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Garden & Yard Issues

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A yellow dandelion growing among fall leaves in a yard.

Fall Lawn Weed Control

Fall is the time to control tough perennial broadleaf lawn weeds. The target weeds in the fall are dandelion, ground ivy, creeping bell flower, field bindweed and white clover.

Woody looking zucchini plant.

What’s Killing My Zucchini and Squash Plants?

For many of us, this time of year is tough for our zucchini, squash and pumpkin plants. A close inspection of wilting plants may reveal a sawdust-like substance around the soil surface or on the base of the stem. When pushed, the plants typically break and reveal clear evidence of insect feeding through the stem.

Two common praying mantises. The English mantis and the Chinese mantis.

Are There Praying Mantises in South Dakota?

The short answer to the title of the article is "yes." Both the European mantis and the Chinese mantis can be found in South Dakota. As their names indicate, neither species is native to North America.

Black and grey bugs of different sizes feeding on a yellow squash.

Squash Bugs in Zucchini

Squash bugs are now becoming a headache for gardeners across South Dakota. Most of the reports so far have been on zucchini plants, but squash bugs feed on pumpkins and other types of squash as well. Injury caused by extensive feeding appears as wilting and may result in the death of infested plants.

A color-coded map indicating the average date of 32 degree temperatures across various Midwestern states.

Fall Frost and September Climate Outlook for 2019

This year’s struggles with weather and climate are continuing this fall. Late planting of corn and soybeans in the spring have now combined with near average or cooler than average summertime temperatures. This combination has led to slow crop growth and the need for an extended frost-free season to ensure these crops reach maturity.

A Kohlrabi plant with broad, frost-covered green leaves.

Fall Frost Tolerance of Common Vegetables

Vegetables vary widely in how much cold they can tolerate as they reach maturity.

Three common potato issues. From left: Potato scab, knobbing and cracking, and hollow heart.

What’s Wrong With My Potato?

We are accustomed to perfect-looking potatoes from the grocery store, but sometimes our homegrown tubers don’t meet that same standard. Following are a couple of common problems home gardeners may contend with.

A companion planting of kale, pole beans, and marigolds in a small garden plot.

Organic Pest Control Methods

Integrated pest management is an environmentally conscious approach to managing insects, weeds and disease. By focusing on natural processes, growers use pest control methods beginning with the least toxic and amplifying the pest control needs gradually if problems persist.

Straw mulch spread throughout a well-kept, organic garden plot.

Organic Gardening

Many professional horticulturists and hobby gardeners throughout South Dakota are considering the transition from conventional, synthetic plant production to more natural, organic methods. Knowing the procedures and methods presented in the next few articles will help set the foundations for successful organic plant care methods for years to come.

A group of raised ground beds with crops growing in them at McCrory Gardens in Brookings, South Dakota.

Preparing and Planting a Garden in a Cold, Wet Spring

As areas of South Dakota recover from a blistery winter and a relentlessly wet spring, many of us have begun planning our garden production cycle for the summer. With continued precipitation forecasted, it is important to consider responsible soil management and plant health practices to combat issues arising from cold, wet springs.