Tag Archive | care

Deer Rutting = Tree Trunk Damage

As a designer of landscapes, I try to assess all of my landscape material choices wisely. This goes beyond simple choices of sunny or shade plants and moves into specific placement of hardscape or plant material for; flow, accentuation of house architecture, soil characteristics, aesthetics, safety and wildlife considerations. The areas that I work in are heavily populated by deer. I must consider the chance that any plant might get eaten by deer and stick to plants that tend to not be devoured by them (Links Below!)

Sadly, not all things can be assessed for. Some of the funnier instances that I don’t generally plan for is the inability of someone to pull in and out of their own driveway. Landscape lighting tends to get run down fairly often. Funnier still, my cure is to put an outcrop stone in front of it, which then just get pushed by the offending auto into the lighting fixture. At that point we move the fixture, can’t teach old dogs new tricks, it seems.

The situation in the photos was a new one on me. I’d seen it many times while hiking in the forest preserves. In the late fall, male deer feel the need to rub off the velvet on their antlers. It’s called ‘rutting’. Male deer do this for a multitude of reasons; mark territory, show dominance, tell does he’s available… It’s the Tinder of the deer world. This poor Ginkgo didn’t have a chance.

Bucks prefer to rub on trees and shrubs that have smooth bark and are one-half to four inches in diameter. All bucks will rub saplings less than two inches in diameter, however only older bucks will regularly rub trees six or more inches in diameter. Seeing a large-diameter tree that shows signs of steady rubbing, is a sure sign that at least one older, buck frequents the area.

In the South and Southeast, bucks seem to prefer aromatic species, such as cedar and sassafras. However, they’ll also readily rub alders, eastern juniper, cherries, witch hazel, winged sumac, striped maple, sourwood and pines.

The Northeast and Upper Great Lakes region bucks like trembling aspen best as the species has a smooth, soft bark that is easily stripped. The inner wood is very light in color and has long-lasting brilliance once it’s exposed. Along with the aspen, red maple, sumac, black cherry, balsam fir, pines and willows are frequently rubbed; whereas thick barked trees like, sugar maple, ironwood, beech and paper birch are usually avoided.

Why this action of scraping the trunk surface is so bad is that just under the bark is the xylem which carries water and minerals from the roots to the leaves and the phloem which carries manufactured food, like sugars, from the leaves to the roots. If the xylem or phloem is severed all the way around the tree (girdling the tree), food cannot be carried to the roots and they will eventually die, causing the whole tree to die.

It’s sad, however there is really no way to predict this happening. Clients aren’t going to circle their trees with protective fencing either. Unfortunately, we’ll just replace this tree and hope that it will not be bothered again.

Deer Proof Trees

Deer Proof Shrubs

Deer Proof Perennials

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Monday Memories 10-30-2017

 

 How to Grow Garlic in the Midwest

scapesBreak up the garlic bulb into cloves. You don’t need to pull off the papery covering like in cooking. To get them off to a good start and protect them from fungal diseases, soak them in enough water to cover, containing one tablespoon of baking soda and a tablespoon of liquid seaweed for a few hours before planting. Garlic should be planted in the fall. Timing of planting should be within two weeks of the first frost (32°F) so they develop roots, but do not emerge above ground.

Cloves should be planted with the flat or root end down and pointed end up, 2 inches beneath the soil. Set the cloves about 6 to 8 inches apart. Top the soil with 6 inches of mulch; leaf, straw or dried grass clippings work well.

Time to Protect Shrubs for WinterScan_Pic0003

Smaller shrubs like rhododendrons, will benefit from using fresh cut branches of conifers [spruce, pine]. Direct the thick end into the ground near the crown of the plant, and intermingle the branches together. This will provide a windbreak and help stop branch breakage from the weight of snow. If the shrub is taller than the conifer branches, tie them together at different heights to protect the whole shrub.

Another method of providing protection is to use horticultural fleece, plastic, wind-break netting or commercially made covers like below. This method should be used on all late-season planted evergreens, as they may not have developed an adequate root system yet, and can dry out from harsh winds.

How to Make New Planting Beds in the Midwest

double digging 1New planting beds should begin in autumn in the Midwest because the freeze/thaw cycles of winter, work to break up the clods of clay.

