GARDENING IN IOWA

Eastern cicada killer wasps are back

Ask a Master Gardener | Linn County Master Gardener

An eastern cicada killer wasp looks very menacing and scary at 1 1/2 inches long. However, they are relatively non-aggre
An eastern cicada killer wasp looks very menacing and scary at 1 1/2 inches long. However, they are relatively non-aggressive. Males are territorial and will divebomb if provoked, but they cannot sting. Only females can sting. (Dreamstime)
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Q: My Asiatic lily plant is turning brown. Can I move them now?

A: Yes, you can move them. Dig down 6 to 8 inches in the soil to dig up the entire bulb and transplant it.

Q: My spirea are done blooming. If I trim them, will the re-bloom?

A: You can give your plants a light trim and some of the plant will re-bloom later in the summer.

Q: My Rutgers tomatoes look spindly. What can I do?

A: Check the soil (dig your finger into the soil). Check if it’s too dry. You can mulch to keep the soil cool and to retain water, or add 10-10-10 fertilizer. You might want to rotate your tomatoes on a three-year basis (plant a different plant next year in this spot).

Q: Are dandelions bad for your soil/lawn? Are they an indication of something wrong?

A: Dandelions loosen the soil with a long taproot and thus help to aerate the soil. They can be an indication of neutral, fertile soil. All parts of a dandelion are edible and the plant does not hurt your lawn.

Q: There are round, brown spots in my lawn. I have an irrigation system. What could be causing this?

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A: You should water less often and water deeply, not more frequently. Shallow watering can cause fungus to form.

Q: I found a BIG wasp-like insect at our house. What could it be?

A: Eastern cicada killer wasps are showing up now. They sting cicadas and lay eggs on it, feeding on the cicada. The wasps fly out when they’re grown. They typically nest in the ground.

Q: My hens-and-chicks look like they have root rot and there’s a tall flower on it. I’ve never seen that flower before — why is it doing that?

A: These are succulents and don’t need much water. You can remove the “chicks” and plant elsewhere. Make sure to have well drained soil and don’t water frequently. Flowers are created when there’s stress, too much water, or too much light (it creates a seed to regenerate itself).

Q: I have cucumber blossoms but no cucumbers. Why?

A: It might be lack of pollination. Look for male flowers, which will develop into cucumbers. They’re bigger than female flowers.

Q: I have worms on my tomatoes. What do I do?

A: You can pick them off. There isn’t any good chemical control. They produce two generations a year. Next year, move the tomatoes to a new location. It’s always good to rotate your crops on a regular basis.

Call the Master Gardeners with your questions at (319) 447-0647 or send questions and photos to linncountymastergardener@gmail.com.

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