• 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. ...

  • 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 ...

  • 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 ...

  • 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 ...

  • Books and Bees; Magazines and Mulch: Toronto Master Gardeners at Your Local Library

    The Toronto Master Gardeners partner with the Toronto Public Library (TPL) to provide free "Ask an Expert" talks on a wide range of gardening topics in April and May. Check out the TPL web site here to see which sessions might fit into your schedule or just the visit the Events listings on this site.

  • Watch Out for Black Knot

    Before your Prunus sp. shrubs and trees are fully leafed out, you can easily see if there are any Black Knot infections. Monitor gardens and adjacent wild areas for large black growths on previous years twigs. Prune the cankers out, back quite close to the main stem BEFORE LEAVES EMERGE. Destroy all pruned twigs. Pruning too shallow retains the undetectable, developing canker on the tree and does nothing to limit the disease. For more information from the Ontario Ministry ...

  • Spring Has Sprung and So Have the Pests

    The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) has issued a notice of the emergence of various pest insects. Specifically, now is the time to check for Cooley spruce gall and Eastern spruce gall adelgid overwintering females; gypsy moth, Eastern tent caterpillar and viburnum leaf beetle egg masses; and Bagworm "cones". For images and details for the appropriate actions to take, visit the OMAFRA site here.