Most soils in the Midwestern region are alkaline and consist of high concentrations of clay. Contrary to some opinions, there are more plants available for this soil type than any other.

Choose a location that meets the criteria for the types of plants being chosen i.e. sunny location for annuals and vegetables, or a shady location for a woodland garden.

General Pruning Techniques for Trees and ShrubsAcer x f. Autumn Blaze® 'Jeffersred' 1

Many factors must be considered when pruning any type of shrub or tree.  Proper pruning technique is necessary, and is described further at Trees are Good. Identification of the plant, along with knowing it’s growth or habit, flowering schedule, and reason for pruning, is also imperative.

Pruning of dead, dying, or diseased limbs should be done at anytime. The 3 D’s! Many problems can be avoided if the problems are not allowed to spread throughout the tree or even to the neighboring trees.

How to Prepare Your Houseplants to Come Back in For the Winter

imageMy houseplants enjoy their summers outside on the porch. I feel the living room looks a bit bare when they get moved out, however, I don’t spend much time in the house during the summer either!!
When it’s time to bring everyone back into the house, there are a few things that need to be done to insure a safe, pest-free winter. Otherwise, things can go bad fast

I then make sure the pot drains correctly and that the pot is rinsed off of dirt or any other cling-ons. This will become difficult to do if you can’t bring it outside to correct.

Some of my plants need amendments, like my orange tree prefers acid soil in this land of limestone well water. I add the garden sulfur as directed and water it in thoroughly. Again this is something you really can’t do after the plant is inside with only a reservoir under the pot. I do give some of them a bit of fertilizer, however I only give it sparingly.

25 Ways to Kill A Tree

Kill a TreeMechanical damage and improper tree maintenance kills more trees than any insects or diseases. This how-to guide will hopefully teach you how NOT to treat your tree friends. .. However, if you’re the sadistic type and love spending money replacing trees, this is a great read for you also!

1 – “Top” the tree which promotes watersprouts that weaken trees and encourage pests and disease.

Do not top trees. Tree heights can be lessened by proper crown reduction that doesn’t stimulate watersprout growth.

2 – Leave co-dominant leaders to promote “V” growth and splitting during winds and storms.

When a tree is young, select one or the other of the competing upright branches to be the main branch and cut the other off. Do not buy a tree with these characteristics.

3 – Leave crossing branches to rub protective bark and create wounds.

Prune branches that cross and rub in order to prevent bark wounds.

Click the links for the full articles!!

©Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Doggy CCL Knee Surgery and Recovery Time Activities

One Sunday, a few weeks ago, we noticed Breck was limping. The first thing we thought was that he had gotten stung in the foot by a drunk wasp that had been dining on the fallen apples near my back door. Nope, no sting locations. We felt if he had any broken bones, nope. No dog squeaks after pulling it out and bending. We figured we’d get him into the veterinarian that next Monday.

Our appointment was at 10 AM, and in less than 3 minutes, he was diagnosed with a cruciate ligament tear in his right, rear knee. A CCL is the same as an ACL in humans. In a nutshell, its the tendon that holds the femur (thigh bone) to the tibia (calf bone) and prevents the femur from sliding forward off the tibia. Clearly, dogs are made a bit different. All the vet needed to do was to push his femur back from his tibia and note the amount of ‘shift’ it made. Too much shift for it to still be attached.

Breck in the doughnut-of-shame

She offered up three options, do nothing, or two types of surgery. The first type was called the ‘Fishing Line’ or ‘Old School’ technique. The vet would basically recreate the tendon with fishing line between the two bones. Vets have been doing this surgery for years and it has worked well for dogs Brecks size for decades. The other surgery sounded a bit more intense, as the tibia would be cut and reattached backwards, to create a ledge. (Read the link for more details on the surgeries).

After the vet briefly described the surgeries, she then asked me to sit for the prices… The fishing line surgery was about $3,500 and the tibia cut surgery, would be about $4,500. Good thing she had smelling salts handy 😉 I clearly had to go home and discuss this with my hubby.

