Gardening & More: Armyworm numbers reach epidemic levels; wacky weather spurs other damage
That is according to John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County.
This means that farmers will have to buy hay to replace lost feed crops for their animals. For consumers, it could mean higher food prices, down the road.
There was an outbreak about four years ago, but it was not as bad as this.
Armyworms are more common in the south and wind currents can bring them up to New York state. The early warm weather we had could have helped them multiply, this year. They do not have a lot of natural predators here.
If farmers have further questions, they can call their Cornell Cooperative Extension field crop specialists or Mike Stanyard, who covers all of Western New York, at 315-331-8415.
If you are a gardener and are affected by these creepy critters, be careful when choosing how to treat the problem. Choose sprays that are appropriate for a lawn or garden.
Gardeners are also seeing a lot of aphid activity on all kinds of plants.
There are many ways to deal with aphids, which are small, sap-sucking insects.:
- Spraying them with a hose will get them off your plants, temporarily.
- You can use insecticidal soap.
- You can trim off the newest growth, where the aphids are concentrated.
- There are also chemicals you can try.
When deciding what action to take, try to determine whether the aphids are doing significant, or just cosmetic, damage to the plant. The plant might not look great, but aphids probably will not kill it.
Our summer-like spell this March caused plants to leaf out and bud early, only to be nipped by frost. Apple and cherry trees were affected and consumers will see a smaller harvest this year.
In the garden, a high percentage of hydrangea bushes were affected.
Most of the damage is not permanent. Most trees, shrubs and perennials will come back because their root systems are intact, Farfaglia predicted. If your plant died, it was probably weak, anyway.
You can encourage your plants with water and fertilizer, when needed.
Farfaglia suggested one last thing when dealing with frost damage: patience.
Connie Oswald Stofko is publisher of Buffalo-NiagaraGardening.com, the online gardening magazine for Western New York. Email Connie@BuffaloNiagaraGardening.com.