Signup to receive email updates




or follow our RSS feed

Authors


John Fulton


John Fulton
Former County Extension Director



Blog Archives

732 Total Posts

follow our RSS feed

Blog Banner

In The Backyard

Horticulture columns and tips done on a timely basis

Beneficial Insects in the Garden - from David Robson

Posted by John Fulton -

Preserving insect enemies that reside in your garden will help control some insect pests, but sending additional enemies into the area may not be so useful. Many gardeners buy packages of "beneficial insects"—insects that feed on pests. Then they release the beneficial insects into the garden to control aphids and other crop-destroying insects. Most of the time people get much less out of...

Read More >

Cucurbit Insects

Posted by John Fulton -

Cucurbits are basically everything in the squash and melon families. There are several potential insect problems with them, and today's column attempts to help minimize or prevent these problems. The first group of insects is the cucumber beetles. These can be green, black and yellow striped, or black and yellow spotted. The importance of the beetles is not that they eat small holes in the leav...

Read More >

Bagworm Reminder

Posted by John Fulton -

If you haven't checked for bagworms yet, now would be a good time. Small bags have been noticed in the county for the last few weeks. Re-treatment may be necessary in some cases. Carbaryl (Sevin) will work on the smaller sized bagworms, while the B.t. products, such as thuricide, may be required for the larger ones....

Read More >

Pruning Evergreens

Posted by John Fulton -

This is the time of year to wrap up pruning chores on evergreens. This includes both needle-type and broadleaf evergreens. If you're wondering what a broadleaf evergreen is, that includes holly, rhododendron, and azalea. The logic behind pruning your yews at this time is to allow sufficient time for regrowth to become hardened off before winter, and to keep new growth from becoming...

Read More >

Yellow Jackets - From David Robson

Posted by John Fulton -

If you have "bees" going in and out of the wall of your house, you probably have yellow jackets. Yellow jackets are elongated, about an inch long, and are black with yellow markings showing as stripes on the abdomen. These wasps construct large paper nests underground, in wall voids and in other protected places. They contain several horizontal combs and several thousands individuals....

Read More >

Verticillium Wilt Vascular Discoloration

Vascular Tree Diseases

Posted by John Fulton -

Many major tree diseases cause vascular system blockage. Verticillium wilt, oak wilt, and most of the canker diseases fall into the group. Usually a fungus "plugs the pipes" so there is reduced movement of water up and food down. This leads to dead areas above the blockage. Of course, if the blockage is on the main trunk you end up with a dead tree. It is often possible to see streaking of the...

Read More >

Pumpkins for Fall Decorations

Posted by John Fulton -

Many pumpkins are already on their way, with seeds being sown a month ago. While this practice is great for producing pumpkins for pumpkin pie, it really doesn't work very well for producing the Halloween jack-o-lantern pumpkins. The Halloween pumpkins are best planted around Father's Day. This timing helps prevent the pumpkins from rotting before we get to the end of October....

Read More >

Japanese Beetle Update

Posted by John Fulton -

Japanese beetles are growing in number at a rapid pace. Peak emergence should happen over the next two weeks. Start control early on plants you want to protect to avoid having the beetles emit the pheromones which attract others to the same plant. Small plants can have the beetles hand-picked and dropped into a bucket of soapy water. Chemical controls of carbaryl (Sevin), permethrin, or bifenthrin...

Read More >

Aphids - from David Robson

Posted by John Fulton -

Have you noticed a sticky substance on the leaves of trees and shrubs, or have you recently parked your car under the boughs of a spreading maple only to discover it splattered with a sticky material? If so, don't blame the tree. The substance is not tree sap, but an indication of an infestation of insects call aphids. Aphids, often called plant lice, seem to be infesting many plants th...

Read More >

Moss in Lawns

Posted by John Fulton -

Moss in lawns has been a frequent topic of conversation this year. Moss doesn't cause lawn decline, but tends to develop as lawns thin due to poor site or management factors. For example, moss may invade lawns with problems such as low soil fertility, poor soil drainage, compacted soils, excessive shade, poor air circulation, and high humidity. Poor lawn care practices are another source of mos...

Read More >

Japanese beetle

Prepare for Japanese Beetles

Posted by John Fulton -

A few beetles have shown up in the area. Whether these are local hatches or tag-a-longs from southern areas doesn't much matter. They are coming. Japanese beetle adults have a 1/2 to 3/4 inch long body with copper colored wing covers and a shiny metallic green head. A key characteristic is prominent white tufts of hair along their sides. They also have an overwhelming appetite for your favorite...

Read More >

Herbicide Drift

Posted by John Fulton -

As if trees didn't have enough leaf problems with the diseases, herbicide drift has shown up in a big way this past week. All cases I have seen, the herbicides involved have been members of the growth regulator group. This group includes products such as 2,4-D and Banvel. Both products are used in agricultural production, right-of-way maintenance, and in home lawn care. L...

Read More >

Soldier Beetle

Insects To Watch For

Posted by John Fulton -

Soldier beetles will be appearing shortly. They look like pale lightning bugs without the light, and are very common around pollinating linden trees. Since soldier beetles are beneficial, it is inadvisable to kill them. They feed on small insects such as aphids, however, they do qualify as a nuisance pest in much the same way as the Asian lady bugs. Weather-stripping and caulking will help keep...

Read More >

Foundation Sprays

Posted by John Fulton -

If you have been following a foundation spray program all year, keep it up. If you haven't been, it is probably time to start. The foundation spray program is your first line of defense against nuisance pests in the house. It cuts down on crickets, millipedes, spiders, ants, and many others that find their way inside. And, with the crickets singing, it's only a matter of time before...

Read More >

Leaf Diseases Accelerate

Posted by John Fulton -

As mentioned a week or so ago, fungal leaf diseases were present. They are now making their presence felt with a vengeance. These diseases infected trees and shrubs earlier, and they have continued to develop rapidly. Some trees are now to the point of being, well, leafless. Anthracnose is the number one fungal disease of good quality shade trees, and apple scab is hitting a...

Read More >

Tomato Care

Posted by John Fulton -

With the widely fluctuating amounts of rainfall, blossom end rot is definitely a possibility. The best solution is to mulch tomato plants to help even out the moisture supply, and help keep the roots cooler. This problem is caused by uneven calcium amounts in the plant. Addition of lime when you see the problem usually isn't as effective as evening out the moisture flow for the plan...

Read More >