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Darrell Blackwelder: Order your figs and mind your persimmons

With the rapid change in temperatures, homeowners will migrate outside to rake leaves and clean up spent summer annuals. When working outside, be aware that insects are still active in the heat of the day. Yellow jackets are particularly aggressive in the fall. Fire ants are also prevalent and deliver powerful stings. Fire ants are artful in repositioning mounds. They often hide under flower and shrub foliage, near edges of sidewalks and potted plants. Drench mounds with at least a gallon of mixed insecticides for control.

Below are questions posed to Cooperative Extension in the past few weeks.

Question: Is the 4-H department still taking small fruit orders? My fig isn’t doing well from this past summer, and I want to plant another.

Answer: Yes, but place your order soon. The last day to order small fruits is Thursday, Oct. 30. Cooperative Extension 4-H youth program is also selling bunch grapes, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, muscadines and fig plants. Call 704-216-8970 to place your order. The proceeds from small fruit sales helps fund ongoing youth programs.

Question: My wife planted this tree in our yard that has unusual fruit (a photo was included in an email). Can you tell me what this is?

Answer: The tree is an Oriental persimmon. They have larger fruit than normal native persimmon trees. Go to http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/hil/hil-377.html for more detailed information on the fruit.

Question: We have grubs that are a serious problem. They come out on our driveway and are a mess. What can I do to control them?

Answer: Grubs are best controlled now with a soil insecticide. These insecticides are granular formulations and are applied with a fertilizer spreader. It’s best to apply these controls now before cold weather arrives. Go to  http://www.turffiles.ncsu.edu/insects/white_grubs.aspx for more detailed information about white grubs and their control.

Question: What is the holly that has very fragrant blooms in the fall? My neighbor has one and I can smell it from my house.

Answer: The plant is not really a holly but fragrant Osmanthus (Osmanthus fragrans) which is entirely different from a true holly. The leaves of a holly (Ilex sp.) alternate on the stem, while Osmanthus leaves are opposite each other. The shrub is used as a hedge, border or screen. More information can be found at http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/factsheets/shrubs/osmanthus_fragrans.html

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, on Facebook or online at www.rowanextension.com

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