Archive for April, 2011

I have a peach tree in my yard…

Question:

I have a peach tree in my yard covered in white flies is this going to kill my tree and will I be able to eat the fruit this year?

Answer:

They will almost certainly reduce the crop. The flies should be killed before they deposit eggs which will become larvae and attack the tree.

A plant oil insecticide will kill them and leave the fruit safe to eat.

Make sure the ground under and around the tree is free from dead leaves and other decaying debris. Don’t over mulch and definitely don’t make a volcano pile of mulch around your trees. Never let mulch touch your trees.

Tree Feeding

Question:

Last weekend my neighbor put fertilizer around his trees, he said that as the ground was wet the fertilizer would soak in and be there ready for the trees when they start to grow. Is this correct?

Answer:

In general, trees should be fed only if the soil is deficient in nutrients, without a soil test no-one can tell what the trees need.

Putting fertilizer down now is a waste of money and damaging to the environment. Most of the synthetic fertilizers are highly soluble in water and therefore will just wash away before the soil temperature rises and the microorganisms in the soil have a chance to break them down. So don’t waste your time and money.

Wait until bud break and feed according to needs up until leaf fall. Organic fertilizers do not break down as easily as synthetics and are therefore more effective but even the organics should not be used until the soil temperature is above 55 degrees.

Using too much fertilizer can actually damage trees by osmosis, nutrients can literally be sucked out of the tree cells. and opportunities occur for insect invasion.

I would like to buy organic plants…

Question:

I am putting in a vegetable garden this year, I would like to buy organic plants but they are more expensive. If I did buy the non organic ones and washed them before use, would the chemical disappear?

Answer:

Great question! Many chemicals that are applied to the soil are often systemic insecticides which means they work inside the plant structure itself. Washing the fruit or vegetables will remove surface chemicals but not those in the plant’s structure. Did you know that statistically every child in the United States has pesticides in their blood. Yes organic foods do cost more but that’s a supply and demand problem. Increase the amount you buy and the prices will balance out.

You can now buy organic apples for about the same price as conventional ones.

My husband suffers with allergies…

Question:

My husband suffers with allergies we have so many leaves fallen and he rakes and bags all the leaves, the following day he cannot stop sneezing, he loves to read your articles and maybe you would be able to give some advice.

Answer:

I’m glad that he likes my articles. Sometimes you may have to use some tough love. Insist that he wears a mask and safety glasses. Keep on his case until he does. The glasses will help prevent dust from irritating his eyes and the mask will cut down on inhaling the same stuff. He can come and rake my leaves if he likes and I will supply the mask and glasses.

Hanging branches…

Question:

I was walking around our yard last week and since our snow fall we have a lot of hanging branches that look ready to fall down should we start cutting the tree back or is it too early in the season?

Answer:

Good job! This is a great way to prevent accidents and protect your home. If a branch is broken, loose or damaged it could fall and cause damage to property or worse to a family member. I know it’s not possible for everyone to walk around outside in the snow so call me if you need help.

We had several large branches at our home that needed to be removed. They could have caused serious damage and injury.

My kitchen was full of flies…

Question:

I have been on vacation for the past two weeks. When we got back my kitchen was full of flies, there is no food lying around and the house was clean when we left?

Answer:

These flies are almost certainly the result of some creature dying in your basement, wall cavities or attic. The smell from their decaying bodies, attracts flies which lay eggs on the carcass, they develop into larvae, pupate, and bingo out come lots of flies. By the time you see flies the body has been consumed. A quick fix is to just vacuum the flies up . Then dispose of the bag outside. Quick, Cheap and Environmentally friendly.

We are having a problem with squirrels…

Question:

We are a small kindergarden and we are having a problem with squirrels, this morning we had one dead one in the toilet, last week they chewed the children’s pencils all our windows are closed so how are they getting inside?

Answer:

It’s can be frustrating to detect how they get in. Flying squirrels can gain access that is normally so small only a mouse could fit through.

This really needs an extensive examination and search for possible entrance holes. Look for grease marks and gnawing as clues. Exclusion may need the use of strobe lights and steel mesh. They cannot be ignored because of the damage they can cause.

Rats getting inside my home…

Question:

I have a problem with rats getting inside my home I live on the river. How can I get rid of them this has been going on for several years and I am tired of it.

Answer:

Exclusion is always the best method fill in any holes and entrance points followed by clearing away any debris from around your house. Rats do not like to walk in the open.Rats also become quite picky in what they eat and will often hang around places where there is abundant food. Check that you don’t have a food source somewhere that they are eating such as a bag of bird seeds or similar. Don’t store pet foods in the basement. This may not be enough to get rid of them and traps may have to be used.

Avoid using poison as there is a real risk of hurting pets and contaminating your own food. Don’t leave food or sugary drinks uncovered overnight.

We Use and recommend:


Shake-Away Rodent Repellent Granules 20 ozMouse Bait Stations 4 pack

Don’t use mothballs…

Question:

My friend recommended that I use moth balls to get rid of mice is this a good idea?

Answer:

Absolutely not! Moth balls are very toxic and while they will deter mice they can pose a real danger of poisoning to children and pets. Moth balls are not labelled for repelling mice.

Do insects hibernate?

Question:

Do insects hibernate?

Answer:

We often refer to them as ‘hibernating’ because they mostly seem to go away and shelter somewhere. In fact as they do no not have a source of body fat to sustain them they find alternative ways of surviving. Some spend winter in a torpid state and just hang out, others spend the winter in one stage of metamorphosis or other e.g. as eggs, cocoons, pupae, larvae.

As we know they are generally very successful and once the days lengthen and the temperature rises they further develop and come out to say Hi.

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