ...

  • Prune Boxwood and Eastern White Cedar Now to Help Control Leafminers

    Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) has posted a notice advising homeowners to lightly shear boxwood and cedars now to reduce populations of leafminer larvae that would normally persist into 2018. They note that annual summer sheering of these evergreen hosts can, over time, reduce infestations of leafmining pests, and also create a more full look by supporting increased lateral bud growth. For more information, including images of leafminer damage, visit the OMAFRA posting ...

  • One Variety of Milkweed May Harm Monarch Butterflies

    Planting a bright orange milkweed in your garden? Make sure it’s not tropical milkweed. Asclepias curassavica has many common names including tropical milkweed, bloodflower, Mexican butterfly weed and wild ipecacuanha. It does not winter over in Ontario but has been grown as an annual.  In southern U.S., including Florida, it is widely planted. Research from the University of Georgia suggests that tropical milkweed may be doing more harm than good. Tropical milkweed can play host to ...

  • Gypsy Moths and Other Pests Active

    Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) has posted a notice about Gypsy Moths reaching a new stage in their life cycle, making them no longer susceptible to control using the biocontrol Bacillus thuringiensis. Now that the larvae are showing their yellow heads, it is time for homeowners to purchase tree bands for use in early July to trap adults moths before they lay their eggs. (The existing larvae can be found in bark ...

  • Black Spots and Blighted Leaves on Native Maples? Don’t Panic.

    Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) has posted a notice about the high incidence of leaf spot and leaf blight on several native species of maple this year. They explain that unusually cold spring, which prolonged leaf emergence, and the near constant wet conditions were perfect for supporting several fungal and bacterial diseases. However, they also explain that these symptoms do NOT require any treatment, as the new leaves now emerging will be fine. For full ...

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