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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
October 10, 2001     Feather River Bulletin
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October 10, 2001

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Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2001 Fall is the p_erfect, time to rid gardens of potential pests At hhis time of year, people are think- you desire. ing more about what to cook for Thanksgiving dinner than their gar- dens. However, there are still a few odds and ends to take care of in the yard. Heading off diseases and insects is one of those tasks, and in many cases the best way to discourage these pests is to clean up your garden before the snow falls. Knowing a little about how diseases and insects behave helps too. [Xm$ It would be nice if there were some magic spray or secret method of get- ting rid of all diseases. Of course, there's no such thing Fortunately, removing dead, diseased or decaying tissue as it appears can go a long way towards preventing the spread of future diseases. Most diseases go through a cycle. First, they infect the plant. Then, when winter arrives, they go dormant and wait inside the infected tissue. When spring arrives, the diseases leap back to life and re-infect the plant. So, removing diseased branches .and stems in the fall greatly reduces the possibility of re-infection next year. Diseased tissue isn't always easy to spot, but do the best you can--get rid of tissue with obvious cankers, holes, or black, dead patches. Remember to cut if off with clean, sharp pruning scissors to prevent undue damage to your plants, and never throw diseased tissue into the compost pile. Cutting down rose canes is another good way to forestall disease. Some peo- ple like to leave the canes in place to trap snow, which helps tender roses over winter, but I prefer to remove canes and use mulches like peat moss for insulation. It's much easier to remove the mulch in the spring than to have to deal with diseases (and insects) harbored by uncut canes. It's especially important to cut back and clean up canes when the plant has a history of problems. Hybrid teas should be cut down to about 15-30 cm from the. soil; hardy roseS, generally more resistant to disease than hybrid teas, should just be trimmed to shape if Any part of a plant may provide shel- ter for disease. That's why you should never keep potato tubers over the win- ter for planting next spring-these can harbor serious diseases like bacterial ring rot, which causes a horrid, mushy brown ring to appear in tubers. Certified seed potatoes are free of such diseases; it's far better to buy these each year than to risk spreading this disease in your garden. Speaking of tubers and the like, never store any soft and mushy corms, bulbs, or ornamental tubers. These will continue to deteriorate in storage and spread disease to healthy tubers. The shorter, cooler days of September are triggering certain insect behaviors. Most importantly, over winter, insects are on the lookout for hiding places They'll take shelter in cracks and bark on trees, in leaf debris, and any other sheltered spots they can fmd. Once more, your best strategy for preventing an insect resurgence in the spring is to remove any dead, dying or insect ridden branches, especially since most sprays are useless in the fall. One exception is a product called dor- mant oil. Dormant oil is a horticultural oil that coats and suffocates insects. It should be sprayed on trunks, branches and canes after the leaves have either fallen or been cleaned off. The oil kills mites and aphid eggs and can also kill some hibernating dis- eases. Another good spray is a special lime- sulfur concoction. It kills mites and dis- ease, but should only be used on dor- mant plants. The lime-sulfur combina- tion can cause severe burning on foliage, but once all the leaves have fall- en in September or October, there is no risk of damage. last word This isn't a time to rest on our lau- rels--our tiny enemies certainly aren't about to head into fall without having a plan for spring in mind. So hold off on those Thanksgiving preparations until you've frustrated their ambitions. Prepare next summer's According to Billy Lowe--an innovative manufacturer of lawn care products for more than50 years--autumn is the perfect time to renew and renovate your lawn and lawn mowing equipment. Here's a checklist to get you start- ed. Aerate your soil. Cutting these small holes into your lawn helps to loosen soil compacted over the sum- mer months and lets water, fertiliz- er and weed control down to the plant's roots. For a smaller yard, you can use a pitchfork to make the holes. Aeration is especially important in areas where soil is heavy. Use weed control now and reduce the number of weeds that will appear in the spring. Make sure you use a "fall" weed control mixture. If your weed control does not contain a fertilizer, fertilize with a mixture designed for use in your kind of soil. Repair bald or diseased areas of the lawn. Fall's warm days and cool nights are perfect for starting grass seed. If your yard is looking pretty worn, try some top-dressing adding a light layer of organic matter and seed. Keep mowing, gradually reduc- ing the height of your lawn to between 1.5 to 2 ter. In areas where :! accumulate, at the 1.5 inch level mold or mildew. .Use leaves and keep down and smotherm of/h, After you ve co V tl ho Orticul door mowing cnu* -- t stO t time to mower ready for L m . os an Cleaning the os inal carefully removing . ] ~ted Sta! grass clippings anu ,, parts; shr Checking bolts tures making sure place and secure; Running the tank is empty lizer before clogs the gas line and stops mowers the spring; Marking your remind you to power equipment winter for a mower t After you've maintenance find that you need attachment - r Io Planted Check you power equipment . .. .is lik end of the year d ^ and access y Wcx BAN KI RTOAOE * ll~=~umo ll,e=== * ~ ~ * Ilomo (B=b B==thi=) (|) HI lab ' comPosi , and Yot mot] Your TREE SERVICE Dave Sims noticed