31 September 8, 2010

Last spring you may remember that I had told you about using a product called Damminix to help to control deer ticks in your yard. The deer ticks carry Lyme disease.  The product is packed in tubes that are placed around your yard. The tubes contain cotton balls that are treated with an insecticide. Mice will take the cotton balls back to their nests. The cotton balls spread the insecticide to the fur of the mice. As the deer ticks try to attack the mice, the ticks are killed. The insecticide does not harm the mice. Since the deer ticks contract the disease from the mice, it is important to break this cycle. Late summer/ early fall is a prime season for ticks to be attaching themselves to the mice. Mice are also looking now for bedding material to build their nests for the winter. By placing tick tubes out now, you can greatly reduce the number of ticks that will be in your yard to infect you, your family and your pets. Every year, I hear of more and more people who develop Lyme disease. By placing the tubes around your yard, you will lessen your chances of developing this disease. Take some time this weekend and place tick tubes in your yard.

Many people purchase hardy mums to have as decorations for the fall. The pots are placed on porches and steps. Come October, the mums are planted in the ground. However, the hardy mums don’t return in the spring. So much for hardy mums. The problem is that by October, many of the mums have been hit by a frost and the foliage is dead. If you want hardy mums to be truly hardy, they must be planted in the ground by mid to late September. This allows the mums time to get their root system out into the soil before the ground freezes for the winter. In order to get that root system out into the soil, the leaves must produce food to help those roots to get established. When you plant the mums, be sure to use a plant starter fertilizer to help to get that root system off to a good start. Once the frost kills off the foliage on the mums, you can cut back the plants to the ground and then apply about 3 inches of mulch around the plant. The mulch will help to keep the soil frozen when the temperatures finally dip consistently below freezing. The mulch prevents the alternate freezing and thawing of the soil.  The alternating of freezing and thawing will ultimately destroy the roots of the mums. As is the case of any perennial, if the plant has no roots remaining come spring, that plant is not going to come back again in the spring.

Well, this will be a shorter column this week. I am writing it on Labor Day and it is off to work for me!

I’ll talk to you again next week.

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