Extension Information

Clayton County ISU Extension & Outreach Media Packet for 4/20/17

Saturday, April 29, 2017

9:00 AM - 11:30 AM  4-H & FFA Market Sheep & Goat Weigh-In   Clayton County Fair Grounds, National

EAB Treatment Windows Open for Protecting Healthy Ash Trees

Article | Wed, 04/19/2017 - 08:38 | By Mark Shour, Laura Sternweis

AMES, Iowa – Iowans who want to protect their ash trees have options for a brief time this spring. However, the options apply only to valuable and healthy ash trees within 15 miles of a known infestation of emerald ash borer.

The emerald ash borer has been detected in 45 counties in Iowa
. Unprotected ash trees will be killed by EAB as it moves through the state.

From mid-April to mid-May landowners can apply a soil drench or a granular product around the base of an ash tree that is 20" diameter (60" circumference) or smaller, says Mark Shour, an entomologist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

Other treatments by certified commercial pesticide applicators could be made later. A basal trunk spray to the lower 5 feet of an ash tree can be applied from mid-May to mid-June for trees 23" diameter (69" circumference) or smaller. The window for injecting the trunk of an ash tree is wider, from initial full canopy until the end of August, Shour said.

Full details are available in the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach publication “Emerald Ash Borer Management Options,” available in
English (PM2084) and Spanish (PM2084S). Both versions are available for free download from the Extension Store, https://store.extension.iastate.edu/.  

“The insecticide products listed in this publication work best as preventive treatments for healthy ash trees planted along streets or in yards or parks," Shour said. "Healthy trees have full crowns, elongating branches and bark held tightly to the trunk/branches. It is not practical or cost effective to treat woodlot trees where timber production is the primary goal."

“If an ash tree is declining, storm damaged, or growing in a limited site, has loose bark, or if the cost of treatment will exceed the landscape value, replace the tree with an alternate species rather than treat,” Shour added.

For more information about EAB, its treatments and alternative tree species to replace ash trees, contact any of the following ISU Extension and Outreach specialists:

About the Authors

Mark Shour

Pesticide Safety Education Program


Laura Sternweis

Organizational Advancement


Yard and Garden: Container Gardening

Article | Thu, 04/20/2017 - 09:37 | By Richard Jauron, Greg Wallace

AMES, Iowa – A traditional home garden is a popular way to grow vegetables, but it’s far from the only way. Growing vegetable plants in containers can also produce a bountiful crop, although care must be taken to ensure meaningful growth.  

ISU Extension and Outreach horticulturists can help answer your questions about how to best handle container growing of vegetables. To have additional questions answered, contact the ISU Hortline at 515-294-3108 or

I would like to grow vegetables in containers. Can I use garden soil or should I purchase a commercial potting mix?

Plants grown in containers require a well-drained growing medium. Garden soil alone is not a good growing medium. Garden soil compacts when placed in a container, resulting in poor water drainage and aeration. Soil also pulls away from the inside of the container when it dries, making it difficult to properly water plants. A homemade potting mix can be prepared using equal amounts (volumes) of garden soil, sphagnum peat moss, and perlite.  

A commercial potting mix is often the best choice when gardening in containers. The quality of commercial potting mixes varies considerably. Poor quality potting mixes are often inexpensive, black, heavy, and don’t drain well. High quality commercial potting mixes are lightweight, well-drained, free of plant disease organisms and weed seeds, retain moisture and nutrients well, and don’t readily compact. Commercial potting mixes can be purchased at garden centers and many other retailers.

What type of container can be used to grow vegetables?

Containers may be plastic, clay, ceramic or wood. The container must be able hold an adequate amount of potting soil and have drainage holes in the bottom. Drill drainage holes in plastic and wooden containers, if no drainage holes are provided.  

In regards to size, several leaf lettuce or spinach plants can be grown in a one gallon container. A single pepper or eggplant can be grown in a two gallon container, while a four gallon container would be necessary for a single tomato plant.

Which tomato varieties are best suited to containers?

