Monday, June 15, 2009

Look out for leaves of three.. but don't be fooled

Anyone who knows me has seen the importance of why I should stay away from poison ivy. This woody vine occurs as a weed of landscapes, woods, and fields. Poison ivy is the major cause of allergenic dermatitis in the eastern United States, which causes inflammation, blistering, and itching of the skin. Honestly, it can be down right painful and uncomfortable!

This first photo Here is a photo of some poison ivy climbing a tree here in Jackson Park.

Leaves occur on petioles and are divided into three leaflets which are generally oval in shape. Leaflets may be either toothed, untoothed, or lobed. Older leaves are generally either toothed and lobed or untoothed and lobed.

The two lateral leaflets occur on very short petioles, while the central leaflet occurs on a much longer petiole. Although leaf shape is highly variable, the lateral leaflets are often distinctly lobed on one side of the leaflet and not on the other. Each leaflet is hairless and ranges from 3/4 to 4 inches in length and width.

This picture taken a few feet from the first picture is not poison ivy, but instead it is boxelder. A tree in the maple family that is commonly mistaken for poison ivy. If you look closely, you will see that the leaflets of a boxelder are opposite and those of poison ivy are alternate.

For more information of poison ivy, visit this site Poison Ivy.

Friday, June 5, 2009

"Dog Vomit" Slime Mold

There’s been a bumper crop of slime molds in landscape beds this year, and we’ll see them throughout the summer and into the fall. By far the species most often noticed is Fuligo septica, a.k.a. the “dog vomit” slime mold. Despite the unpleasant name, it is completely harmless to humans, animals and plants.

Slime molds spend most of their lives as amoeboid cells or inconspicuous plasmodia that creep slowly through soil, leaf litter, mulch, etc. A plasmodium feeds by engulfing bacteria, spores, and bits of organic matter. It eventually moves out to a more exposed location on top of mulch, pine straw, a stump, a low-growing plant, or even the foundation of a building. There it stops moving and transforms into a fruiting (spore-producing) body. This is when Fuligo septica first gets noticed as a bright yellow, frothy mass a few inches to up to a foot in diameter. It quickly fades to a dull orange and then a light tan as its surface dries to a crust. After a few days it breaks apart to release its dark-colored spores, which blow away to start the life cycle anew. Within a week or two, all that’s left is a dusting of leftover spores and bits of gray or yellowish crust.

Control measures for Fuligo septica are neither effective nor necessary. If considered intolerably unsightly, they can be removed by hand or washed off with a hose, but there's a good chance that new ones will pop up at a later date, though probably not next year, unless new mulch is applied.

Written by: Mike Munster, Department of Plant Pathology

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

New Blog about Bees

For those of you who are interested in bees and bee issues, there is another blog for you to consider. Bill Skelton, Haywood County Extension Director has begun a blog to keep you informed on all issues concerning bees in the county. I may be posting to that sight as well from time to time. If you get a chance, check it out at: