41 November 4, 2006
I love computers. One minute you have e-mail, the next minute it is gone. Part of what disappeared was a couple of question from readers of the column. So, if this over 50 mind remembers correctly, let me answer a couple of questions.
One reader has a fig tree in their yard. Some years it bears well and other years it does not. I think that they have guessed that figs are semi hardy in this area. They were asking for suggestions on how to over winter the fig tree. My first suggestion would be to grow the tree in a container. The container would need to be a big container to accommodate the growth of the tree. During the spring through the fall, the tree could be grown outdoors. In the late fall, the container could be moved into a garage, shed or basement of the house. The other method I have heard of is to leave the tree in the ground, but to “heel” it in for the winter. In the late fall, you would take a shovel and sever the roots on one side of the tree. The dirt would be dug up on that side of the tree. The tree would then be laid down onto the opposite side. This would allow the tree to be covered over with dirt and then a layer of mulch or salt marsh hay. This allows the tree to be protected from the winter wind and extreme cold temperatures. In the early spring, the tree would be uncovered and returned to an upright position. The part of the tree with the severed roots would have the root system re-covered. If this were done in the early spring, the tree would have time to put out new roots before the leaves emerge. I think growing the tree in a large container would be easier, but burying the tree is an ‘old time’ trick that should work on the fig tree.
The other question concerned mysterious mounds of soil that were being pushed up by unseen creatures. The problem that you are having is moles digging in your lawn. The moles dig tunnels through the soil and eventually push soil out of the ground into mound shaped piles. The moles are digging through the soil in search of food. The most common food source is the grubs of Japanese beetles. These grubs have hatched out from eggs laid in the lawn during July and August. You still have time to control the grubs by applying an insecticide containing Dylox. If this product is applied and watered into the soil, the grubs will be killed in 24 hours. Shortly afterwards, the moles should leave your lawn. If they do persist, you can apply a castor oil based spray to your lawn. This will drive the moles out of the yard.
This sound like it will be a cool but nice weekend. You still have time to plant your spring flowering bulbs. Your lawn needs to have its fall fertilizer application. Shrubs need winter protection. Vulnerable shrubs need to have deer repellent applied to deter browsing deer. There are still lots of work to do before cold weather really sets in.
Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.