Plantorama is a weekly five-minute interview with horticultural specialists at Kansas State University, covering timely topics in: home lawn care; vegetable, fruit and flower gardening; landscape design and ornamental plant care; indoor plant care; and horticultural pest control.
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Segment Title and Description
DOUBLE EMERGENCE OF CICADAS – Cicadas are known for the haunting, screaming noise they make and for numbering in the millions. This spring, two different broods of cicadas will emerge across multiple states, including Missouri, Oklahoma and Iowa. The double emergence of Brood 19 and Brood 13 will mark the first time in 221 years that this has occurred. K-State horticultural entomologist Raymond Cloyd discusses the life cycle of periodical cicadas.
GARDENING IN A CHANGING CLIMATE – One of the next greatest challenges we face, according to Kansas State University Distinguished Professor of Agronomy, Chuck Rice, is gardening in a changing climate. As the featured speaker for February’s K-State Garden Hour, Rice discussed the challenges associated with increasing global temperatures and possible solutions – which he calls climate smart gardening.
EARLY-SEASON GARDEN PRACTICES – As gardeners consider selections for early-season planting, K-State Research and Extension horticulture agent for Riley County, Gregg Eyestone, discusses the importance of using soil temperature – not the calendar – to plant cole crops, such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. He says that planting when the soil has reached the correct temperature will produce the best results.
PROTECTION FROM EXTREME COLD – One of the reasons insect pests that overwinter in Kansas have a high survival rate is because their systems have evolved to withstand extreme cold. K-State horticultural entomologist Raymond Cloyd says they have substances that are almost like antifreeze. He also covers how to control insect pests that emerge in the spring.
IMPACT OF EXTREME COLD ON INSECTS– The extremely cold temperatures experienced in Kansas this winter has many wondering how this might impact insects that overwinter. According to K-State horticultural entomologist Raymond Cloyd, extreme cold – for a brief period – won’t have much of an impact. He explains how they’re able to survive these conditions.
ADDING COLOR THE LANDSCAPE – There’s no one plant that provides color in all four seasons in Kansas. As a result, if we want some color in the home landscape during the winter, Kansas State University nursery crop and marketing specialist, Cheryl Boyer, says we’ll need to select some plants that produce color that time of the year.
THE ART OF FLORAL DESIGN – The 2024 Kansas Garden Hour started the new year with information on floral design – from a master floral design program for flower consumers at Kansas State University to a demonstration on how to arrange flowers from the grocery store. The webinar was presented by K-State Research and Extension floral design specialist in the department of Horticulture and Natural Resources, Irina Sheshukova. On this week’s Plantorama, excerpts from the January Kansas Garden Hour.
STARTING TRANSPLANTS FROM SEED – For gardeners, planning and starting vegetable and flower transplants from seed helps make the winter months pass much quicker. K-State Research and Extension horticulture agent for Riley County, Gregg Eyestone, explains the process and equipment that’s need for starting transplants from seed.
Segment Title and Description
TESTING YOUR OLD GARDEN SEED – Before gardeners make their final seed selections for the coming growing season, K-State horticulturist Ward Upham encourages them to test any leftover seeds from previous years for viability. Under the right conditions, he says seeds will normally remain viable for about three years and testing for viability is relatively easy.
HOW TO START YOUR OWN BEE COLONY – The December K-State Garden Hour covers the basics of how to start your own bee colony. K-State Research and Extension horticulture agent for the Golden Prairie District, Ryan Engel, discusses the equipment required, hive placement and how to care for a bee hive. The webinar is available online, but we have a sampling of some of the things he covered during his presentation.
CARING FOR HOUSEPLANTS THIS WINTER – The K-State Research and Extension horticulture agent for Riley County has a word of caution for individuals trying to nurse their houseplants through the winter: make sure plants need water before you give them more. Gregg Eyestone says the number one killer of houseplants is overwatering. He discusses how to care for houseplants, a variety of holiday plants and live Christmas trees.