There was no doubt we were going to have to go with one of the surgeries. Unless we wanted him in a brace for the rest of his life… Nope!! He’s only 10 years old. We started getting educated about the surgery and reached out to my Mother-in-Law, as her dog just had CCL surgery done at 15 years old and recovered fabulously. Her vet only charged her $1,400! Say what?!? That is more than half the dough my vet wanted! Gimmie his number!

I wasn’t that happy with my current vet anyway.. I wondered if she even liked animals. She wouldn’t get on the floor and pet them, or give them treats before the business time of the appointment. Just the facts, ma’am.

Breck at work with me.

We got an appointment two hours after I called M-I-L’s vet. The first thing he did was to pay attention to Breck and make both of us feel comfortable. He examined his leg (on the floor) and quickly agreed with the other vet. His CCL was torn. Dr. H told me that Breck looked healthy, not overweight and the fishing line surgery would be a great surgery for him. He showed me models of dog knees and how the surgery/recovery process would go. We scheduled surgery for the next Monday.

Breck in his onsie… Hey, don’t knock it until you try it 😉

His surgery went well and according to his x-rays, it was a freak accident. He had no predisposition for this injury, nor did he have any arthritis anywhere. In my opinion, his injury was from his little, evil brother, Oreo. He likes to ‘check’ other dogs and hoomans. ‘Checking’ is a hockey term for running into another player really hard. Surely, this is what happened.

Since I knew the 8 week recovery time was going to be hell on everyone in this house, I started perusing Amazon for any products I could find to make Breck as comfortable as possible, keep him safe and help keep the hoomans sane.

Yes, we do have a real cage, however, this is not the route we wanted to take. With a cone or ‘doughnut’ on, he would not be able to turn very well in the cage. We bought a large cage enclosure to keep him in while we’re home. I am also able to take him to work with me, so he’ll basically be under surveillance 24/7. Well, except for when we slept.

We soon learned cones-of-shame were Breck’s most hated thing in the world. After cone attachment, he’d pant, shake, squirm, cry and paw at it, trying to achieve removal. We tried to be patient, however he was not having it. We next tried the doughnut. He is accepting of it while I am around him, however the minute I turn my back, its off. We tied it as tight as we thought reasonable. His neck to head ratio is nonexistent, along with his silky fur, allows for easy removal of anything around his neck. The hoomans needed to be smarter… Bandages wouldn’t help. We even tried to put a pair of daddy’s boxer underwear on him… Placing his tail through the hole. (heehee…) I won’t humiliate either of them with a photo. 😉

I finally happened upon these doggy-after-surgery onsies. I ordered a large, however I feel it was too small and now ordered an XL. Thank goodness for Amazon Prime!! Now I’ve only had it on him for a day (and it’s a bit small), but so far, I am sold! He doesn’t mind having it on and he can still lick some places, just not where his stitches are. I will have to report if this works, as he has already got one stitch out. (Overnight and into the second day, the stitches have been un-licked!)

So, now that we’ve been able to keep him from bothering his stitches, keeping his brain entertained was the next step. If you believe Cesar Millan, dogs don’t have emotions, thus do not get depressed. Really? I used to respect that man….Sigh.. Anyway. Since I believe dogs do have basic emotions, including depression, I felt I needed to figure out some activities for him to pass the time. Here’s what I came up with:

  • Long-lasting chew toys. I found these Himalayan Cheese blocks! I did not follow the directions on the package, but gave one to him right out of the package. He loves them and they take about a day or two to get through.
  • He likes to be brushed, so he’s gotten brushed daily. He also loves his face and nose rubbed with something fuzzy. He really likes massages, also.
  • Gentle tug of war. Very gentle!
  • Which cup is the treat under game. He’s too good, we’ve had to go to 4 cups.
  • Breck loves being talked to. I’m not sure how much he understands, however he is absorbed in every word I speak.
  • I normally don’t let him ‘defuzz’ a tennis ball, however he really likes doing it and it takes an hour or two to do the job.
  • He loves just sitting outside. Since we’ve been having some beautiful days lately, I’ve been enjoying the weather with him, sitting in the cool grass and relaxing.
  • He loves coconut oil. I put it on his front feet to lick off.
  • We had gotten him a few ‘Brain Games’. Basically, hide the treat type games. He’s too darn smart for these, though. Once he’s figured it out, it takes less than a minute to do it again.
  • I’ve read about others buying dog buggies to take their pooches on walks rides in. Well, I’m not going to blow a bunch of bucks on a specialized one, however I remembered the gardening cart I used when I had my own biz. He loves it!! I wheeled him through the neighborhood and he just sniffed the air. I take him out occasionally to write P-Mails on posts and mailboxes 🙂

Wanna go for a roll??

