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There have been a couple of articles in Hamilton Spectator about the Gypsy Moth Caterpillars.

I was at a home in Ancaster today where I found a baby caterpillar on a fruit tree. These little guys can be voracious feeders and given enough time and enough caterpillars, these critters can defoliate a tree.

Please keep your eyes open for signs of leaves with holes in them. And for sightings of the caterpillars themselves. Control may be recommended to prevent extensive defoliation of your landscape trees or shrubs.


 

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We were in Lincoln Nebraska to attend a graduation. Of course, I am curious to see the lawns in that area. The leafing of the trees is ahead of Southern Ontario. I even found a crabgrass seedling starting to sprout in the middle of the sidewalk. Of course, the sidewalk is warmer than the lawns. Crabgrass likes to grow in warm soil. And sidewalks and driveways warm up and hold the heat sooner and longer than the soil under your lawn. But it was also starting to grow in an open area in a boulevard.

To help reduce crabgrass problems in your lawn, here are 2 suggestions:

1.Keep your lawn thick and healthy. The thicker the lawn, the less likely it will be to allow crabgrass a chance to sprout.

2.Related to the above, is to mow your lawn at 3 inch height. The longer mowing height means there will be more leaf blade to shade the soil. The more shade, the cooler the soil. The cooler the soil, the more the lawn grasses will like it. The cooler the soil, the less likely it will be that crabgrass will grow.

A note on phenology. I didn’t see very many flowering trees or shrubs in bloom while in Lincoln. I was trying to see how the weather related to what we have here in southern Ontario. On the last day, we were walking down a different street and I came across a Mock Orange in bloom. “Aha”, I said. The Mock Orange in our garden usually blooms around the July 1st Canada picnic that we usually have with our family. And crabgrass is usually just starting at that time ofyear here in southern Ontario. So, therefore, the crabgrass sprouting in the sidewalks of Lincoln makes perfect phenological sense.

 

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Thistles- A Lawn Care Problem

There are two main kinds of thistles that get into lawns. One is the Scotch thistle and one is the Canada thistle. One is easy to remove and eradicate; the other is very difficult. Both can be a pain to the barefoot in the grass folks. They both have sharp thorns. The pain of walking on them is not pleasant but it is worse if the thorn breaks off and ends up as a sliver in one’s skin. How do you get rid of them?

The Scotch thistle is the easy one. Although if left to flourish it can reach a height of 3 feet, it normally will tolerate being mowed. Its purple flowers are large and interesting. It is dark green in colour and has a wider leaf than the Canada thistle. It grows as a single plant and one could dig it up and remove it. It also is easy to control with the usual lawn weed killers.

The Canada thistle is the toughie. It has a lighter green foliage that is narrow. It can also reach heights of 3 feet and also has purple flowers. Both thistles have seeds like dandelions that can blow in the wind. In the summer, I have been driving along some city roads when the air is full of the seeds blowing in the wind, much like dandelions parachuting their way into new territory. I know they are thistles because the seed heads can be seen along the roadsides where the weeds have not been cut.

Canada thistle spread by underground rhizomes. Rhizomes are underground stems. If you see one Canada thistle, it is likely attached by a rhizome to another plant a little distance away. If you are planning to dig out the Canada thistle, make sure to dig out the rhizome. If you don’t it will regrow, and you will still have thistles. Canada thistle does not respond well to herbicides. The plants will be killed off, but often the rhizomes continue to live and soon they will send up new sprouts from underground. Only continuous attacking of the Canada thistle will suffice to eradicate this pest from your lawn or garden.

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