Ilex VS Four-Lined Plant Bug (Poecilocapus lineatus)

 

imageThe four-lined plant bug (Poecilocapus lineatus) removes plant’s chlorophyll via their piercing-sucking mouthparts. They also secrete a toxin in their saliva that digests the components responsible for holding the plant cells together that leaves a hole in the plant’s epidermis. This feeding produces white, dark, or translucent spots the plant’s leaves, which can run together forming large blotches. Leaves can turn brown, curl-up and ultimately fall off. If feeding occurs on new growth, wilting may result.

Damage that the four-lined plant bug inflicts can be misidentified as a fungal disease spots because of the similar appearance and timing. Many times the bug isn’t seen during scouting, as when they are disturbed, the four-lined plant bug will drop to the ground or will hide on the other side of the stem. These are the same tactics asparagus beetles employ.image

How to mitigate the damage:

These bugs do like a wide variety of plants, so be aware that the damage may look just a bit different on different plants. Unless the attacked plant is very small or having the new growth chewed, most plants will pull though with some damage. Scout the damaged plant at different times of the day. Sometimes bugs don’t wake up early in the morning!

Have a cup of soapy water ready for when you do see one. They are easy to catch, place cup below them, wave your hand near them and they will cannonball into the soap water. No squishing required. Neem oil can also be used for bad cases.

During the fall, the banana shaped eggs are placed at right angles in vertical slits along the plant’s stem. The eggs will over winter and hatch in May to late-June. Therefore, removing the dead plant material at the end of the season will lower next season’s attacks.

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My poor Joe Pye Weed! Eupatorium fortunei ‘Pink Frost’

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Thirteen Line Ground Squirrel – Ictidomys tridecemlineatus

Cute Cute! Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrels (Gopher, Striped Ground Squirrel, Striped Gopher, Thirteen-lined Gopher, Striped Spermophile), they are not tree squirrels or chipmunks, but closely related. These guys are often seen standing on their hind legs on right of ways or other places where the grass is mowed. The squirrel’s coat pattern is distinctive, with 13 dark and pale stripes running the length of its back; with white spots in the dark stripes.

The thirteen-lined ground squirrel is the mascot of the University of Minnesota, Goldy Gopher and responsible for Minnesota’s nickname as the Gopher State.

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Don’t mind me, the cute little ground squirrel, I’m just here to clean-up the fallen seeds from the feeder above… Or am I?!? Muh-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha

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I’m very environmental. I always bring my own bags right here in my cheeks. I just pop these seeds in whole now and I’ll crack them open later during the “Rocky & Bullwinkle Show”.

Ground squirrels possibly once lived in a short-grass prairie and now our lawns are where they like to live. They dig a variety of tunnels, from short ones used for escape to deeper, longer ones with nesting/hibernation chambers. This usually gets them on the shit list with homeowners that want a perfect lawn. They also sometimes damage gardens by digging burrows and eating vegetables, but they also eat weed seeds and harmful insects. I like coexistence…. Unless you cross into MY small and humble ‘house-space’.

imageimageThese little cuties are in a brick flower planter built into my workplace’s garage. I’m pretty sure I have counted six of these little guys in there. When they were smaller, they fell out of the planter often and would need to be put back in there as it is quite high for them, but not an adult. I’ve not seen an adult enter the nest through the top, however it is possible it has another entrance somewhere else… Oh, JOY!!! I’ve not gotten any flack about feeding the birds or tree squirrels here at work, however these guys have passed the ‘house-space’ zone. In a week or so, I’m sure they will be a mature 28 days+ and at the normal time youngsters leave the nest. Sadly, these cuties are getting the HUMANE kick to the curb. I will be digging this out and corralling them out to the outcrop/evergreen area to go enjoy life a bit farther away from me. I’m not sure yet what will be my plan of defense to keep them out of there, however it will have to be some kind of barrier.

imageTheir primary diet includes seeds and insects, however sometimes they crave a little more protein…

I had just gotten to work one fine morning, waking-up my computer, opening the windows and about to go fire up a cup of joe, when I hear some awful “I’m being killed” type screams. I look out the window to see one of my cutie ground squirrels with a male house sparrow in it’s jaws and blood splattering from the birds flapping wings. I ran for the door instead of filming… Not sure what I was going to do upon arrival… As I ran around the corner, the squirrel was already almost back to it’s hole and dropped the sparrow upon seeing me.

