20September 17, 2014

The days are beginning to get cooler and the nights feel cold compared to a summer night. Early Sunday morning there was a frost advisory for central New Hampshire. Fall is in the air.

With the arrival of cooler weather, we begin to think about the plants that we have outside. The perennials will be fine. The tropical hibiscus and mandevilla won’t survive the cold. The houseplants that you put outside for the summer need to come into the house too. Before you bring those plants in the house, you may want to think about what else you may be brining into your house. While the plants are outside, ladybugs and many other predators feed on the bad bugs and keep those bugs reasonably in check. Once you bring the plants indoors, you will be bringing those bad bugs in with your plants. Aphids, spider mites and scale can all hitch a ride into the house and spread to your other plants. Once the plants are in the house, the warm and dry conditions can cause the insect population to skyrocket. There won’t be any of the predator bugs in the house to control the bad insects. Before you bring your plants back into the house, you need to treat them for insects. I have always found that a systemic insecticide gives you the best chance at controlling insects. Systemic insecticides are absorbed into the plant and as the insects feed on the plants, the insects are killed. This systemic action can last for a month to two months. This will help to control any new generations of insects that may hatch out after you kill off any adult insects. You should treat your plants about a week to 10 days before you bring the plants into the house. This gives the time necessary for the insecticide to be absorbed into the plant. If you have plants outside that you plan on bringing inside, now would be a good time to apply a systemic insecticide to your plants.

If you look around your yard, you will find all kinds of plants that have become infected with fungus diseases. It has been a summer for fungus diseases to thrive in almost everybody’s yard. Squash plants, tomato plants, phlox and many other perennials and annual flowers have developed diseases. Many trees have developed fungus diseases too. When you clean up your gardens this fall, make sure that all the dead leaves are cleaned up and disposed of during leaf pick up time this fall. Any part of the diseased plant that is left in the garden is a source for re-infection next spring. Trees that have infected leaves will soon drop those leaves onto the ground. Rake up those leaves and dispose of them as well. If those leaves sit on the ground, come spring they will re-infect your plants with fungus diseases. A thorough fall clean up of diseased leaves will go a long way in preventing new diseases next spring. Cleaning up your vegetable garden and removing dead leaves and plants will help to stop the disease cycle. Cleaning up your annual and perennial flowerbeds will help to prevent diseases from over-wintering.

Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.

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