There is very little I’ll not do for my fur kids.

© Ilex ~Midwestern Plant Girl

Monday Memories 6-12-2017

Many of these pests / diseases are making their way around again. Be sure to monitor your plants, as many of these issues are easily dealt with in the early stages.

Ilex vs Rose Sawfly

imageLarvae can be effectively controlled with a neem oil product or an insecticidal soap. Spray only the leaves (both sides), in the morning as neem oil can possibility hurt pollinators (More research needs to go into that). The strategy is to find larvae while they are still small and before damage becomes severe, like our roses! There is no need for control after the larvae have finished eating and left the plants, give or take mid-July.

One last note, these are not caterpillars, they are actually primitive wasps, so Bt or Bacillus thuringiensis will not work.

Ilex VS Oak Wilt

Oak wilt is confused with other problems such as drought, construction stress, borers, and root problems.

These symptoms would include:Image

  • More noticeable during late summer
  • Regular size leaves, little wilting
  • Leaves browning evenly
  • Leaves remain on the tree after discoloring
  • Dying trees scattered throughout stand
  • More common on stressed sites
  • Signs of borers or root disease

Oak Wilt symptoms:

  • More noticeable during early summer
  • Small leaves, thin crown, wilting
  • Edges and tips of leaves bronzing first
  • Leaves drop soon after discoloring
  • Dying trees found in groups (root grafts)
  • Streaking and discoloration of vascular tissues

Ilex VS. Dutch Elm Disease

dutch elm diseaseThe DED fungus is spread by two insect vectors: the native elm bark beetle (Hylurgopinus rufipes) and the European elm bark beetle (Scolytus multistriatus). The fungus is transported on the beetles from infected trees to healthy trees as they feed on twigs and upper branches. The beetles lay their eggs in the bark and wood of stressed trees along with elm firewood with the bark left on. Developing larvae form channels just under the bark and the fungus grows through the galleries until it reaches the tree’s water conducting cells, or xylem. Chemicals manufactured by the tree during its effort to fight the disease plug up the xylem, causing the tree to wilt.  In the Midwest, beetles typically have two generations per year.

Ilex VS Four-Lined Plant Bug (Poecilocapus lineatus)

The four-lined plant bug (Poecilocapus lineatus) removes plant’s chlorophyll  via their piercing-sucking mouthparts. They also secrete a toxin in their saliva that digests the components responsible for holding the plant cells together that leaves a hole in the plant’s epidermis. This feeding produces white, dark, or translucent spots the plant’s leaves, which can run together forming large blotches. Leaves can turn brown, curl-up and ultimately fall off. If feeding occurs on new growth, wilting may result. This is a photo of a nymph. He was doing just fine in the damage department.

Ilex VS Eastern tent caterpillars ~ Malacosoma americanum

imageThese guys are often confused with fall webworms, and bag worms, although all three are quite different. Tent worm nests are active early in the season while webworms are active late season. Tent worms like to make their tent nests in the forks of branches, while webworm nests are located at the tips of branches. Fall webworms also enclose foliage or leaves within these nests. Tent caterpillars do not. Bag worms are single worm homes made of the foliage from the tree it has decided to call home. They mostly evergreens like junipers or arborvitae. I like to remember the difference like this… A bag can hold one, but a tent can hold many.

© Ilex ~ Midwestern plant Girl

Monday Memories 10-17-2016

How to Grow Garlic in the Midwest

scapesBreak up the garlic bulb into cloves. You don’t need to pull off the papery covering like in cooking. To get them off to a good start and protect them from fungal diseases, soak them in enough water to cover, containing one tablespoon of baking soda and a tablespoon of liquid seaweed for a few hours before planting. Garlic should be planted in the fall. Timing of planting should be within two weeks of the first frost (32°F) so they develop roots, but do not emerge above ground.

