B. Rosie Lerner
Consumer Horticulturist


Check out Rosie's book:Possum in the Pawpaw Tree





Question and Answer

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lightning strike
Lightning Strike Damage

Q. Lightning struck my maple tree early this morning. The tree has no visible damage on any of the outside bark, but as you can see from the picture, the ground above the root system was blown away in ruts in every direction. Do you have any opinion about the likely survival of this tree? Thanks for any input.

A. That is quite the "striking" photo! I wish I could be more specific, but there really is no way to know the extent of the injury to the tree. I would expect some of the root system to be affected, at the very least, and that could be a gradual process of showing up in the top growth.

I would say there is no need for immediate action; it's best to take a wait-and-see approach. If you see dieback in the canopy, the dead/dying limbs should be pruned out so they don't become a hazard. If greater than 50 percent of the canopy ends up dying back, you might consider removing the tree. You'll find additional information on lightning damage at www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/lightningstrikes.html and http://www.ppdl.purdue.edu/ppdl/hot11/6-2.html.

mock strawberry
Mock Strawberry

Q. I found this vine growing next to a fence gate in my yard. I am having a bit of difficulty identifying it; maybe you can help. Is this poison ivy? Thank you.

A. Good news - this is not poison ivy! It looks like mock strawberry, which would have yellow flowers. The plant is so named for the small, red, seedy fruits that look like strawberries; however, they look a lot better than they taste! See http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/weeds/plants/mock_strawberry.htm for more information.










Writer: B. Rosie Lerner
Editor: Olivia Maddox,