|Posted by Beuna Tomalino on December 7, 2011 at 11:15 AM||comments (0)|
Many people have been asking what to do about slugs and snails. Normally I suggest cutting back on watering since damp ground encourages slugs and snails. However, there has been more of a problem this year due to all the rain. Iron phosphate slug baits work very well and are not harmful to people, pets, birds, or wildlife. Barriers can also reduce slug and snail damage. Small bits of hair (people or pet hair), crushed eggshells, sharp sand are all unpleasant for them and can protect your plants. Copper sheeting at least 2" wide can also provide a barrier but usually works best on pots, planters, or raised garden beds. Tending your garden organically allows the natural predators of slugs and snails to help you out. Birds (including ducks and chickens), ground beetles, snakes, lizards, and frogs are some of the natural predators of slugs and snails so help them out by learning how to attract them and only using natural fertilizers and pesticides.
|Posted by Beuna Tomalino on||comments (1)|
First of all it is important to know the difference. Some sites with photos and other information:
Knowing the difference can help you to know which ones are worth worrying about. They all provide some benefit to your garden.
Yellow jackets provide some benefit by eating insects and pollinating plants. However they are the most vicious and can sting numerous times. If you are allergic to their stings or you have so many that they are eating your grilled steak or getting in your soda pop, controlling them would be a good idea.
The best times of the day to use any controls are in the evenings just before dusk and in the morning just after sunrise. Yellow jackets go home at night and so you will kill more of them and be less bothered when using sprays, hanging traps, etc.
If you know where the nest is you can use sprays on the nest or on the opening to the nest. If spraying near power lines be sure to use a spray designed for that purpose.
If the nest is in the ground a better solution may be diatomaceaous earth which you can purchase at many garden centers or online. Place the diatomaceous earth on the openings and at least 6 inches around the area where the openings are (there will likely be at least two). Diatomaceaous earth is made from fossilized sea life and kills insects by cutting through and dehydrating them. They cannot adapt to it. It only works when dry so be sure the area where you are using it will not get wet for a few hours. I have seen it kill yellow jackets when sprays did not.
You can also use yellow jacket traps. You can research online how to make your own or use Rescue brand which will only trap yellow jackets. If you aren't catching anything you don't have yellow jackets - you have something else.
There are fake yellow jacket nests available which are said to discourage them. I have not tried one so I don't know how well they work.
|Posted by Beuna Tomalino on||comments (0)|
Spring is a time when many seeds are germinating. This is a good time to apply a pre-emergent. Pre-emergents prevent seeds from growing - any seeds so don't use in a place where you wil be planting seeds within the next few months. Pre-emergents can reduce weeds in lawns, flower beds, and other parts of your landscape. Corn gluten meal is a natural pre-emergent. Left over from corn syrup processing it looks similar to corn meal and doesn't have the precautions of synthetic pre-emergents. Use Spring and Fall for the best long term control of weeds.
To reduce existing weeds check Garden Care Tips and Lawn Care Tips. Also, a fantastic hand weeder is the Weed Hound. Full strength white vinegar can be sprayed on weeds to kill them. Vinegar works even better if a few drops of clove oil are added. They can be purchased already in this form so you don't have to mix your own. Weed killers work best when the temperature is above 60 F and should not be used when the temperture is above 90 F. I would not recommend using any synthetic herbicides.
A new product from Gardens Alive is designed to kill lawn weeds without harming the grass. I look forward to trying it soon.
Spring is a great time to help control pests on fruit trees and roses. Some pests such as scale overwinter on woody plants and can be killed before they become more active and spread. Horticultural oil spray is best used in early spring but if you have not yet used it find one that can be used after your plants have leafed out. Some can be used anytime before the temperature reaches 85 F. Spray the entire tree or shrub, coating all the trunk and branches. Avoid spraying when bees are present because it can kill them also. Oil spray kills by suffication so it only kills what is present.