Maples, West Nile virus precautions and more
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Update on maple trees: After viewing
some of the maples trees with poor-looking leaves, it appears many
started with wind damage from the hard blows of a few weeks ago.
There are some diseases starting in them, but the predominant damage
was from drying out and tender leaf material being torn. New leaves
are starting to appear on some of those trees now. Cross your
fingers and hope they escape the anthracnose.
West Nile virus
West Nile virus has, unfortunately,
become a household phrase. WNV was first isolated in Uganda,
Africa. It can harm humans, birds and other animals. It is
transmitted by infected mosquitoes, primarily the northern house
mosquito. The mosquito becomes infected after biting wild birds
that are the primary host of the virus. The mosquito is actually
able to transmit the virus after 10-14 days after biting the
The mosquito life cycle has four life stages: egg, larvae,
pupa and adult. The female mosquito lays eggs on water or moist
soil. Most of the larvae hatch after 48 hours, and the larvae
and pupae live in the water. The females need a blood meal
before they can lay eggs, so only the females bite. They bite
every few days during their adult lives, which may last several
Preventing mosquitoes is a first step. Homeowners can best
accomplish this by eliminating standing water. Tires and old
containers are obvious places to start. Drill holes in the
bottom of recycling containers; clean clogged gutters; don't
allow stagnant water in anything such as birdbaths; change
landscape slopes to eliminate standing water; and use larvacides
in standing water that can't be eliminated. Bt Israeli is the
strain that is effective against mosquito larvae -- not the Bt
variety commonly used on trees and gardens! The mosquitoes have
already begun hatching, so treatment time is at hand.
Also protect yourself from bites. Mosquitoes can travel up to
three miles from their breeding sites! Make sure that screens
and doors are tight; use proper outside lighting such as
fluorescent lights; stay indoors at dawn and dusk when
mosquitoes are most active; wear long-sleeved shirt and long
pants when you must go outside; and use insect repellents
properly applied. Exposed skin should be sparingly treated with
a repellent containing up to 30 percent DEET, or up to 10
percent for children; and make sure to treat thin clothing as
well, since mosquitoes can bite through thin clothing.
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To do and not to do
We are now in the middle of the correct planting time for the
warm-loving vegetables for our gardens. This would include lima
beans, cucumber, eggplant, melons, peppers, summer squash, winter
squash and pumpkins. Pumpkins for use as fall ornamentals should be
planted around Father's Day so they have less chance of rotting
before fall display.
Believe it or not, we're at the proper timing for fall garden
plantings as of this coming weekend. That means potatoes, kale and
some others. Some of the planting dates overlap this time of year.
That basically means plant it, but you can expect harvest to be
closer to fall.
Keep pruning flowering shrubs after they complete bloom. That
will allow for more flower buds for next year. Coming up the end of
June will be the pruning time for evergreens.
Bagworm spray time will be coming up in mid-June. We'll try to
fine-tune the date as we get closer. The cool spring has delayed
things to this point, but warm weather could catch us back up to the
book timing of June 15.
Last chance for the pour-on treatments using imidacloprid for
Japanese beetles on ornamentals. Earlier application would have
allowed for more translocation. These treatments do allow some
damage to occur before a lethal dose is consumed.
University of Illinois Extension, Logan County]