Cloves should be planted with the flat or root end down and pointed end up, 2 inches beneath the soil. Set the cloves about 6 to 8 inches apart. Top the soil with 6 inches of mulch; leaf, straw or dried grass clippings work well.

Time to Protect Shrubs for WinterScan_Pic0003

Smaller shrubs like rhododendrons, will benefit from using fresh cut branches of conifers [spruce, pine]. Direct the thick end into the ground near the crown of the plant, and intermingle the branches together. This will provide a windbreak and help stop branch breakage from the weight of snow. If the shrub is taller than the conifer branches, tie them together at different heights to protect the whole shrub.

Another method of providing protection is to use horticultural fleece, plastic, wind-break netting or commercially made covers like below. This method should be used on all late-season planted evergreens, as they may not have developed an adequate root system yet, and can dry out from harsh winds.

How to Make New Planting Beds in the Midwest

double digging 1New planting beds should begin in autumn in the Midwest because the freeze/thaw cycles of winter, work to break up the clods of clay.

Most soils in the Midwestern region are alkaline and consist of high concentrations of clay. Contrary to some opinions, there are more plants available for this soil type than any other.

Choose a location that meets the criteria for the types of plants being chosen i.e. sunny location for annuals and vegetables, or a shady location for a woodland garden.

General Pruning Techniques for Trees and ShrubsAcer x f. Autumn Blaze® 'Jeffersred' 1

Many factors must be considered when pruning any type of shrub or tree.  Proper pruning technique is necessary, and is described further at Trees are Good. Identification of the plant, along with knowing it’s growth or habit, flowering schedule, and reason for pruning, is also imperative.

Pruning of dead, dying, or diseased limbs should be done at anytime. The 3 D’s! Many problems can be avoided if the problems are not allowed to spread throughout the tree or even to the neighboring trees.

How to Prepare Your Houseplants to Come Back in For the Winter

imageMy houseplants enjoy their summers outside on the porch. I feel the living room looks a bit bare when they get moved out, however, I don’t spend much time in the house during the summer either!!
When it’s time to bring everyone back into the house, there are a few things that need to be done to insure a safe, pest-free winter. Otherwise, things can go bad fast

I then make sure the pot drains correctly and that the pot is rinsed off of dirt or any other cling-ons. This will become difficult to do if you can’t bring it outside to correct.

Some of my plants need amendments, like my orange tree prefers acid soil in this land of limestone well water. I add the garden sulfur as directed and water it in thoroughly. Again this is something you really can’t do after the plant is inside with only a reservoir under the pot. I do give some of them a bit of fertilizer, however I only give it sparingly.

25 Ways to Kill A Tree

Kill a TreeMechanical damage and improper tree maintenance kills more trees than any insects or diseases. This how-to guide will hopefully teach you how NOT to treat your tree friends. .. However, if you’re the sadistic type and love spending money replacing trees, this is a great read for you also!

1 – “Top” the tree which promotes watersprouts that weaken trees and encourage pests and disease.

Do not top trees. Tree heights can be lessened by proper crown reduction that doesn’t stimulate watersprout growth.

2 – Leave co-dominant leaders to promote “V” growth and splitting during winds and storms.

When a tree is young, select one or the other of the competing upright branches to be the main branch and cut the other off. Do not buy a tree with these characteristics.

3 – Leave crossing branches to rub protective bark and create wounds.

Prune branches that cross and rub in order to prevent bark wounds.

Click the links for the full articles!!

What to Do If a Bird Hits the Window

imageSo, here I am working on my ‘puter when I here BLAM! I know that sound. Even though I try to warn the birds with colored clings and special ‘bird eyes only’ clings, a few still don’t see the warnings and connect. Most times, they shake it off and fly away. This time, Mr. Mourning Dove was seeing stars and planets, and was just sitting quietly on the ground. As there have been many birds of prey around lately, I didn’t want him to be a sitting duck, err, dove. I had to something to help the little, dazed guy out.

This is not my first rodeo when it comes to head injuries… I’ve had a few of my own 8-D

If the bird hasn’t moved in a few minutes, it may have a concussion. This guy was toootally out of it, he could hardly stand-up and was wobbly. Many websites tell you to put the bird in a brown paper bag and put it in a dark place… I liked my box idea, as it gave him a shelter, a place with little to no stimulation.. Basically a safe place to chill-out. Of course it was open so he could leave when his world stopped spinning. I didn’t try to give him food or water, as that could have caused a whole ‘nother rash of problems.