Um, yeah. That bird had no chance.

I find it funny that I have seen these squirrels and the birds run around the ground together, within inches of each other for years, with no tangles. If this was so common, I think I would see more birds show concern when the squirrels are under the feeders.

Later, after I fled the scene with a somewhat upset belly, I saw the hunter come back for his meal. He sat by his hole, triumphantly eating his prize.

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Summer Blooming Flowers 6-25-2015

Happy Thursday to you all!!

Click to see what was blooming in 2013 & blooming in 2014.

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Delosperma ‘Fire spinner’ ~ Ice plant

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Schlumbergera truncata ~ Thanksgiving cactus

Errr. It’s not Thanksgiving!!!
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Syringa reticulata ‘Ivory silk’ ~ Lilac tree. Actually not that fragrant, however make a great street tree as they are salt tolerant.

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Leonurus cardiaca ~ Motherwort

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Enallagma cyathigerum ~ common blue damselfly, common bluet, or northern bluet

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Bumblebee” is a compound of “bumble” + “bee”. “bumble” meaning to hum, buzz, drone, or move ineptly or flounderingly. Pierre André Latreille assigned the generic name Bombus in 1802 and is derived from the Latin word for a buzzing or humming sound.

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Filipendula rubra ~ Queen-of-the-prairie

These are native here. Got me a clump about 3 feet wide by 3 feet high in full sun. It loves it.

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Trifolium Pratense ~ Red Clover

Red clover is thought to be one of the richest sources of isoflavones, which are water-soluble chemicals that act like estrogens (collectively known as phytoestrogens). Red Clover is used for hot flashes/flushes, PMS, breast enhancement (Really??) and breast health as well as lowering cholesterol, improving urine production and improving circulation of the blood, to help prevent osteoporosis, reduce the possibility of blood clots and arterial plaques and limiting the development of benign prostate hyperplasia.

And here we are, the STUPID humans that have to remove it from their lawn as it looks ‘bad’. Stupid, stupid human.

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Gaura lindheimeri ‘Siskiyou Pink’ ~ Wand flower

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Veronica longifolia ‘First Glory’ ~ Speedwell

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Summer Blooming Flowers 6-24-2015

Happy Wednesday to you all!

In 7 days, we will be off to Southern Wisconsin to camp on the Sugar River. I’m really hoping that Mother Nature cooperates and either holds back her rain or maybe only rain at night.

Here’s what was blooming in 2013 and what was blooming in 2014.

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Solanum dulcamara ~ bittersweet, bittersweet nightshade, bitter nightshade, blue bindweed, Amara Dulcis, climbing nightshade, fellenwort, felonwood, poisonberry, poisonflower, scarlet berry, snakeberry, trailing bittersweet, trailing nightshade, violet bloom, or woody nightshade.

Lots of common names for this one, however no need to form a relationship with this dangerous fellow. These are  noxious weeds here in the Midwest.

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Stylophorum diphyllum ~ celandine-poppy, wood poppy, poppywort

These are the seedheads… How cute are these?!?!

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Iris + Iris = Awesome!

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Gaillardia x grandiflora ‘Goblin’ ~ Blanketflower

Recognize this guy? Yup. My Gravatar! Another fav of mine =-D

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Penstemon ‘Red Riding Hood’ ~ Beard-tounge

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Centaurea montana ~ Blue cornflower, bachelor button

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Oenothera macrocarpa  ~ Missouri Evening Primrose, Ozark Sundrop

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Lychnis chalcedonica ~ Maltese cross, ragged robin, champion

This photo doesn’t do it justice with the brightness of the red-orange.

