Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

July, 2001
Regional Report

Control Corn Earworms


Spray Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) to control corn ear worms. When the corn silks are beginning to turn from green to brown, apply a few squirts of Bt directly onto the silk with a spray bottle. The Bt will kill the caterpillars before they enter the ear and ruin your crop.

Shade New Plantings

If you are planting any new flowers from cell packs, it\'s important to protect them from the blazing sun. The tiny roots can\'t take up water fast enough to prevent the foliage from wilting. Cover young plants with sheets of newspaper or row covers. Make sure there is ample air circulation so the plants don\'t cook in the heat. In a few days once the roots become established you can remove the covers.

Control Weeds

It\'s important to keep weeds under control now. Weeds are direct competition to your landscape plants for water and nutrients. Pull weeds by hand and remove as much of the root as you can. Weeds pull easily from damp soil, so plan on weeding just after you\'ve watered or it\'s rained.

Remove Wild Morning Glory

Here is a method to remove wild morninglory from your perennial garden. Mix a non-selective herbicide according to label directions. Cut off the bottom of a 1 litter soda bottle. Gather the weed into a bundle and stuff it into the bottom of the bottle. Place the nozzle of the sprayer into the neck of the bottle and give the collected weed a shot of herbicide so that all the foliage gets wet. Allow the weed to drip for a few seconds, then move on to the next weed. By isolating the weed inside the bottle, you reduce the chance of herbicide getting on your landscape plants.

Shower Houseplants

Take your houseplants outside and give them a shower. Place them in a protected location away from wind and sun. Use a hose nozzle that delivers a gentle rain. Wash both sides of the leaves and the pots. Allow the plants to stay outside until they\'ve dripped dry, then move them back to their regular spot indoors. By eliminating the accumulated layer of dust, your plants will have fewer pests and the cleaner leaves will be better able to photosynthesize.

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