Determinate tomato cultivars are best suited to growing in containers. Determinate tomatoes are small, compact plants. They grow to a certain height, then flower and set all their fruit within a short period of time. Indeterminate tomatoes are large, sprawling plants which get too large for most containers.  

Suggested tomato cultivars for containers include ‘Bush Early Girl,’ ‘Better Bush,’ ‘Celebrity,’ ‘Patio Hybrid,’ ‘Patio  Princess,’ Sweet ‘n Neat Scarlet’ (cherry), and ‘Sweet Zen’ (grape).

Can vine crops be grown in containers?

Most cucumbers, melons, and squashes are not well suited to containers as they are large, sprawling plants. However, bush-type cucumbers and summer squash can be grown in containers. Bush-type cucumber cultivars suitable for containers include ‘Spacemaster,’ ‘Salad Bush,’ ‘Pickle Bush,’ and ‘Patio Snacker.’  Bush-type summer squash, such as ‘Zucchini Elite,’ ‘Gold Rush,’ ‘Sunburst,’ and ‘Patio Star,’ can also be grown in containers.  

About the Authors

Richard Jauron

Extension Horticulturist


Greg Wallace

Organizational Advancement


Additional Stories Published Online

4/19/17 EAB Treatment Windows Open for Protecting Healthy Ash Trees


Iowans who want to protect their ash trees have options for a brief time this spring. However, the options apply only to valuable and healthy ash trees within 15 miles of a known infestation of emerald ash borer.

4/18/17 Story County 4-H FIRST Robotics Team to Compete at World Championships


Story County 4-H Team Neutrino competed at the North Star FIRST Robotics Competition in Minneapolis, Minnesota on April 5-8, 2017. After 80 qualification matches, the team was ranked second, and finished in elimination matches as semifinalists, but took an even bigger reward home.

4/18/17 Youth Applicants Sought for Iowa 4-H Reporters Program


Youth can apply now for a new statewide 4-H opportunity, the Iowa 4-H Reporters program. Up to 16 youth will be selected to serve on one of four teams, each mentored by media and marketing professionals.

4/17/17 National Ag Tax Expert Joins Staff of ISU’s Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation


Phil Harris, a national expert on agricultural taxes, has joined Iowa State University’s Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation as a visiting professor.

4/17/17 Kimberly Greder Named Rossmann Manatt Awardee


Kimberly Greder received the 2016 Rossmann Manatt Faculty Development Award for demonstrating exceptional creativity and productivity in scholarship, teaching and service. She works with communities across Iowa to connect Latino immigrant families with resources to bring education through building trust.

4/17/17 Cover Crops Reduce Loss of Nitrogen and Phosphorus to Waterways


Reducing erosion is an important step in improving Iowa’s water quality. Planting cover crops is a proven and practical way to help reduce the loss of nitrogen and phosphorus into the state’s waterways.

4/14/17 State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa Announces Award, Prize, Scholarship Recipients


More than 200 students competed for prizes, awards and scholarships during the State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa for junior and senior high students, March 30-31 at Hilton Coliseum on the Iowa State University campus in Ames.

4/14/17 Soil Management and Land Valuation Conference Turns 90


The Soil Management and Land Valuation Conference, scheduled for May 17 at the Scheman Building, is designed for anyone who has an interest in agricultural land, land management and land valuation.

4/14/17 Andrea Nelson Named ISU Extension and Outreach Region 13 Director


Andrea Nelson has accepted the position of regional director for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Region 13 serving Dallas, Polk, Madison and Warren counties effective May 1.

4/13/17 Agronomy in the Field Classes for Women to be Held at FEEL


Agronomy in the Field is a multi-session workshop being offered to women landowners, farmers, conservationists and other women who are interested in learning more about agronomy.

4/13/17 New Guide Helps Food Hub Managers Evaluate Their Own Operations


The publication "A Manager's Guide to Food Hub Finances" gives food hub managers tools for measuring their business’ financial health while also addressing common financial concerns that arise in local food distribution.

4/13/17 Managing Weeds, Insects and Diseases Focus of ISU Extension and Outreach


Four extension specialists are highlighted in the video “Managing Weeds, Insects and Diseases." They show how they are working to keep pests from harming Iowa farmers.