I came and checked on the little, window rapper every half hour. He seemed fine under the paper towel, while he tried to make sense of which way was up. After about 2 1/2 hours, he was gone.

I didn’t feel there was anything else wrong with this guy, so I didn’t feel the need to try to contact a bird sanctuary. Sadly, these guys are very common and on top of it, it’s dove season here!!

Now, if you come across a bird (or any other animal) that is clearly injured (broken wing, you see blood…), you will need to contact a professional wildlife rehabilitation or you’re gonna be in big trouble. Unless you’re trained, you cannot possess a wild animal. It stops idiots from trying to keep wild animals as pets. There is a great need for rehabbers! Wanna learn how?

Rehabers are very easy to find via a web search. It’s best to do this ahead of time, so when you do see an injured animal, you know what to do and time is precious when injuries are involved. Sadly, I toootally understand rehabers are far and few between, usually have little help and do god’s work, however in the four times I’ve needed them, only once did I get through to someone and they actually helped me (with a barn sparrow). You can try a local veterinarian, however be prepared to accept the bills also.

My best piece of advice, be prepared that your ward may die on your watch. It’s sad, but that’s life. Bury them in a nice part of the garden and remember them fondly when the nearby flowers bloom. That’s how I’m getting it done. Au Natural.

Post publishing:
Sherry Felix gave me a great link to help injured birds in general. This link discusses what to do with any injured bird. Thank you again, Sherry!!


© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Monday Memories 6-6-2016

Lots of critters and diseases are coming out to play with our plants. It reminds me of this patty-cake game we played as young-ins…

See, see my playmate,
Come out and play with me
And bring your dollies three
Climb up my apple tree
Holler down my rain barrel
Slide down my cellar door
And we’ll be jolly friends
Forever evermore.
Oh no my playmate
I can’t come play with you
My dollies have the flu
Boo hoo boo hoo
Can’t holler down rain barrels
Or slide down a cellar door
But we’ll be jolly friends
Forever evermore.

Say, say, my playmate
Don’t come and play with me
Don’t bring your dollies three
Cut down my apple tree
Fall off my rainbow,
Into my cellar door
And we’ll be enemies
Forever evermore.

Say, say my enemy.
Come out and fight with me.
And bring your bulldogs three.
Climb up my sticker tree.
Slide down my razor blade.
Into my dungeon door
And we’ll be jolly enemies
Forever evermore.
Say say old enemy
Come out and fight with me
And bring your bb gun
And we’ll have lots of fun
I’ll scratch your eyes out
And make you bleed to death
And we’ll be jolly enemies
Forever evermore.

Oh little enemy,
I cannot fight with you,
My mommy said not too
Boo hoo hoo hoo
I can’t scratch your eyes out
And make you bleed to death
But we’ll be jolly enemies
Forever evermore.

Ilex vs Rose Sawfly

imageLarvae can be effectively controlled with a neem oil product or an insecticidal soap. Spray only the leaves (both sides), in the morning as neem oil can possibility hurt pollinators (More research needs to go into that). The strategy is to find larvae while they are still small and before damage becomes severe, like our roses! There is no need for control after the larvae have finished eating and left the plants, give or take mid-July.

Ilex VS Gooseberry Sawfly – Nematus ribesii

Many of the same family insects have the same timing.

This is the gooseberry sawfly that had attacked my gooseberry for two years a few years back. The last two years, they haven’t been found. Awesome sauce!!

Just for the record, using dish soap is not acceptable for a cheap substitute for horticultural soap. Now-a-days, the dish soap is not soap anymore, detergent is the main ingredient and modern soap lacks the fatty acids that are helpful in killing (smothering) the insect.

Ilex vs The Asparagus Beetle

wpid-20130611_174006.jpg

These little guys are my bane.  I use IPM (Integrated pest management), meaning that I hunt and squish bugs! I can’t say that I am pesticide free, but most issues can be taken care of without chemicals. IMO no chemical action is need for these beetles. But, if you must, I’ve sprayed neem oil on the eggs after harvesting time, which is sometime late June (soon). There are normally 2 cycles of insects here, but there could be more.

