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From The Ground Up

Canning Program Offered Tuesday, July 19

By Pamela Redwine

The Yalobusha Forestry Association will meet Thursday, July 7 at 5:30 p.m.  The topic will be on prescribed burning.  A meal will be served.  Please contact the Extension Office at 675-2730 to reserve your spot.

A Canning Program will be offered on Tuesday, July 19 at 1 p.m. at the Extension office. Contact the Extension office if you are interested in attending.

HORTICULTURE TIPS

The tomato problems keep happening.  Spotted wilt virus is here again. The upper leaves curl downward and get dark purple to black areas which sometime occur as streaks of purple on the petioles and stems. There was one specimen brought in that was so black it looked like a fungal disease rather than a viral disease. Affected fruit have spots with yellow haloes around them. Remove infected plants from the garden to prevent spread to others. Insects are attacking fruit. Fruit worm and horn worm are eating the fruit. These caterpillars can be managed with Bt insecticides. Horn worms should be hand gathered and given to neighborhood fishermen as the big green worms make good bait. Piercing insects like leaf footed bug, plant bug, and stink bug are also feeding on fruit. They feed by piercing the fruit and injecting enzymes, then sucking the resulting juices. The evidence appears as a small dot or spot in the skin and a softening and/or discoloration of the tissue beneath the skin surface. These hard bodied insects are not affected by Bt insecticides and will need some other means of control.

Be sure to always read and follow label directions before using any pesticide. There have been several calls this season by gardeners who have sprayed their vegetables with a pesticide and then read the label and not found the crop listed. Calling the number on the container will get you to the manufacturer’s representative who will tell you the only legal answer they can:  “Any use of the product not on the label is prohibited by law.”

Free Of Fleas And Ticks

Our summer outdoor activities often put us in contact with some not so nice critters like fleas and ticks that not only can cause irritating painful bites but they can also transmit serious diseases.

While fleas and ticks are not damaging to the turf they can be quite troublesome to humans and pets.   Ticks and fleas are very hardy and can survive many months waiting for a suitable host.  Depending on the species ticks may seek several hosts before completing their life cycle starting with small animals or birds then progressively seek larger mammals such as people.

To limit the potential for both fleas and ticks in your lawn the following tips will help.  They are usually brought into the home lawn aboard pets or other animals including wild animals therefore, the first step is to control them on the animals that frequent the area.  For your pets applying appropriate collars, repellents and insecticides will help. Do not allow them to roam wooded areas and carry ticks back into the lawn.  For wild animals and strays limit their access by fencing, lights, etc. Keep vegetation cut low to discourage deer and other animals from entering the lawn.  And lastly if ticks or fleas do infest your lawn use appropriate insecticidal sprays to control them.  It is best to treat the entire lawn but the most obvious areas where they will be concentrated will be where pets rest, along paths or trails that are traveled by wildlife, around building perimeters and on any tall weedy vegetation.

You can also reduce the chance of being bitten by fleas and ticks by protecting yourself when working or playing where they may be.  Tuck pants legs into tops of boots or socks.  Keep shirttails in and use repellents such as permethrin or DEET.  

Pruning, Mulching

This is not the best time to plant trees and shrubs. Heat and periods of drought in summer can take their toll on late-planted trees and shrubs. Save your money and wait until late fall and winter to plant.

Any major pruning on spring-flowering evergreens like azalea, camellia and rhododendron should not be done now unless absolutely necessary. These plants are beginning to set their flower buds for next spring blooms, so if you just have to prune, know that you will be removing some of next year’s floral show.

When trimming around trees and shrubs you should be very careful not to nick the bark with the mower or weed-eater. Even the slightest damage may make an entrance for borers or other damaging insects. Highly susceptible trees to borer attack are dogwood, flowering peach, flowering cherry and flowering plum. Borers and bark beetles can also attack pine trees and shade trees.

Covering the ground surrounding the base of the plant with mulch will eliminate the need for trimming the grass and is very beneficial in other ways—looks attractive, retains moisture, inhibits weeds, adds organic matter, and buffers soil temperature fluctuations during changing of the seasons. Please DO NOT pile the mulch around the trunk. Mulch should form a “volcano” around the base of the tree or shrub. Piling mulch around the trunk is very detrimental.  See Extension publication 2301, “Mulches for the Landscape” for further information on mulching. You may also want to check out the winter season “Gardening Through the Seasons” video entitled “Mulch” on the MSU Extension Service website: http://msucares.com/gardenvideos/.

Article Source: Horticulture Tips for June 27, 2011David Nagel, Wayne Wells, Lelia Kelly

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