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Thymus praecox ‘Highland cream’ ~ Ornamental Thyme

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Spiraea japonica ‘Little Princess’ ~ Spirea

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Philadelphus (Mock Orange) x. ‘Buckley’s Quill’ ~ Buckley’s Quill Mockorange
I have been long awaiting (2 years!) the availability of this plant in a nursery near me. Finally, I got my hands on 5 for my front garden. These are right in my front yard and are under my livingroom windows where the wind tends to blow. Many gardeners consider this plant ‘messy & one-seasoned’, however I find it beautiful and worthy of the front yard. =-)
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So beautiful and smell so sweet!

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Summer Blooming Flowers 6-23-2015

Happy Tuesday to you all!
Here’s what was blooming in 2013 and what was blooming in 2014.
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Wisteria frutescens ~ American Wisteria

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Cacti paddies!

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Grasses flower also! Sooo, not going to try to ID this one. Surely, it is a weed, crabgrass?

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Thalictrum aquilegifolium ~ Meadow rue

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Delosperma ~ Beaufort West’

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Dianthus gratianopolitanus ‘Firewitch’ ~ Cheddar pins, carnations

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hmmm, anyone?

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Penstemon digitalis ~ Beard-toung

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Valerian officinalis ~ This herb plant has many, many uses. It can be helpful as a sedative, an anti-anxiety and for insomnia. Because it is so smelly, its extract has been used in perfumes. Another unusual thing about valerian is that the root and leaves contain actinidin, the same ingredient at catnip!

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Keep calm and chive on =-)

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Podophyllum peltatum ~ May apple. Maybe I’ll get one this year.

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Monday Memories

It’s another Monday Memories post! Bringing you things to think about during this time in horticulture =-)

Ilex VS The Asparagus Beetle

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The spotted asparagus beetle – Crioceris duodecimpunctata.

 

Mother Nature sure knew what she was doing when she created asparagus.

Asparagus is low in calories & sodium. It is a good source of calcium, magnesium, zinc, folic acid, protein, vitamins B, A, C, E, & K, rutin, thiamin, fiber, potassium, riboflavin, iron, phosphorus, copper, niacin, manganese and selenium, as well as chromium, a trace mineral that heightens the ability of insulin to transfer glucose from the bloodstream in cells. The amino acid asparagine derives its name from asparagus, as the asparagus plant is rich in this compound.

There are two kinds of asparagus beetle, the common asparagus beetle, Crioceris asparagi & the spotted asparagus beetle, Crioceris duodecimpunctata. Both feed on the tender young tips of the spear, but the spotted beetles larva tend to only eat the berries. How nice of them! =-)

The easiest way to catch these buggers is to have a cup of water ready. As you move towards them, they move to the other side of the stalk (quite funny to watch!) Put the cup under them & wave your hand near them. Their instinct is to drop to the ground, but instead, the cup of water will catch them. The larva and eggs aren’t as easy to remove. It’s the same method I use for typing… Hunt & peck.

Grasses for Fall Color

Grasses offering BURGUNDY fall colors:fall grasses

  • Panicum ‘Rotstrahlbusch’ – red switch grass – 3-4 feet high – Foliage emerges green with red tips, depending on the weather, may develop burgundy hue – Scarlet-red panicles emerge in mid summer
  • Panicum ‘Shenandoah’ – red switch grass – 4 feet high – Foliage develops burgundy tips in early summer – Burgundy panicles appear in mid summer
  • Miscanthus ‘Morning Light’ – variegated maiden grass – Foliage remains variegated – Burgundy plumes fade to cream color
  • Miscanthus ‘Silver Feather’ or ‘Silberfeder’ – maiden grass – Foliage blends into burgundy, purple, and gold – Silver plumes in late summer

For more colors, please visit the full post!