The easiest way to catch these buggers is to have a cup of water ready. As you move towards them, they move to the other side of the stalk (quite funny to watch!) Put the cup under them & wave your hand near them. Their instinct is to drop to the ground, but instead, the cup of water will catch them. The larva and eggs aren’t as easy to remove. It’s the same method I use for typing… Hunt & peck.

 

Ilex VS Oak WiltImage

Oak wilt is a disease caused by the fungus Ceratocystis fagacearum, that is either spread by beetles of the nitidulid family (commonly known as sap bugs), or by root grafts. The disease clogs the vascular system of the tree causing wilting.

This disease kills red oaks including; red, black, pin, and scarlet varieties. White oaks including; white, bur, and swamp white oaks tend to pull through, although it takes many injectable fungicide treatments and a lot of care must be given.

How to Attract Butterflies!

My mom called them "Flutter-by's".Click he link for a list of larval plants for many butterflies!
Amelanchier spp. – Serviceberry

  • Bruce Spanworm
  • Blindy Sphinx (small)
  • Striped Hairstreak
  • Amorpha canescens
  • Black-spotted Prominent
  • Dog Face
  • Asimina triloba
  • Zebra Swallowtail

Ilex VS. Dutch Elm Disease dutch elm disease

During the early summer is when effected trees are the easiest to identify. Leaves on the upper branches will curl and turn a gray-green or yellow and finally, crunchy brown. This symptom is called “flagging”, although a flag alone is not complete assurance that the tree has DED. Another symptom is brown streaks in the sapwood beneath the bark of affected branches, which is the blocked xylem. However, only laboratory isolation and identification can positively confirm that the tree has DED. Check with your local extension or State University, usually they will perform this test for a nominal fee. Most arborists find these two symptoms are enough evidence to treat or remove an elm.

Ilex VS Euonymus Scale

escaleEuonymus scale (Unaspis euonymi) is a pest that is around all year, especially on groundcover euonymus. Treatment should be done when the crawlers emerge, which is around the early part of June, although it may be a bit later this year. Male adult scales are white, and females are dark brown and are shaped like an oyster shell. Euonymus scale overwinters as a mated (pregnant) female on the plant stems. Eggs develop beneath the scale and hatch during late spring.

 

©Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Breck Gets a Gash

It’s said that dogs don’t have a sense of time. When I’ve only gone to the mailbox, I’m greeted like I was gone for a week! However, sometimes I do question this track of thinking. Every single time one of my dogs have injured themselves, it’s been over the weekend.

While chatting in the garage, I noticed a fresh drop of blood on the floor. I told the Hubby someone was bleeding, everyone gets checked!! Turns out Breck was the winner… Again! It did not look this bad when it happened. We applied pressure and it stopped bleeding, so we thought it was ok. We cleaned it with hydrogen peroxide and wrapped it up.

In the morning, we noticed it had opened up and started bleeding again. We shaved the area to get a better look at it. It was a good gash alright. It looked clean though and I’ve now become educated in the right methods of dog gash care!

image  image

Turns out hydrogen peroxide isn’t all that good for cuts. You might think all that bubbling of hydrogen peroxide on your wound is its germ-killing action hard at work… However, that bubbling isn’t just killing the bacteria in your cut, it’s also killing your body’s fibroblasts, the cells responsible for repairing the wound.

Only use cool water to clean wounds.

Then wrap the area with or without a bit of Neosporin. I really hate ‘coning’ a dog. However, we couldn’t have him ripping off the bandage. My solution was to spray the outer bandage with ‘bitters’ or the no-bite solution. He did lick it, but not enough to get it off.

Three days later, he was all scabbed-up and had put the incident behind him.

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Ilex VS Scale (Again!)

As I was preparing my houseplants to come inside for the winter, I noticed a bad case of scale on my palm.

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Crawlers & Female Scales

You are seeing a range of ages of scale in these photos, as scale can have one or two generations per season. The nymphs are hatched from under a female scale and ‘crawl’ to a new location. This is the only time the insect will ever move, so the nymphs are often called ‘crawlers’. Females will find a suitable location and honker-down. She will loose her legs and live under her shell. Male scale develop wings for to get around to all the women, however in most cases, he only lives for a few days.

