Lots of things are bugging gardeners these days

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 19, 2014

Generally, September is a slow month for consumer gardening questions, however, I still receive a variety of gardening questions. Many attending the Rowan County Fair will have gardening questions. Below are a few inquiries from the general public about various issues that may be of interest.
Question: I have a fescue lawn that has a lot of clover. Should I kill the clover and then plant the grass seed or wait?
Answer: Really depends on how much clover you have. If it’s nothing but clover, then spray with glyphosate and kill it completely, then reseed. If you have sparse clover in the lawn, then I would over seed and then kill the clover later with a lawn weed herbicide. You generally need to wait until your newly-seeded lawn has been mowed a couple of times before spraying with post emergence herbicides.
Question: There is this strange caterpillar that stung me earlier this week. The sting was almost unbearable. I have never seen one of these before. What are these and how do I control them?
Answer: You were stung by a saddleback caterpillar. The insect can be found inconspicuously on many trees and ornamental shrubs around the home. The saddleback caterpillars are usually in small numbers, causing minimal damage to host plants. There is no control for these since they are few in number. The other caterpillar to avoid is the puss caterpillar. This caterpillar also delivers a powerful sting. As you have experienced, these deliver a powerful sting which often sends some to the hospital emergency room.
Question: We have these little, brown bugs all over the side of our house. They look like small, brown lady bugs. What are these insects and can I control them?
Answer: These could be kudzu beetles but Asian lady beetles and stink bugs become a nuisance with seasonal changes. Preventive insecticidal sprays are generally not recommended. Homeowners can spray to kill the insects with household insecticides primarily around windows, door frames and soffits. Choose any common exterior insecticides labeled for application to outside of buildings.
Question: Is your office still taking orders for small fruit plants?
Answer: Yes. Cooperative Extension is selling grape vines, blackberry, raspberry and blueberry plants as well as fig trees as a fundraiser for ongoing programs. The last day to order plants is Oct. 30. Delivery is on Thursday, Nov. 6. Call Cooperative Extension at 704-216-8970 for more information or to place an order.

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 on Facebook or website at www.rowanextension.com