The Colorado potato beetle is generally found on potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant and other solanaceous family plants. Adults become active in May and lay eggs on the underneath side of leaves. Damage to crops when populations are high, especially in the 2 week time frame of potato flowering, can be significant. If you have a few plants, the best thing to do is scout them closely and handpick any eggs or insects. For more information about Colorado Potato Beetles, here are links from K-State Research and Extension and University of Minnesota Extension.
If you grow any cole crops—cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower or kale—you know that little green worms can wreak havoc on your plants. Early scouting and control are key to managing the pest. If you see the brown or white butterly flying around your plants, they are looking for places to lay eggs and you will have worms eating your cruciferous vegetables soon. Here are links from K-State Research and Extension with detailed information about the cabbage looper and imported cabbageworm.
White clover is generally considered more of a turf weed than a garden weed. However, you may have some if your garden area was once a low maintenance turf area. White clover is a legume which means that it along with other bean family members fix nitrogen into the soil that the plant can use from the air. It is an early spring flowering weed that will benefit the early pollinators. Leave it around your garden area. If it is too much, here are some resources to help deal with clover.
Chickweed is another very common winter annual weed. They germinate in the fall and overwinter. In the spring they become noticeable with excess growth. There are two chickweed species in our area, common chickweed and mouse ear chickweed. Both grow low to the ground and have small, oval leaves with tiny hairs that are oppositely arranged around the stem. The mouse ear chickweed has more hairs on the leaves and really look like mouse ears. Chickweed is best controlled in the fall. It has a shallow root system that is easy to pull in the spring.
Henbit is a winter annual weed that you may be noticing right now. They are rapidly growing in your garden area and have little purple flowers. When you pass a green space with a patch of purple, that’s likely henbit. Henbit’s purple flowers and a square stem make it easily identifiable. Plants germinate in the fall and overwinter. The fall is the best time to control the plants. Consider leaving them until you’re ready to plant. They have shallow root systems, so they are easy to pull. Early pollinators benefit from their flowers as there are just a few blooming plants now. Soon everything will be in bloom and you can pull before it goes to seed.
Dandelions are a perennial plant. They have lots of growth and flowers in the springtime. During the summer, they bide their time waiting until the cool fall weather arrives. They will start growing again and making food reserves to be stored in their taproot for the upcoming winter and spring. Fall is the best time to control dandelions due to the movement of food to the root. Dandelions are one of the earliest flowers and pollen sources in the spring for honeybees and solitary bees. Leave a few around to help our pollinator friends. More information on dandelion control can be found at this link from K-State Research and Extension.