University of Maryland Extension

July 2013 HGIC Newsletter

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July 2013 Newsletter

From the Director…

Are you loving this sub-tropical weather? The weeds sure are! Last month I reported on our new Weeds section. I’m happy to say that we have added a new and special Lawn Weeds page thanks to Ria Malloy,  Debbie Ricigliano, and Lynn Jacobson. Managing lawn weeds can be difficult and frustrating. Turf grasses are not native plant species and Maryland is in a transition zone that suits neither the cool nor the warm season turf species.  So we are trying to grow a small number of grass species that are not terribly well adapted to our environmental conditions and we are trying to make turf grow in every conceivable area of our yards and landscapes- hot dry slopes; cool shade; under shade trees; wet, low-lying areas; compacted areas that receive a lot of foot traffic, etc. No wonder we have lots of weeds!

Before heading out to buy an arsenal of chemicals to annihilate the weeds…

  • Identify the weed.
  • Correct situations that are detrimental to healthy turf yet create a perfect environment for weed growth.
  • Consider an alternative to turf in particularly tough situations. For example, ground covers, rain gardens, drought tolerant species, native plants (content under development).
  • Pull out and discard small amounts of weeds before they set seed and spread
  • Learn to tolerate some weeds - REALLY!
  • As a last resort, use ready to use (RTU) products specifically formulated for the problem weed. Spot treat weeds instead of treating the entire lawn to reduce pesticides in the environment.
  • Be informed! Learn the terminology and the types of control products on the market and which will work best for you
  • Read and follow label directions!

HGIC will continue to add content on topics that you frequently ask about. Our goal is to share how-to gardening information and techniques that prevent and reduce plant problems. Please share your newsletter and encourage others to subscribe. Thank you!

- Jon Traunfeld 
HGIC Center Director


Jump To Articles Featured Video Ask an Expert Featured Plants July Quick Tips

Vegetable Pests and Problems - July 2013

By Jon Traunfeld

Brown marmorated stink bug nymphs have been present since late June on garden plants in Howard Co. Here's an egg mass hatching on the underside of a 4 ft. tall blackberry primocane. Young nymphs can be controlled with direct sprays of insecticidal soap, horticultural oil, or neem oil.

CLICK HERE to find out about more issues that may affect your own vegetables in July this year.

Grow It Eat It Update

Root Vegetables - Dig 'em!

By Ria Malloy

What’s the big deal about root vegetables? There’s more to root vegetables than meets the eye – potatoes, eyes, get it? All kidding aside, root vegetables are the darlings of the culinary circuit these days. Every famous chef has a favorite recipe for roasted root vegetables. It’s hard to find a restaurant menu these days without at least one beet dish gracing its pages. And, collectively, they pack a nutritional punch. Vegetable Nutrition Database (from Fruit and Veggies More Matters)

New to growing root crops? Click here to learn about root crops that you still have time to plant this season.

Assassin Bugs

By Mary Kay Malinoski

Assassin Bug

Assassin bugs are "true bugs". Assassin bugs are medium to large (1+ inches), and usually black or brown (some with bright colors). The adults are flattened with long, narrow heads and stout, curved beaks (or proboscis). The beak is usually carried beneath the body and pointed forward or downward during feeding. Most have narrow bodies and long, slender legs and antennae. Some, such as the wheel bug, have elaborate crests on the thorax. Most species can bite and some squeak. The nymphs, or young look like small adults without wings. Some are brightly colored, and others disguise themselves with dust or trash. There are many species in Maryland. Assassin bugs prey on many insects, including flies, tomato hornworms, large caterpillars and brown Marmorated stink bugs!

Sycamore Anthracnose

By Karen Rane

Sycamore Anthracnose

Conditions have been perfect this spring for a severe outbreak of sycamore anthracnose, caused by the fungus Apiognomonia veneta (say that three times!). We have had many reports in the past of American sycamores (Platanus occidentalis) and London plane trees (a cross between American sycamore and Oriental plane tree with the scientific name Platanus x acerifolia) that show significant shoot blight and defoliation. The fungus overwinters in cankers from previous infections, and produces spores in the spring that are dispersed by rainfall to young developing shoots.


We are also introducing a new “quick tips” video series to the HGIC website. We’ll feature a short video clip on a popular subject each month in the newsletter and archive them on the website. This month’s “quick tip” is about an inexpensive deer fence.

HGIC director Jon Traunfeld details his design for an easy, low-cost deer fence for your garden.  Check out other HGIC videos on our YouTube Channel.


Ask A Maryland Gardening Expert

Common or interesting questions from the last month at the HGIC.

Ask your own question here or call 1-800-342-2507!

- Compiled by Debbie Ricigliano


Dog Vomit FungusQuestion"What could this be growing in my mulch? It seemed to have popped up overnight. Kind of scary!"

AnswerThis is a type of fungus or slime mold that commonly grows in mulch. The scientific name of it is Fuligo septicai, but it is more commonly referred to as dog vomit fungus. During warm periods with either high humidity or rainfall they appear oftentimes quite suddenly on the top of much. Sometimes it even grows on top of plants and on the trunks of trees. These fungi feed on bacteria found in landscape mulch and when conditions are right, are prompted to grow. It begins as a yellow or orange mass but eventually dries to a white powder. Slime molds are not harmful but are not aesthetically pleasing. Control of slime mold is not necessary since they do not pose a threat to any plants in the garden. Dig it up and dispose of it in the trash, if you should desire to do so. There is no chemical control.


Question"The leaves of my roses have these tannish-white spots on them. Many of the leaves actually have holes in them and they look lacy. But, I do not see anything on them. What could this be and how do I treat it?"

AnswerThe leaves of your roses are being eaten by an insect called a rose slug. They are neither a slug nor a caterpillar (even though they look like one), but are the larvae of a species of sawfly. Sawfly adults are very small flying insects related to wasps. Sometimes you may be able to see them hovering over your roses as they lay eggs on the plant. The larvae are small, green in color and “slug-like” in appearance. They feed mostly from the underside of the leaf, which is where you need to look to find them, creating many holes and potentially causing defoliation. Severe rose slug feeding will stunt the rose’s growth and flowering. Treat with an insecticidal soap, horticultural oil or a systemic insecticide labeled for rose slugs or sawfly larvae. For additional information see the following information on our 'plant diagnostic' website.


We said a sad farewell to our old website’s “Send a Question” feature that served us and you so well for 12 years and happily replaced it with “Ask an Expert” that we think you will love. The widget is available on all UME web pages, it’s now easier to send a photo, and you will continue to receive an expert response within 48 hours. It has already increased the number of questions we answer by 27%!

Featured Plants
Elephant Ears Wave Petunias Red-Veined Dock Shasta Daisy 'Becky'

Elephant Ears

Elephant ears add texture and height with a tropical flair. 

Wave Petunias

Does not need to be deadheaded or cut back to keep them flowering until fall frost.

Red-Veined Dock

Best use is a container plant in water gardens and ponds.

Shasta Daisy 'Becky'

Showy and reliable this clump-forming perennial is a must have for your summer garden.

Quick Tips
Fruit Flowers Houseplants Lawns
Insects Wildlife Soil, Mulch, Compost Trees/Shrubs

HGIC Home and Garden Information Center
12005 Homewood Road
Ellicott City, MD 21042


The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources’ three units—Academic Programs, the Agricultural Experiment Station, and University of Maryland Extension—work in concert to educate students and citizens about critical issues and to solve problems in agriculture, food systems, and the environment. The college is an equal opportunity employer and provides equal access programs.

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