Saturday, August 4, 2007

I love to pick wildflowers and create arrangements for our house..

How true it is that,
if we are cheerful and contented,
all nature smiles,
the air seems more balmy,
the sky clearer,
the earth has a brighter green...
the flowers are more fragrant...
and the sun, moon, and stars
all appear more beautiful,
and seem to rejoice with us.-
(Orison Swett Marden)

Friday, August 3, 2007

Wildflowers along the Lake and East Point Park

...found a cute little Lady Bug...

Ox-Eyed Daisy

This wild flower is often confused with the domestic ornamental Shasta daisy which is a more robust plant with larger flowers.


Almost every person, has been touched by the untamed beauty of wildflowers. (Lady Bird Johnson)

Golden Rod


There are more kinds of asters in North America than any other genus of flowers. Ontario is home to more than 30 species of asters.

Aster and Golden Rod

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trouble in paradise...sooty mold - Rußtau -

During the last month, I have noticed a black film coating the leaves of our Linden tree, plants and flowers growing below.
Our summer has been very dry with little rain and only a few thunder storms.
After doing some resaerch over the internet I have identified the very sticky discoloration as black mold fungus.

This black film on the leaves is referred to as sooty mold.
Sooty mold is a fungus that can cause plants to appear dark and sooty or almost uniformly charcoal gray.
It may form a continuous thin sheet on the leaf surface that eventually peels away.

Sooty mold is interesting in that the black coating on the leaves is caused by insects and not by a disease as many may think.
Aphids, scales, mealybugs, and other sucking insect pests are to blame.
These insects suck sap from the plants to get needed nutrients.
Much of the water and sugars in the sap that pass through the insect are excreted.
These sap-sucking insects excrete a sweet, sticky liquid referred to as honeydew.
This sticky honeydew clings to leaf surfaces and as spores of the sooty molds are blown to the leaves the honeydew causes the mold to stick to the leaf surface.

The sooty mold on tree and shrub leaves lessens the aesthetic value of the plant and lowers the plant vigor by blocking sunlight which the plant needs in order to make its food and grow.
Most plants will tolerate a small insect population and light amounts of sooty mold but the combination of feeding by a large number of insects and the heavy coating of sooty mold may reduce the vigor and beauty of ornamental plants.
Sooty mold can indirectly damage the plant by coating the leaves to the point that sunlight penetration is reduced or inhibited.
Without adequate sunlight, the plant's ability to carry on photosynthesis is reduced which may stunt plant growth.

The first step in controlling sooty mold is to suppress the aphids, scales, or other insects that are excreting the honeydew which sooty mold sticks to.
Homeowners and gardeners can use horticulture oils to control the sap-sucking insects.
Horticultural oils are sold by many companies and can be found in garden centers, hardware stores, and similar establishments.
The rates of application vary with the time of year.
If horticultural oils are applied to tender, new growth, damage to the plant may occur.
During the growing season apply 1 to 2 tablespoons per gallon of water.
In the fall, winter, and early spring apply 2 ½ to 10 tablespoons per gallon of water.
Remember to read and follow label directions.
When applying, make sure to get good coverage on the plant because these insects are often on the underside of leaves.

Even after the insects causing the honeydew are eliminated, sooty mold may adhere to plants for months afterwards.
In some instances it may be necessary to wash off the sooty mold with a strong stream of water or soap and water.
If you use soap and water to wash off the sooty mold, be careful because some plants are sensitive to soap and make sure to rinse the plant well afterwards to prevent leaving any soap residue.

Sooty mold is an example of why one would need to have an understanding of how the disease is caused.
Knowing that insects cause the black film on leaves of trees and shrubs allows the gardener or homeowner to know that the insects must be controlled in order to eliminate sooty mold.
With some effort in controlling the sap-sucking insects, sooty mold can be managed.
(information source NC University USA)
Rußtau / Honigtau BeschreibungAuf den Blattoberseiten bzw. um die Pflanze herum klebrige, zuckerhaltige Beläge. Darauf oft schwärzliche Beläge von Rußtaupilzen, die sich vom Honigtau ernähren.Es handelt sich bei dem klebrigen Honigtau um Ausscheidungen pflanzensaugender Insekten wie Blattläuse, Schildläuse, Woll- und Schmierläuse sowie Weiße Fliegen. Diese stechen blattunterseits die Leitungsbahn der Pflanzen an und ernähren sich von dem zuckerhaltigen Pflanzensaft. Überschüssigen Zucker scheiden sie als Honigtau aus.Rußtaupilze schädigen die Pflanze nur indirekt, indem sie die Photosyntheseleistung der Blätter einschränken.Vorbeugung-Rechtzeitige Bekämpfung von Schädlingen verhindert stärkere Honigtaubildung.-Honigtau ist oft ein erstes Anzeichen von verstecktem Schildlausbefall.
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