 Salvias – Sage

salviaThese are very versatile plants. Members of the mint family, thus the interesting square stems. These have a long blooming time of May through October in shades of purple and pink. Salvia love sun and are fairly drought tolerant after about a year of establishment. The do like drained soils, so no wet sites. Mints tend to be deer resistant, for those who share their space with these guys. If cut back after flowering, a second flush of blooms will follow. Sweet!

 

 

Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Illinois Beach – State Park Part Deux

We were back to camp at Illinois State Beach Park.

This area is a very different area than anywhere else in Midwest. The plants are very unique and were fun to find.
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Juniperus horizontalis – Creeping Juniper
In 2006, creeping juniper was listed as endangered in Illinois.

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Right up there, crawling through the sand… In Illinois!!

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Small white flower = Moehringia laterfolia ~ Bluntleaf sandwort

The white spiky plant is a mystery. I’m not even sure where to start =O It’s killing me tho… someone save me?!?

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Looking North towards Milwaukee…

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Looking South towards Chicago…

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I’ll link a later post here about these rocks…

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Not a rock a moss ball!

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Zion nuclear power plant. Still standing… It was supposed to be gone in 2014.

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Umm, I’m no engineer, however I wouldn’t use this ramp.

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More juniper… creeping.

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Breck and Lake Michigan

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Old beach house.

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Lupine, lupine everywhere!

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Asparagus!

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Red-Wing blackbird

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Opuntia – Prickly pear – The fruit is edible. Pretty kewl eh, Cacti in Illinois!

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© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Spring Blooming Flowers 6-17-2015

Happy Hump day!!

To see what was blooming in 2013 click HERE ~ 2014 click HERE.
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Tradescantia virginiana ~ Spiderwort ·

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Arabidopsis lyrata ~ Lyre-leaved rock cress

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Aquilegia canadensis ~ Columbine

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Erigeron philadelphicus ~ Fleabane

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Melilotus officinali ~ Sweet lawn clover

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Itea virginica ~ Sweetspire shrub

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Dodecatheon clevelandii ~ Padre’s Shooting Star

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Hesperis matronalis ~ dame’s rocket, damask violet, dame’s-violet, dames-wort, dame’s gilliflower, night-scented gilliflower, queen’s gilliflower, rogue’s gilliflower, summer lilac, sweet rocket, mother-of-the-evening and winter gilliflower.

Here, many folks think this is ‘wild phlox’. Sure, you could call it that if you like. However, the easy way to tell the difference is that this one has 4 petals and phlox has 5.

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It comes in white also.

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Baby burr oak. So cute and colorful.

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Equisetum ~ horsetail, snake grass, puzzlegrass

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Spring Blooming Flowers 6-16-2015

To see what was blooming in 2013 click HERE ~ 2014 click HERE.
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Iris veriscolor ~ northern blue flag

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Anemone canadensis ~ Canada anemone, round-headed anemone, meadow anemone, crowfoot, wind flower

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Sisyrinchium campestre ~ Prairie Blue-eyed grass

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Iris pseudacorus ~ Pale-yellow Iris

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Convallaria majalis ~ Lily of the valley

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Ferned out horsetail ~ Equisetum

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Fragaria vesca ~ Woodland strawberry

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Phlox divaricata laphamii ~ Woodland phlox

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Pastinaca sativa ~ wild parsnip

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Heracleum maximum ~ cow parsnip, Indian celery or pushki

The sap of the cow parsnip contains furocoumarin, a chemical responsible for a rash with burn-like blisters called erythematous vesicles. Hyperpigmentation occurs after getting the clear sap onto the skin. The chemical is photosensitive, with the rash occurring only after exposure to ultraviolet light. Because of this, phytophotodermatitis (fancy word for rash) typically occurs after using a weed-eater to remove the plants on a sunny day.

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Hmmm.

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Lupinus perennis ~ Lupine

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Lupine and Columbine

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl