39April 11, 2019

I guess that we are back to typical April weather. I have found, over the years, that the weather isn’t consistently warm until closer to the end of April and sometimes May.

The ants are beginning to show up inside the house. This is the time of the year that they invade the house. Over the years, I have found that there is an inexpensive way to treat for ants. There are several different brands that contain boric acid. It usually comes in a liquid form.

The boric acid is placed on small bait stations that come with the product. You put a few drops of the liquid on the bait station. The bait stations are placed where you see the ants. Once the ants find the bait stations, they are attracted to the boric acid because it tastes sweet to them. They take the bait back to the nest and pretty soon you will see a lot more ants coming into the house. You shouldn’t panic over this because the more ants that visit, the faster you will kill off the nest of ants.

You need to keep the bait stations full of the liquid. I have found that I needed to fill the bait stations once or even twice a day at first. Over time, you will begin to see less and less ants and finally the ants won’t be coming back. I have found that it takes about 7 to 10 days to kill off the ants.

I have a pet peeve that long time readers of this column have heard me discuss year after year. My pet peeve is the mulch volcano. I know that you have all seen the mulch volcanoes. It is the bark mulch that is placed around the base of trees and mounded up onto the trunk of the tree. This forms a volcano look around the tree. This is absolutely, positively the wrong way of mulching plants.

When you place mulch around any plant, the mulch should not be touching the stem or trunk of the plant. If you or your landscaper mounds the mulch around the trunk of the tree, the mulch will keep the bark wet all of the time. Eventually the wet bark will begin to rot away and the tree will die. The same thing can happen to your shrubs if you mound the bark onto the stem of the shrub. The mulch should always be an inch or two away from the stem or trunk of your trees and shrubs. The mulch is placed around to the plants to help to control weeds, to help to hold in moisture and to, well, look nice.

When you look at your trees and shrubs, if you see mulch from last year or the year before mounded onto the trunk of the tree, please remove the mulch to the point that it is not touching the trunk of the tree or shrub. Doing this now may prevent the death of the tree or shrub if too much damage has not been done already.

I know that a lot of professionals mound up the mulch but it does not make it a correct practice. You have put a lot of money into the trees and shrubs in your yard. Don’t let your plants die because of the mulch volcano.

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

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