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Scale insects are divided into two categories:

Soft scales (Cottony maple scale, for example) produce a soft, thin, cottony, powdery or waxy layer over themselves that cannot be separated from the insect body.  These scale insects often produce copious amounts of honeydew.

Armored scales (like these in the photos) have a hard, shield-like cover composed of shed skins and wax that conceals the body but is not attached to the body of the insect.

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Treat with horticultural oil or organic insecticidal soap. If you’re going with soap, spray the plant down with water first, as the longer the soap spray stays liquid, the better job it will do smothering the pests.

Just for the record, using dish soap is not acceptable for a cheap substitute for horticultural soap. Now-a-days, the dish soap is not soap anymore, detergent is the main ingredient and modern soap lacks the fatty acids that are helpful in killing the insect. All you will do is dry out your plant!

Another few good tips to aid the recovery of your plant from scale:

  • Don’t over-water.
  • Don’t fertilize – forcing fresh growth is stressful on the plant and the pests like the new stuff better!
  • Place in sunny location.
  • Try to remove the honeydew, as sooty mold will grow on it.
  • Don’t be afraid to prune when needed – I cut many branches down to just lessen the surface area.
  • About once a week, spray off the plant and reapply the soap or oil.

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Both new and old scales are seen in this photo

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Monday Memories 10-19-2015

Ah, Monday.
Aside from Friday, what day brings more emotion to the surface than good ‘ol Monday? =-)

General Pruning Techniques for Trees and Shrubs

Acer x f. Autumn Blaze® 'Jeffersred' 1Many factors must be considered when pruning any type of shrub or tree. Proper pruning technique is necessary, and is described further at Trees are Good. Identification of the plant, along with knowing it’s growth or habit, flowering schedule, and reason for pruning, is also imperative.

Pruning of dead, dying, or diseased limbs should be done at anytime. The 3 D’s! Many problems can be avoided if the problems are not allowed to spread throughout the tree or even to the neighboring trees.

When dealing with deciduous trees and shrubs, there are four types of pruning categories: inconspicuous blooming, early blooming, late blooming, and fruits.

 

How to Prepare Your Houseplants to Come Back in For the Winter

imageI then give everyone a dose of soap! It is best to have the plants wet before you spray the soap on as it will stay liquid longer to smother any offenders. Don’t forget the trunks. So, this is what it’s like to be a mass murderer… 😉

Oh, a note about frugality…. I love being able to make a concoction for 10¢ instead of paying $13.99 for something… HOWever, do not use dish soap in lieu of horticultural soap. Dish soap nowadays does not have the fatty-acids that aid adhesion and they are mostly made of detergents that will be harsh on the leaves.

 

Happy Halloween!!

2012-06-23 13.26.23Halloween now is completely different from when I grew-up. When I was a small child, we would get many homemade treats like caramel apples, popcorn balls, brownies, and rice crispy treats. We ran from house to house, filling our pillowcases with enough sugar to off 100 diabetics.

Then there was the one asshole that put a razor blade in an apple. Boom, no more homemade treats, everything must be store-bought, prepackaged candy. That was OK by us kids, surely dentists were happy! We weren’t allowed to snack until Mom & Dad looked at all of our candy and pulled out their favorites.. The price of being a child… Harrumph!

Then there was the sicko that lured a small boy into his house. Boom, no more trick or treating without an adult. Those old folks can’t keep-up to make one night of treating worth going. That’s when all the parties started. Many park districts, libraries, and churches started having gatherings where candy and activities were in abundance. I was getting a bit too old to trick or treat at this point.

 

 

Circumhorizontal Arc – Rainbow Halos!!wpid-20130914_133923.jpg

For a Circumhorizontal arc (CA) to be visible, the Sun must be at least 58 degrees high in the sky and where cirrus clouds are present. Additionally, the copious, flat, hexagonal ice-crystals that compose the cirrus cloud must be aligned horizontally to properly refract sunlight in a collectively similar manner. In principle, a CA is a type of halo. These happen a few times a year here in the Midwest. Other lower latitudes don’t get to see these at all.

 

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl