Longer days prompt more questions about the yard

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 8, 2013

SALISBURY — The days are getting longer and with that comes the urge to venture outdoors with yard work chores. Daylight saving time arrives Sunday with an extra hour.

Listed below are a few gardening inquiries posed to Cooperative Extension over the past few days.

Q: Last year, my pears were riddled with fireblight. Is there anything I can do to help prevent this disease this year?

A: If you had fireblight last year, check to make sure it has been pruned out. If there are still diseased limbs, now is the time to remove them. Fireblight is a bacterial disease that affects mainly apple and pear trees vectored by bees or splashing rainfall. For more information about controlling fireblight, visit http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/pp/notes/oldnotes/fd3.htm

Q: Is there still time this spring for me to over-seed my lawn?

A: Fescue and fescue blends can be over-seeded now, especially bare spots. Don’t wait too late in the spring.

Q: My shrub (limb brought into the office) is completely riddled with some type of marks, possibly by either a woodpecker or squirrel. What type of damage could this be?

A: It is most likely squirrel damage. Squirrels chew on limbs, twigs and outdoor wooden furniture.

Q: What can I do about moles in my yard?

A: Controlling this pest will take patience and determination. There are two methods of controlling moles:

• use of soil insecticides to control the food source

• mole traps.

Grubs can be controlled with an application of granular insecticides. Elimination of grubs with insecticides may take two to three months for adequate control. The entire lawn or garden area must be treated. Spear type traps kill the moles as they move about in the tunnels. Locate a frequently used tunnel by caving in a short section and observing daily to determine which run is being used. These tunnels are usually straighter than most. Repeat this process for two or three days; then place the traps on the major runways. The mole is speared by a spring-loaded mechanism on the trap. One or two traps should be enough for the average-sized lawn.

Q: Why do I have moss in my lawn? How can it be controlled?

A: Moss grows as a result of poor growing conditions such as poor drainage, low light, poor fertility (low pH of the soil). Any one or a combination of all of these conditions is conducive for moss to develop. Work on you soil fertility. If you have dense shade, you efforts may be futile.

Darrell Blackwelder is the County Extension Director with horticulture responsibilities with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County. Learn more about Cooperative Extension events and activities by calling 704-216-8970 Facebook or online at www.rowanextension.com