Thursday, July 28, 2005

Phallic mushroom

It's been extremely humid the past few weeks in NJ and the mushrooms have been flourishing. Lots of poisonous ones like the amanitas or agarics any many I can't identify. Here's a photo of one of the more interesting ones I've seen - mutinus caninus.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Rainbows over NJ

We don't usually see rainbows in NJ at least I haven't seen one in over 12 years but I saw two rainbows in two weeks several weeks ago. We saw many rainbows when living in Hawaii but it's quite unusual for NJ. Maybe with global warming we're becoming tropical? The photo is bad because I shot it through a window.

It's actually a double rainbow. You can barely make out the second one on the right. Maybe doubleclicking the photo will bring up the uncompressed original and make it clearer.

Monday, July 11, 2005


The Google ads in the sideboard of this blog is supposed to reflect the content of the current blog. But looking at the japanese beetle blog this morning I noticed the ads were about anger management. I wonder if they #x@*%#$! know something about me that I don't? Fungus, giant scales, mildew, fire blight, beetles, pesticides, eradicate, mash, squash, arrrgh! kill, kill, kill!

Brought up the blog again and now it's spyware removal, adware, anti spyware ads, huh? What gives? What keywords is the bot picking up?


Thursday, July 07, 2005

Japanese beetle attack!

I've been battling Japanese beetles everyday for the past week. They are attacking our Yoshino and Kwanzan cherry trees with a vengeance. One Yoshino cherry dropped a lot of its top leaves and hasn't attracted many beetles since. Did the tree make itself somehow less attractive? It still has a lot of leaves until about 3/4 of the way to the top. The other one that didn't drop any leaves still attracts oodles of beetles.

Since I'm trying to limit my use of pesticides I'm using the old squash 'em technique using your fingers or step and drag method if they've fallen to the ground. Trouble is these supposedly dumb critters have their own evasive technique, the "bailout". As soon as you try to grab 'em they fall a short way and take off flying so I miss many if I try to use the squash 'em method. I've resorted to using a sprayer with water and a surfactant-fancy name for soap/detergent. If I make the solution strong enough about a full tablespoon in a quart of water, it seems to kill or at least stun the buggers and they just sit there not doing much. I think this works because they drown. The surfactant allows the water to wet the beetle's abdomen and work its way into the breathing spicules so they drown even if not immersed in water. I found this remedy because I used it on ants and they died instantly. The spray lets me get to the beetles high in the golden rain tree flowers which they favor, even more than the cherries.

And gosh are they randy. Twosomes, threesomes and more-an orgy.

I was walking in our neighborhood park and noticed that the tops of linden trees and sassafras were almost denuded. This has been an especially bad year for jb infestation. I've never seen it quite this bad. Well they seem to be on the wane now and hopefully will be only a bad memory in a week or two.

Someone mentioned using milky spore to good effect. Said they hardly had any beetles at all. Apparently you apply it early in spring and it affects the larvae. They don't pupate. I may try it next year. But what about those that fly in from neigboring untreated yards?

One year I tried using a trap. Never again! We must have attracted every beetle within the whole township. What a mistake. The beetles were swarming all over the bushes where the trap was hanging and only a small fraction actually made it into the trap. We caught maybe 20 beetles the whole time the darned thing was hanging. Later, I heard that you should hang the trap as far away from your yard as possible preferably in some mean neighbor's yard-just kidding. They should change the name from trap to attractant. How about some truth in advertising.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Common milkweed (asclepias syriaca)

We were looking at the wild area behind our backyard and noticed a stand of common milkweeds poking above the brambles, poison ivy and honeysuckle. We thought it would be a stately plant to have and we always liked the look of the flowers and as a butterfly attractant so I decided to brave the poison ivy. I managed to dig up 5 small plants - couldn't get to the bigger ones because of the brambles but noticed that it was fairly difficult to get up out of the ground because it seemed attached to the taller ones. Later found out from some Gardenweb members that it is considered invasive and spreads by rhizomes/runners but easily controlled by pulling up the unwanted ones. I got an unwanted bonus too as I seem to have gotten some poison ivy on my foot near the toes despite wearing socks and tall rubber boots.

I also learned that the milkweed is an indicator of ozone air pollution displaying tiny black spots on the top of leaves - more meaning heavier pollution. Here's an excerpt from a website ( that describes this:

"Ozone injury on milkweed leaves is unique and relatively easy to diagnose. This injury typically results in sharply defined, small dot like lesions (stipples) on the upper surface of the leaves. These lesions are observed only on the upper leaf surface and are black-dark' purple. Veins are usually not affected. If injury is severe, it may produce an overall dark discoloration of the upper leaf surface as the lesions coalesce. The small purple dots may be observed on the damaged leaf below." and "Injury on the leaves may vary considerably! In general, the location of ozone injury on a leaf is determined by the maturity of the leaf. Acute ozone injury tends to develop towards the tip of young leaves, in the center of fully grown leaves, and at the base of the oldest leaves. Foliage frequently exposed to ozone may exhibit injury symptoms all over the upper leaf surface. Ozone damage appears as sharply defined, small dot-like lesions (stipples) on the upper surface of the leaves. These lesions are observed only on the upper leaf surface and are black-dark purple. Veins are usually not affected. If the injury is severe, it may produce an overall dark discoloration of the upper leaf surface as the lesions coalesce."

The website below shows the ozone damage.

So we've acquired a stately plant, monarch butterfly attractant, beautiful flowers and an ozone pollution indicator and all for free! Well not so free, my foot is itching like crazy.

Here's a link to a website if you'd like to do a project with your kids using milkweed to study ozone air pollution.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Garden Web

You all probably know about the GardenWeb forums but if you don't it is a great resource for almost everything about growing plants. I joined some time ago but have only recently had some time to look at some of the topics being discussed. If you have a question about gardening, you can ask at the appropriate forum and receive many helpful suggestions. I wish I had known about this website 5 years ago. I've added it to my list of links.
My Photo
Location: Zone 6, New Jersey, United States

Powered by Blogger

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]

Carnival-small Blogroll Me!

Listed on Blogwise

Blogarama - The Blog Directory

Gardening  Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory