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Connecting to Our Food Web

Dedicated to educational resources towards building and sustaining viable food webs and ecosystems
Mahonia bealei - Leatherleaf Mahonia IMG 1695

Welcome to My Jungle - March, 2013

This is the time of the year that creates both anticipation and frustration in many gardeners. Things are happening in the garden to announce the coming of spring, yet it's just not quite time to get out and plant yet. In the meantime, I have a ridiculous amount of deadfall to pick up and an even larger amount of dead plant debris to pull out of beds. The fun part about waiting for spring to come is combing through catalogs and making orders plus getting transplants started from seeds indoors. Next will be early visits to the local nurseries.

I walked the yard this past Friday and noted that the early daffodils, hellebores, Oregon grape and filberts were in bloom. There is something so energizing about seeing the first blooms of the new season. My witch hazel already bears the remnants of its winter bloom and of course every weed species in the yard is greening up nicely. I was also disconcerted to find the local deer population has been molesting several of my plants, some rather severely. Every year the local bucks select a new plant to maim, and this year it was my blue spruce. I'm still in denial about its destruction but a friend advised me to look on the bright side, maybe this is an opportunity to plant something new and even better. Not to be outdone, the does have been busy nipping branch tips galore. I can see that after I get my fruit plants pruned, I'm going to have to do some corrective pruning on a few landscape plants as well.

Seeing the swelling buds on the cherry and magnolia reminded me that it's getting time to think about treating fruit producing trees and shrubs with liquid lime sulfur. I especially don't want to miss spraying the grapes and blueberries because Anthracnose and Phomopsis can be a real problem otherwise. The other spray that needs to be applied before bud break is a copper spray to the peaches for control of peach leaf curl. All I need is an above freezing period 24 hours before and after my spray application.

I found an uninvited guest on my living room blinds a few weeks ago—a brown marmorated stink bug. If you haven't already heard or read, the brown marmorated stink bug is one of the new invasive pests that are causing significant damage to fruit crops (including vegetable fruit crops) on the east coast where it first became established. And like the Asian lady beetle, it congregates in houses over the winter. One of its noticeable characteristics to help differentiate it from a "regular" brown stinkbug the next to last (4th) antennal segment has a white band and several of the abdominal segments protrude from beneath the wings and are alternatively banded with black and white. The underside is white, sometimes with grey or black markings, and the legs are brown with faint white banding. Though the banding is not as distinct as shown in the pest alert bulletins, it can be seen with a magnifying loop or glass. I'm pretty sure this guy was not a hitchhiker because others have been reported in the area as well.

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