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Green Speak

Horticulture topics from gardens to lawns and then some.

When it Rains...

The remnants of hurricane Isaac brought much-needed rain to our communities over the weekend. Our area was spared the excessive rains that many counties south of here experienced. I have been hearing a range of rainfall amounts from 1.5 inches to over three-inches in some parts of Henderson, Knox, McDonough & Warren counties. We are not the only ones benefiting from the rain. In my yard perennial weeds and insects of all types came alive as the sun emerged on Monday. Pull those darned dandelions while the ground is still damp to make it easier for yourself, but avoid too much foot traffic in your garden beds as this will compact your soil.

If insects (especially mosquitos) have risen to annoyingly high levels, check the drainage across your property to make sure there is no standing water or objects that could hold water, old ties, etc. (Heads up! Gutters are one of the most overlooked places around a home.) Mosquito control is very important this year with the high rates of West Nile Virus being reported around Illinois. We have had a handful of cases in many of our local areas. Click Here for a University of Illinois article on the subject. Click Here for a website that updates with current information on the disease and it's spread.

In areas that don't drain well or dry quickly in the heavy shade of my backyard, I sprinkle BTI granules on the lawn and garden beds. BTI stands for Bacillis thuringensis israelensis and is a natural soil-dwelling organism that kills the larvae of mosquitoes and the biting blackfly. You may have seen these as 'dunks' or briquettes in your local farm or nursery store that gardeners use in their garden ponds. Just sprinkle the granules on the ground and you will be set. Best of all they are completely safe to fish, beneficial insects, and all of us mammals!

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