Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens

Archive for April 2009

What A Bore

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If you’ve read any articles of mine before, you know my feelings on entomology and all things creepy-crawly.  One of my least favorite classes at Iowa State!  But necessary to know, unfortunately, if you want to be successful in the garden.

I had a question about Emerald Ash Borers last week and thought I’d share a bit of information with you on this pesky beetle.  Emerald Ash Borer, Agrilus planipennis, is a wood-boring beetle found destroying our Ash (Fraxinus)* tree population throughout the Midwest.  The beetle was first discovered in Detroit, Michigan in 2002 and was imported to the U.S. from wooden shipping crates from China.  Since then it has been discovered in the eastern and midwestern states, as well as Canada.

Adult Emerald Ash Borers eat on Ash leaves, and cause little harm.  The immature stage (called larva), however, feed on the tissue** under the bark that causes severe damage.  Once a tree has been infected by Eastern Ash Borer, it will likely die in 2-4 years.

This beetle can only fly a few miles on its own, so it is mainly transported inadvertently by humans who move infested firewood, Ash nursery stock or other Ash by-products.

Thankfully, we have not seen Emerald Ash Borer at The Arboretum, so I do not have any photos to show you.  If you would like to learn more (and see photos) of this beetle, please visit http://www.emeraldashborer.info/identifyeab.cfm.  And for a recent newspaper article on Emerald Ash Borer and Iowa, please visit http://www.emeraldashborer.info/identifyeab.cfm.

See you in the gardens.


*For more information on identifying Ash trees in the landscape, please visit http://www.anr.msu.edu/robertsd/ash/ashtree_id.html.

**Tissue under the bark consists of xylem and phloem.  Xylem helps provide structural support and conducts water and nutrients upward from the roots.  Phloem moves in the opposite direction, and conducts food from the leaves to other parts of the plant.




Written by cedarvalleyarboretum

April 19, 2009 at 4:05 pm

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Spring About

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My dad farms just south of The Arboretum.  He’s a fourth-generation farmer, so I actually come from a long line of ‘growing things.’  The desire to be working the land is in our blood and each spring, we’re anxious to get started.  About the first week in April we start smelling the air, waiting for that fresh spring smell.


Spring is finally here, and you can definitely smell it in the air today.  I hope you’re able to get out and enjoy this beautiful weather!



While the gardens still look a bit rough, there are posies to see at The Arboretum.  I hope you’ll stop out and take a look around.  In fact, the perfect excuse to enjoy The Arboretum is to attend tomorrow’s Spring Session at 10:00 a.m. in the Head House.   The Spring Sessions have been organized as an opportunity to learn more about garden volunteer opportunities at The Arboretum – click on the ‘2009 Spring Sessions’ tab on the right for more information.


If you cannot attend a Spring Session tomorrow, there are also sessions held on April 21, 23, 25 and 30.  I hope you’ll plan on attending.


See you in the gardens.

Written by cedarvalleyarboretum

April 17, 2009 at 2:59 pm

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Growing Green

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If you’ve visited The Arboretum this spring, have you noticed a few missing trees in the parking lot?


This past October, we removed 14 Catalpa trees from the parking lot found in the southwest corner of The Arboretum grounds.   Catalpas are beautiful park trees if planted in the right growing conditions, but unfortunately, our Catalpas were severely infected with Verticilium Wilt.  This fungus infects through the roots and is difficult to control once established.  Excess moisture from the spring exacerbated the infestation to the point of treatment and maintenance costs were no longer feasible.



 Thanks to a generous donation from Green Scene, The Arboretum will be able to replace the parking lot trees this spring.  We will replace the Catalpa with Honeylocust “Shademaster,” a successful street tree that is resistant to Verticilium Wilt and thrives in parking lot growing conditions. 


The Arboretum’s main objective has always been to provide a public green space for the education and enjoyment of our natural world.  The trees and flowers planted, classes taught and events hosted are the direct result of generous community organizations like Green Scene. 


Thank you, Green Scene, for your support!


If you would like to learn more about Green Scene, please visit their website at http://greensceneinc.org and plan on attending their annual plant sale on May 9, 2009.  The sale is 9:00 a.m. to noon at Cattle Congress in Waterloo.


**  Like most years, planting opportunities for 2009 exceed our abilities to plant.  There were other trees lost last season, but The Arboretum is choosing to only focus on the parking lot this year in order to not plant more that can be effectively cared for.  Also in 2009, the Planning & Operations Committee and Board of Directors will work together to develop a unified and simplified landscape design that emphasizes both horticulture and financial sustainability.

Written by cedarvalleyarboretum

April 13, 2009 at 4:16 pm

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Beginning of a Season

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April 1 marks the beginning of The Arboretum’s 2009 season.  Unfortunately, there will be no parade or grand celebration to welcome in opening day … although I think such a fanfare is deserving after another winter’s pass!  The gardens and grounds will be slow to start this first month, but the idea of gardening again is within reach. 


There is something exciting about watching a garden come to life in spring.  Working in the fresh air and feeling the sun’s warmth is re-energizing.  Spring also provides a clean slate, where possibilities seem endless.  Because after a long winter, it is easy to forget about the past season’s failures, weeds and pests!  After months of scouring garden magazines and planning, I’m excited for opening day.  I look forward to building on The Arboretum’s past success while growing to meet future needs.


Opening day seems an appropriate beginning to our blog, don’t you think?  As the season takes shape, I hope you’ll visit often to read about The Arboretum’s activities.  Better yet, I hope you will subscribe and get involved!  The purpose of this blog is to keep you informed, as well as provide an opportunity to comment and ask your gardening questions.  I look forward to hearing from you!


The gates are open, so please visit soon!  Now is a wonderful time to walk the one-mile trail and watch the trees begin to bud.   And please don’t hesitate to stop and say hello as you see Arboretum Volunteers and I preparing planting beds and completing other spring cleaning tasks … it’s always a good excuse to take a break!



See you in the gardens.


Written by cedarvalleyarboretum

April 1, 2009 at 4:09 pm

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