Published 12:00 am Friday, April 5, 2013

We’ve had a hint of warm weather upon us last weekend. But it is important to remember there may be a chance of frost in the next few weeks, so keep a close eye on the weather. Whatever the weather may bring, many are forging ahead with their outdoor projects. Below are questions earlier this week from those that have been trying to get outdoors.

Question: I have these really pretty little flowers coming up in my yard. They are very small and close to the ground and fade away during the summer. What are these flowers?
Answer: The flowers you’re describing are star flower or Star-of-Bethlehem . There are other species very similar in the garlic family that have a similar bloom. These bulbs have been in full bloom in and around Salisbury.

Question: My wife and I were noticing a large number of flying insects (specimen brought into the office) around our windows of our home. We just had our house inspected for termites. What are these insects?
Answer: What you have are termites. Entomologists at N.C. State University have commented that at this time of year and with the warming trends, termite flights are active. An identifying factor which is unique to termites is a beaded antennae, which is very different from the antennae of ants. Termites are best controlled by professional pest control operators. If you suspect termites, you need to have your residence inspected. Go to for more information about termites.

Question: I have heard that Bradford pears are now becoming an invasive species across the state. Is this true?
Answer: Yes, it seems that Bradford pears, Callery sp. have crossed with seedling pears to produce seed that are easily spread by wildlife. The fruit is not edible and seems to be spreading across the entire southern region. Go to for more detailed information about this potential problem tree.

Question: I was watching the opening major league baseball games earlier this week and was fascinated with the unusual grass patterns in the outfields of some of the ball parks. How do they get those unusual patterns in the outfield?
Answer: The grass is mowed each week just before a game. They use a roller behind alternating mowers to make the different grass patterns or designs. The outfield is irrigated just before the game, which makes the patterns more prominent. This mowing pattern works best on cool season fescues and ryegrass outfields.

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