38June 8, 2011

It was beautiful weather for gardening this past weekend. I hope you had a chance to get out into your gardens to do some planting.

Ants appear to be a problem for many people. They are in the house, they are in the lawn and they are even creating problems in the vegetable garden. Most people have had the best luck controlling ants indoors by using an ant bait containing boric acid. The boric acid tastes sweet to the ants. They will pick up the bait and bring it back to the nest. As they do so, the boric acid dehydrates the ants and they eventually die. In the vegetable garden you can use diatomaceous earth as a control method. This is an organic dust that kills the ants. There are also a host of different sprays that you can use to create a barrier around the outside of your home. Once the spray dries, ants will pick up the residue on their feet. They bring the residue back to the nest where the residue kills the nest. All this being said, ants can be more of a nuisance than a problem unless they are carpenter ants that have a nest in your home. If you do have carpenter ants in your home, it would be best to get an exterminator to come in to control the ants.

As the rhododendrons go by flower, remember to remove the old flower stalks. This will allow the plant to easily put out new growth. After the rhododendrons are done flowering, it is also the right time to fertilize them. This will help them to get out lots of new growth and it will help them to set new flower buds for 2012. Once they are done flowering, rhododendrons can also be pruned back to control their size and to encourage new growth to fill in any winter damage.

Poison ivy appears to be everywhere. Many news reports have cited studies that show that a slight elevation in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has made it easier for poison ivy to grow. It would also appear that the rise in carbon dioxide has made the poisonous sap a lot more potent. Since poison ivy is a woody plant you will need to use a non – selective brush killer to control this plant. These weed killers will kill any vegetation. It is best to use them with extreme care around plants you do not want to kill. Remember that once poison ivy is dead, the oil in the plant remains active. This means that if you handle the dead plant it can cause a rash as easily as a live plant.

The dry weather means that you should be watering the plants in your gardens and the plants you have in your containers. To reduce the risk of fungus diseases, you should always water your plants between 6 and 8 AM. If you water earlier in the day or if you water in the late afternoon or in the evening, the plants then go into the night with wet foliage. The wet foliage in the evening is a magnet for many types of fungus diseases. Keep your plants healthier by doing your watering in the morning.

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

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