A POSSIBILITY TO TRY NEW PLANTS – After 11 years, the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map has been updated. Kansas State University nursery crop and marketing specialist, Cheryl Boyer, served on the technical review team for the project. She discusses her role as a technical advisor, how the map changed slightly for parts of Kansas and what that may mean for gardeners across the state.
CARING FOR POINSETTIAS – The poinsettia, with its scarlet, star-shaped leaves, is a traditional plant for the winter holidays. Because of its color, the poinsettia is often used as decoration. This is typically the time people start bringing them into the home. K-State Research and Extension horticulture agent for Riley County, Gregg Eyestone, discusses how to select and care for poinsettias throughout the holidays.
NUISANCE PESTS ARE MOVING INDOORS– As we move further into fall, cooler temperatures across Kansas are forcing some insect pests to seek shelter inside our homes. K-State horticultural entomologist Raymond Cloyd says homeowners don’t need to be overly concerned – just keep a vacuum handy. For insect pests that overwinter outdoors, he suggests cleaning up garden and flower beds this fall to help alleviate problems next spring.
INVASIVE PLANT SPECIES– November’s K-State Garden Hour focuses on invasive plants. K-State Research and Extension horticulture agent for Wyandotte County, Lynn Loughary, says an invasive plant doesn’t stay in its boundaries and that certain plants can take over your landscape, woodlands and pastures.
FALLEN LEAVES AND SOIL TESTS– With leaves continuing to fall from the trees, blanketing lawns and landing in flower beds, gutters and the curb, we need a plan for removing them from those areas. Riley County Extension horticulture agent, Gregg Eyestone, says fallen leaves can provide much-needed nutrients to the lawn and garden. He also explains why fall is a good time to conduct a soil test.
IT’S PUMPKIN SEASON– Pumpkins are synonymous with Halloween and fall. Whether it’s for a jack-o-lantern or fall decoration, there are ways to extend the life of a pumpkin. K-State horticulturist Ward Upham explains what to expect once a pumpkin has been carved, how to roast the seeds and which pumpkins are used for making pies.
NUISANCE PESTS ARE ON THE MOVE– Nuisance pests, such as Asian lady beetles and boxelder bugs, are starting to make their way into homes. K-State horticultural entomologist Raymond Cloyd explains how to control these pests – often with a household appliance. He also says it’s time to clean up debris in home landscapes and vegetable gardens.
PUTTING THE GARDEN TO BED– The latest K-State Garden Hour, hosted by K-State Research and Extension horticulture staff, focuses on getting ready to put the garden to bed. Johnson County Extension horticulture agent, Anthony Reardon, says there’s a lot of work to be done. This includes the vegetable and flower garden, amending soil, caring for trees, shrubs and the lawn, and basic winterization. This week, he passes along recommendations for the vegetable and flower garden.
LATE-SEASON HARVESTING TIPS– We’ve reached that point of the growing season where harvesting tomatoes and peppers depends largely on the weather. K-State horticulturist Ward Upham says any remaining tomatoes and peppers should be harvested before a frost or freeze. He explains how to harvest and store the last of this season’s tomatoes and peppers.
HOW TO PLANT GARLIC THIS FALL– Early October is the preferred time for planting garlic. K-State horticulturist Ward Upham discusses how to plant garlic, what to expect between planting this fall and harvesting in early to mid-June and the two types of garlic that do well in Kansas.
SELECTING SPRING-FLOWERING BULBS– Spring-flowering bulbs, such as tulips, daffodils and crocus, should be planted in early-to-late fall to give them enough time to root before winter. That means now is a good time to be selecting the bulbs you want. K-State Research and Extension horticulture agent for Riley County, Gregg Eyestone, discusses the selection process for bulbs and the benefits of conducting a soil test before planting later this fall.
FALL WEBWORM AND CICADA KILLERS– If you’re concerned about fall webworm infestations, this time of the year, feeding by fall webworm caterpillars is not directly harmful to trees, especially large trees. K-State horticultural entomologist, Raymond Cloyd, explains how to manage fall webworm, along with cicada killers and blister beetles.
