Our yard is absolutely covered with the tips of tree branches. The tree (don't know what kind) isn't dropping fall leaves yet, so what's going on? Squirrels?
Two native insects will snip off the tips of tree branches in August and September. The twig girdler makes a cut like a beaver does. You'll see a pointed end at the cut. The twig pruner makes a concave cut. Both insects overwinter as larvae inside the cut twigs littering your lawn and will emerge as beetles next year. To prevent a repeat next year, gather up the twigs and bag up and dispose of them. These insects are a minor pest, though they distort a young tree's shape. There is no insecticide labeled to control them but, like many other pest insects, they are attracted to lights, so be sure to turn off unnecessary night lighting.
Isn't purple loosestrife banned in Maryland? It's horribly invasive, especially in wetlands.
Purple loosestrife has taken over 50,000 acres in Minnesota alone and is now in all states except Florida. It has been designated as invasive in Maryland, but is not officially on the state's noxious weed list, which details banned plants and is geared to agricultural weeds. In Maryland, the commercial horticulture industry self-regulates invasive plants by not selling most of them. Residents need to educate themselves about which plants are invasive, so they do not inadvertently order, for example, purple loosestrife, from out of state or accept a plant from a misguided friend, thinking it is an innocent purple-flowered perennial. Marylanders can report a patch of the plant at: http://www.dnr.state.md.us/wildlife/Plants_Wildlife/PurpleLoosestrife
University of Maryland Extension's Home and Garden Information Center offers free gardening and pest information. Call 800-342-2507 or send a question to the website at extension.umd.edu/hgic.
Plant of the Week
Arugula or Rocket Salad
Arugula has rocketed to popularity in recent years. An excellent late-season crop for home gardeners, the peppery flavor of arugula leaves add a zesty punch when used raw in salads or cooked — maybe that's why ancient Egyptians and Romans considered arugala seed oil to be an aphrodisiac. Plant seeds every few weeks in either early spring or fall. Thin seedlings to 6 to 9 inches apart. Harvest the green, deeply cut, compound leaves when plants reach 8 to 10 inches, about six weeks after planting. To encourage more leaf production, continuously harvest young leaves. — Jane TalaricoCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun