55 August 12, 2006

If these are the dog days of August, it’s one cool dog.


A number of people have noticed that leaves on maple trees are starting to fall. Some of the leaves are spotted or discolored. All of this goes back to the rain that we had in May. The leaves were just beginning to unfold when the heavy rains hit our area. This lead to leaf spots and other fungus diseases on the leaves. Leaves that are spotted are not very efficient at making food. As the trees near the end of the growing season, inefficient leaves would be the first to fall off the trees. Generally, this does not bother the tree and the tree will recover and put out leaves again next spring. So, if fall is coming early to your yard, don’t worry too much about what is happening to the trees.


There has been a lot of talk about mosquitoes and the possible diseases that they can transmit to humans. So far, I have not heard any reports of EEE or West Nile Virus in this area of the state. There are some common sense things you can do to cut down on the number of mosquitoes in your yard.  Mosquitoes lay their eggs in areas of stagnant water. If you have old tires in your yard or a bucket that has been sitting out back, then you should empty out these mosquito-breeding sites. It does not take much depth of water to allow mosquitoes to breed. A low spot in your yard that collects water after a rainstorm is an ideal breeding ground. If you have a water garden in your yard that does not contain fish, then mosquitoes can breed in that area too. If the gutters on your home retain water, then mosquitoes can breed in those area. In those areas where you cannot drain the water, you can apply a product containing Bti. This naturally occurring bacterium kills only the larva of mosquitoes and black flies. This product is applied to areas of standing water. Within 24 hours, the mosquito larvae are dead. One application can last up to 30 days. If you have areas of standing water in your yard, you should pick up some Bti and apply it in your yard.


There are also some effective organic mosquito sprays that you can spray around your yard. Most of these products use plant oils to kill and repel mosquitoes that may want to make your yard their home. The spray comes in a hose end sprayer and the spray is applied to lawns and areas of tall weeds. One application can last for weeks.


Mid August is usually the time when the Japanese Beetles begin to die off. If you haven’t treated your lawns yet with a season long grub control, now is the time to do so. Milky Spore can be applied now as an organic solution to grubs in your lawn. Fall is the best time of the year to control lawn grubs. The grubs are small and the various insecticides easily kill them. If you wait until spring to treat for grubs, then the grubs have grown huge and many grub controls are not as effective at controlling the grubs. If you had a lot of Japanese Beetles in your gardens, make sure to treat for grubs this fall.


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

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