REPLENISHING COOL-SEASON LAWNS– When heat and a lack of rainfall have thinned or heavily damaged a cool-season lawn, September is a good time to replenish it. K-State Research and Extension horticulture agent for Johnson County, Dennis Patton, explains the process for planting or overseeding cool-season lawns.
FALL LAWN SEEDING TIPS– September is considered the best time to seed cool-season lawns in Kansas, such as tall fescue or Kentucky bluegrass. K-State horticulturist Ward Upham says success is dependent on fertilization, proper rates, dispersal, good seed contact and proper watering. He discusses each step in the seeding process.
SEVERAL ACTIVE INSECT PESTS– There are several active insect pests in the home landscape and garden. According to K-State horticultural entomologist Raymond Cloyd, squash bugs, blister beetles, cucumber beetles and squash vine borer are all currently active. He explains what can be done to control these pests.
STARTING A COMPOST PILE– Composting is a process that occurs naturally as organic materials breakdown in the landscape. Kansas State University horticulture and garden management instructor, Cynthia Domenghini, says using compost in the landscape provides plenty of benefits for the soil, including improved water holding capacity, drainage and added nutrients.
DIVIDING AND REPLANTING IRIS– As a general rule, iris should be divided about every three to five years to keep the plants from outgrowing their allotted space in the garden and to increase bloom quality. Bearded iris can be divided any time after flowering. In the Midwest, this is often done in August to allow the replanted portions of the plant to have time to develop new roots and become established before colder weather arrives. K-State Research and Extension horticulture agent for Riley County, Gregg Eyestone, explains the process for dividing and replanting iris.
PRIORITIZING LANDSCAPE WATERING– In light of extreme drought across Kansas, homeowners, especially those under watering restrictions, are having to prioritize where that water goes. While many people want to save their lawns, K-State horticulturist Ward Upham says that’s not as high of a priority as other parts of the landscape that would be expensive to replace, such as large, established trees.
INTEGRATING NATIVE PLANTS– For a variety of reasons, native plants are becoming more popular in the home landscape. For the August K-State Garden Hour, Douglas County Horticulture and Natural Resources Extension agent, Dr. Sharon Ashworth, is discussing the ecological benefits of native plants and how to successfully integrate them into the home landscape. She provides an overview of the things she’ll cover during the August 2nd webinar.
INSECT PEST ACTIVITY PICKS UP– As we get deeper into summer, the insect pest activity across the state is picking up. K-State horticultural entomologist, Raymond Cloyd, says bagworms, Japanese beetles, squash bugs, blister beetles and two-spotted spider mites are all currently active. He covers what, if anything, should be done to control these pests.
ARE TOMATOES FEELING THE HEAT?– Tomato growers may be noticing that their otherwise healthy tomato plants are failing to produce fruit. K-State Research and Extension horticulture agent for Riley County, Gregg Eyestone, says tomatoes have an optimal temperature to fruit and when daytime temperatures reach above 85 degrees Fahrenheit it interferes with pollination and can cause plants to abort flowers.
INSECT PESTS AND DISEASE– K-State horticultural entomologist, Raymond Cloyd, and Judy O’Mara, director of the K-State Plant Disease Diagnostic Lab, presented the July Garden Hour on common Kansas insect pests and diseases. O’Mara discussed the impact weather has on disease issues for trees, shrubs and plants, as well as how to identify and manage insect pests and fungal diseases in the home landscape.
BERMUDAGRASS IN TALL FESCUE– If bermudagrass, a warm-season grass, invades tall fescue, a cool-season grass, the bermudagrass will spread and take over. Mid-July is a good time to start controlling bermudagrass in tall fescue lawns. However, the procedure takes about eight weeks to complete and includes spraying with Roundup or another product with glyphosate, scalping the treated area, spraying again with a glyphosate product and reseeding the treated area. K-State horticulturist Ward Upham explains.
SUBSTRATE STRATIFICATION RESEARCH– As container gardening continues to increase in popularity, new research is focusing on reducing water use, especially in larger containers. Kansas State University nursery crop and marketing specialist, Cheryl Boyer, says a study using substrate stratification – layering different substrates or different textures of the same substrate within a single container – is producing some promising results.
