Why has pea hen taken up with chickens?

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 11, 2013

SALISBURY — Homeowners are contemplating productive vegetable and beautiful flower gardens this spring. Below are a few questions Cooperative Extension has received over the past few weeks.
Q: What can I do to control weeds in my vegetable garden? I have an abundance of both broad-leafed weeds and Bermuda grass.
A: There are no herbicides at this time that will control weeds. Planting a cover crop of wheat, oats or other small grains will control many weed species. Bermuda grass can be controlled with glyphosate (Roundup) or other herbicides in the summer during peak growing season.
Q: I sprayed my lawn a few weeks ago with weed killer to get rid of chickweed and henbit. Unfortunately, my lawn has not shown any evidence the spray is controlling the weeds. Did I do something wrong?
A: In cooler temperatures and shorter growing conditions, herbicides work very slowly. It may take a couple of weeks to see any results. Often a second spray is needed to control the weeds. Lawn care companies often have to make multiple applications to control tough weeds. Controlling them now is much easier than waiting until spring when weed growth flourishes.
Q: Last week, a white female peacock flew in our yard with our chickens and it has taken up residence here. It will not leave. Is this normal? Is this a wild peacock?
A: Peacocks are introduced species and it apparently has strayed from its owner. These large birds can become feral and multiply, becoming an extreme nuisance. In parts of Florida, the birds have become such a problem that some neighborhoods have resorted to hiring private companies to eliminate the birds.
Q: Can I trim my pampas grass now? The plant has turned brown and looks ugly.
A: Yes. Pampas grass is a warm season grass that can handle pruning now. However, I do not recommend burning the plant. Many people resort to burning the plant to eliminate the unsightly blades. It’s dangerous and the plant is pretty ugly until new growth arrives.
Q: When is the best time to apply dormant oils or sprays to my fruit trees?
A: Apply any time during the winter as long as the temperature is above 40 degrees and under 65 degrees. Do not apply when the fruit blossoms are showing color.

Darrell Blackwelder is an agricultural agent in charge of horticulture with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County. 704-216-8970.