Autumnal Equinox is Time for Fall Cleanup

Thursday, September 22 is the autumnal equinox, astronomically the day when the sun crosses the celestial equator heading south. From this point until the first day of winter, days will get shorter. The time of the year usually ushers in cooler weather, which is a good reminder to start cleaning up the garden. Referred to …

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Good or Bad Guy Chomping Your Tomatoes?

If you notice a quarter of a tomato plant missing overnight, but you can’t figure out what’s causing it, look closer!  A master of disguise, the tomato hornworm may be the culprit! These are enormous caterpillars – up to four inches long!  Their striping pattern makes them hard to spot despite their size. One tell-tale …

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What’s Chewing Your Tree Trunk? 

Could be voles. Also known as field or meadow mice, voles are small rodents that resemble hamsters.  With a compact, heavy body, short legs, a short-furred tail, they can measure 5 to 8 inches long, including the tail. These rodents are plant eaters, with an appetite for a lot of different plants – from artichokes, …

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These Pests Love Hot, Dry, And Dusty!

Along with the warm, sunny days of summer comes a scourge of pests – spider mites.  These little arachnids, related to spiders, look like tiny moving dots. The eight-legged, oval shaped adults live in colonies, primarily on the under-surfaces of leaves and a single colony may contain hundreds of individuals. They overwinter as mated females …

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What’s Jumping in That Rose?

Ever stick your nose to inhale the perfume of a rose, and see teeny-tiny bugs jump?  Likely you’ve just met some flea beetles.  Named for their well-developed hind legs, they jump like fleas when disturbed. While these insects can be a nuisance to roses, they don’t do any real damage. They’re more commonly found on …

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What’s that Crawling in the Garage?

Ever see a creepy, crawly, worm-like creature with oodles of legs in your yard or even in your house?  Could be a centipede or a millipede.  These strange looking critters are not insects – they’re more closely related to lobsters, crayfish, and shrimp, but are land dwellers. They’re most active at night around moist habitats …

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Traps are the Most Reliable Way to Manage Gophers

Grrrrr – while merrily tending my roses, I’ve come across another victim of the dreaded beast – the gopher.  If this is not one of the gardening challenges you face, you can stop reading now.  Since I live in gopher heaven, each season I have to deal with the damage from this voracious pest.  And …

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