SEVERAL ACTIVE INSECT PESTS– Early detection and treatment is the key to successfully controlling insect pests. K-State horticultural entomologist Raymond Cloyd says now is the time to control bagworms and that rose sawfly, elm leaf beetle and elm flea weevil are all currently active.
SELECTING THE RIGHT POTTING MEDIA– A quick trip to the local garden center looking for potting media for containers, flower beds or a raised vegetable garden may take longer than you imagined. That’s because there are a lot of options and if you don’t know what you’re looking for the labels can be confusing. K-State Research and Extension nursery crop and marketing specialist, Cheryl Boyer, says there are a few easy steps for screening the available choices down to one that works best for your needs.
DROUGHT TOLERANT LANDSCAPES– To conserve water and money, many people are looking to develop a more drought tolerant landscape. For May’s K-State Garden Hour, Sedgwick County Extension horticulture agent Matthew McKernan and Central Kansas District horticulture agent Jason Graves discussed plants, trees, shrubs, perennial flowers and annual flowers that are able to handle extreme periods of drought and do well once they’re established in the home landscape.
OPTIONS FOR WEED CONTROL– Weed control often seems like an endless battle. As soon as you think they’re under control, they magically reappear. K-State Research and Extension horticulture agent for Riley County, Gregg Eyestone covers four ways to control weeds in the garden and home landscape: pulling by hand, applying a pre or post-emergent weed killer and putting down some mulch.
A START-TO-FINISH GARDEN GUIDE– From first-time to master gardeners, K-State Research and Extension has a guide that can aid them in planning, planting, growing and harvesting a variety of fruits and vegetables in Kansas’ difficult climate. Rebecca McMahon, administrator of K-State’s local food systems program and one of the authors of the revised Kansas Garden Guide, says this informative and educational publication is designed to help all gardeners be successful.
INSECT PEST ACTIVITY– While insect pest activity is still light, K-State horticultural entomologist Raymond Cloyd says that will most likely change in the weeks ahead. This week, he focuses on bagworms, the boxwood leaf miner, aphids, asparagus beetles, winged termites and winged ants.
REFLECTING CHANGES IN GARDENING– The Kansas Garden Guide – one of the most relied upon guides to gardening in Kansas – has undergone a major makeover to better the reflect the needs and experiences of a wide range of gardeners, especially new gardeners. Rebecca McMahon, administrator of Kansas State University’s local food systems program and an author of the 2023 Kansas Garden Guide, says the new guide reflects changes in practices as well as the way people think about and approach gardening.
REDUCING WATER USAGE– As drought conditions continue across much of Kansas, homeowners are looking for ways to reduce water use in the home landscape. According to K-State Research and Extension horticulture agent for Johnson County, Dennis Patton, there are short-term and long-term solutions for reducing water use in the home landscape while maintaining curb appeal.
WARM-SEASON VEGETABLE PLANTING– Cool-season vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage are already planted, so it’s time to start thinking about warm-season vegetables. K-State Research and Extension horticulture agent for Riley County, Gregg Eyestone, discusses some of the early-season warm-season vegetables for Kansas and the importance of waiting for the correct soil temperature before planting.
INSECT PESTS TO WATCH FOR– Insect pest activity – both indoors and outdoors – will be more widespread this spring and summer. K-State horticultural entomologist Raymond Cloyd says some early insect pests to keep an eye on include the Eastern tent caterpillar, clover mites and the elm leaf beetle.
PLANNING YOUR GARDEN SPACE– With the gardening season in Kansas ramping up, K-State Research and Extension horticulture agent in Sedgwick County, Rebecca McMahon, encourages gardeners to make a diagram of their garden space before purchasing seeds and plants. She explains how a diagram helps in choosing plants, determining planting and harvesting dates and whether it might be possible to plant another garden later in the growing season.
USING CRABGRASS PREVENTERS– Crabgrass preventers are just – preventers. With a few exceptions, they must be applied before germination. K-State Research and Extension horticulture agent for Riley County, Gregg Eyestone explains how crabgrass preventers work and why the timing of the application improves controlling crabgrass.
SPRING COOL-SEASON LAWN CARE– If you have a cool-season lawn, typically that’s Tall fescue or Kentucky bluegrass, early spring is a good time to start caring for the lawn. K-State horticulturist Ward Upham offers tips for the initial spring mowing, fertilizing, watering and weed control.
INSECT PEST TREATMENT OPTIONS– We’ll undoubtedly see a variety of insect pest problems this spring and summer. In many cases, we’ll look for a pesticide to control the pests. However, K-State horticultural entomologist Raymond Cloyd says that may not be necessary. He says there are alternative options that can be just as effective.
TIPS FOR WATERING HOUSEPLANTS– To survive and thrive, houseplants need the proper amount of water. Unfortunately, watering houseplants can be tricky. The March K-State Garden Hour webinar includes tips to help people avoid over or under watering their houseplants. K-State Research and Extension horticulture agent for the Post Rock District, Cassie Thiessen (tee-son), covers the basics of successfully watering houseplants.
IS THE SOIL TEMPERATURE RIGHT?– As daytime temperatures continue to climb, so does the temperature of the soil. But when is the soil temperature warm enough to start planting cool-season crops? K-State Research and Extensjon horticulture agent for Riley County, Gregg Eyestone, says checking the soil temperature – at a depth of approximately two inches – is the only way to know when the soil is warm enough to begin planting.
INSECT PESTS ARE COMING SOON– While insect pest activity probably won’t be noticeable for several months, there are some early-season pests to be aware of. K-State horticultural entomologist Raymond Cloyd says aphids and Eastern Tent Caterpillar are typically the first to appear. He explains how to recognize and manage insect pests in early spring.
PRUNING FRUIT TREES– If the wood is not frozen, prune peach, nectarine, apple, cherry, pear or plum trees can be pruned from now through March. The goal is to allow more sunlight to reach the interior of the trees to increase fruit production. K-State Research and Extension horticulture agent for Johnson County, Dennis Patton, covers the general recommendations for pruning fruit trees in late winter and early spring.
VEGETATIVE PLANT PROPAGATION– The most recent K-State Garden Hour, hosted by K-State Research and Extension horticulture staff, focuses on vegetative plant propagation. Dr. Jason Griffin, director of the John C. Pair Horticulture Center in Haysville, covers the steps involved in vegetative propagation – the process of making new plants that are genetically identical to your existing plants.
EXTENSION GARDENING PUBLICATIONS– If you have a gardening question, K-State Research and Extension probably has a publication in its online bookstore that can provide the answer. KSRE director of publications, Mark Stadtlander, discusses some of the most popular gardening publications and how to find them.
START TREES OFF RIGHT– K-State’s John C. Pair Horticultural Center has conducted research on the effect of controlling grasses around newly transplanted Eastern redbud seedlings and pecan seedlings. If lawn grasses were controlled around the trees, K-State horticulturist Ward Upham says they showed significant growth in diameter, top growth weight, leaf area and leaf weight.
RELIABLE GARDENING INFORMATION– The 2023 K-State Garden Hour, a webinar series hosted by K-State Research and Extension horticulture staff across the state, kicked off January 4th with Reno County Extension horticulture agent Pam Paulsen discussing gardening myths and misconceptions. As part of her presentation, she provided tips for narrowing online search results and finding research-based information.
GARDEN PLANNING PUBLICATIONS– As gardeners continue to comb through the seed catalogs that seem to arrive daily, K-State horticulturist Ward Upham encourages them to do some careful planning before ordering seed. He says to determine how big an area is needed, what to plant, and then research varieties known to perform well in their particular area. Upham also says K-State has several publications that can help gardeners with the planning process.
STARTING TRANSPLANTS FROM SEED– Gardeners looking to get a jump on the growing season can do more than look through all the seed catalogs that have arrived – they can start transplants from seed. K-State Research and Extension horticulture agent for Riley County, Greg Eyestone, covers the steps involved in starting vegetable transplants indoors.