Tag Archives: Oct

Stink Bugs

Temperatures are dropping and stinkbugs are seeking a warm habitat for the winter. Your home is the perfect location!

Stink bugs emerge in the early spring and mate from April to May. They lay their eggs on the underside of leaves in masses of 20-30 and they produce just one generation per year.  Adult stinkbugs can cause serious crop damage to vegetables and fruits as well as to ornamental plants. In the fall, up until the first frost, stinkbugs begin moving inside to overwinter.

The best way to control stinkbugs is to address the situation before they enter the home

Prior to Home Entrance

  • Seal all cracks around windows, doors, siding, utility pipes, chimneys, air conditioning units, etc.
  • Repair or replace all damaged window and door screens.
  • In the fall, spray a synthetic pyrethroid, like___________________, on all exterior home surfaces to prevent stinkbugs from entering through any missed openings. Sunlight breaks down insecticides, therefore, weekly applications are necessary.

If stinkbugs do enter the home, don’t worry, this insect is only considered a nuisance insect to humans as they neither bite, sting nor create structural damage. When threatened, however, they do emit a defensive odor that is very unpleasant. And, a little good news, stink bugs will not procreate over the winter.

After Home Entrance

  • When a stinkbug is sited, gently pick it up using a tissue, being careful not to squish the insect.  Flush down the toilet.
  • Attempt to locate the stink bug’s entrance area usually found around window and door trim, cracks behind baseboards, exhaust fans, ceiling lights and fans. Seal opening with caulk.
  • Insecticides should not be used once stinkbugs have gained access to the home.

Your preparations for a colorful spring begin in the fall. Imagine what joy you will realize when your spring garden comes alive with color from those drab brown bulbs.

Bulbs Go Formal or Natural In the Garden

Early spring crocuses, delicately scented hyacinths, nodding daffodils, and vibrant tulips are favorite flower bulbs for coloring your garden from very early to late spring. Clumps of color in a formal planting of hardy spring flowering bulbs is, by far, the most spectacular way to display them. Planting several dozen bulbs in a mass heightens the impact when using one variety and color.

The opposite approach is a naturalizing technique where you replicate the look of bulbs growing wild. Planning the garden for a formal, massed look, or for a natural appearance, will yield spring flowers with minimum care.

This fall, look at areas in your garden that could benefit from color. Note when the bulbs will bloom, and whether they prefer sun or shade. Check the height of the bulb plants and their bloom times. Knowing the facts about the bulbs will help you plant them where they will perform and look best.

Because flowering bulbs bloom early in the spring, their clumps of color in a massed planting can fill those gaps in the yard when trees and shrubs are still leaf-barren. By the time the bulbs have brightened these areas, the deciduous trees will begin to leaf. Growing on a bank or at the nearby base of a tree, daffodils in massed planting will give your garden a showy drift of color before summer’s flowers bloom.

Mix hardy spring bulbs with annuals, perennials, and biennials. Your only maintenance over the seasons is to prune, replant to replace old bulbs, and divide where there is overcrowding. Keep in mind that the smaller the blooms, the greater the number of bulbs you will need to plant. A couple dozen tulips may be fine for a border, but several dozen small snowdrops might be needed in the same border.

When planting a border, place the bulb flowers with long leaves behind perennials. The leaves and flowers of the perennials will grow up and cover the spent yellow foliage of daffodils, tulips, alliums, and crown-imperial fritillarias. In border planting, perennials such as phlox, periwinkle, and candytuft can be a ground cover for May flowering tulips. Perennial plant leaves from plants like shade-loving hostas, can be used as foreground foil in a border planting of tulips that prefer shade (`Triumph’). With a little planning, a border can be an easy care focal point by mixing flowering spring bulbs with other garden flowers.

Formal planting of hardy spring bulbs produces an impressive show of color. Hyacinths and tulips can be a dazzling display in a single-colored massed planting; purple hyacinths and scarlet tulips can be showstoppers too. Parrot tulips, frilled and bold in color, can be carefully paired with the generous blooms of bright cottage tulips. A winning combination is the duo of yellow daffodils or tulips with grape hyacinths.

Keep scale and color in mind when doing formal planting with spring bulbs. Planting similar colors and varieties rather than mixing them is the best approach; experimenting can result in pleasing effects, too.

Naturalizing is a good method of planting hardy spring bulbs like crocus, grape hyacinths and daffodils where drainage is good and where the foliage will not be mowed. To achieve a natural growing look with bulbs, space them by taking a handful and tossing them gently. Simply plant them wherever they land for a ‘growing wild’ effect.

Another look in naturalizing with small flowering bulbs is to plant them in a rock garden. Where the soil is unsuitable for larger bulbs, smaller bulbs are ideal. Hardy small bulbs of anemone blanda, snowdrop, kaufmanniana and tarda tulips, Siberian squill, crocus and Iris reticulata are perfect for massed planting in a rock garden.

Your preparations for a colorful spring begin in the fall. Imagine what joy you will realize when your spring garden comes alive with color from those drab brown bulbs.

Why Lime?

Fertilizers can’t do the whole job of keeping your lawn healthy and beautiful because they can’t raise the pH of acidic soil. Poor lawns are often the result of acidic soil. Lime is an excellent way to correct low soil pH. Fall is the best time for liming your lawn because the soil expands and contracts as the temperature fluctuates during the winter months. This motion works the lime into the soil. Also, the increase of moisture during the fall and winter helps “percolate” the ground and coats the soil with lime particles.

Lime comes in three forms: pulverized, which is a fast-acting powder recommended for the garden; granular, which is sugar-textured and dust-free; and pelletized, which is fast-acting and dust free.  Granular and pelletized forms can be applied to the lawn with a drop or rotary spreader.  Application rates for the different types of soil are listed right on the back of the product bag.  Generally, fifty pounds of lime per thousand square feet will raise the pH ½ of a point.

How do soils become acidic?  Over the years, calcium and magnesium, the alkaline components in the soil, become replaced by hydrogen and are lost in drainage water.  Also, while nitrogen is essential for good growth of grass, heavy applications make the soil more acidic.  Not only does lime correct the acidity of the soil by reducing the toxic amounts of aluminum, manganese and iron, but it also supplies calcium and magnesium, which are essential for plant growth.  Other benefits of applying lime include less leaching of potassium, making phosphorus more available and speeding the decomposition of organic matter in the soil for reuse by the plant.

How can you find out if your soil is too acidic? Bring in a soil sample, ½ cup taken from a depth of 6 inches, for a free pH test or, for a complete analysis of your soil, contact your county agent for a Soil Test Kit.

Over-Wintering Container Plants Outdoors

All containerized plants that are considered hardy in your zone can spend the winter outdoors. Make sure that plants go into the winter with moist soil so that there is water available to plant roots during winter thaws. Check soil moisture occasionally never allowing it to dry completely. It is also a very good idea to spray needled and broadleaf evergreens with an anti-desiccant. This acts as a protective coating for plant foliage and stems as it helps them retain moisture.

METHODS

  1. In the fall, remove the plant from its container and plant in the ground. Another method is to bury the pot, with the plant in it, in the garden and remove the following spring. Both of these methods will insulate the root system preventing it from freezing solid and killing the root system.
  2. Place containerized plants in an unheated garage along a heated wall. This is an excellent method for very large pots or porous pots that tend to break apart from the constant cycle of freezing and thawing. For extra root protection, you may wrap the pots in plastic bubble wrap.
  3. Group pots together along the sunny side of your house or shed. If this area is windy, create a windscreen with stakes and burlap. Place bales of straw or hay around the perimeter of the grouping. Fill in areas between pots with mulch, shredded leaves or hay for insulation. Lay evergreen branches or place a layer of mulch on top of the pots for additional protection.
  4. Use a cold frame covered with plastic or reemay fabric to help control temperatures and reduce light as well. It will still be necessary to use mulch, shredded leaves or hay around and in-between pots for insulation.  Rodent control, such as Havahart traps, may be necessary when using this method.