Coastal and Tropical South

July, 2008
Regional Report

Don't Let Fleas Take Over

When you and your pets are out of the house for even a few days, fleas can take over. There's nothing worse than returning after vacation to an itchy outbreak. Treat the house and the yard, and wash Fido's bedding before you go. Vacuum and air out the house upon return.

Spread Lime on Mushroom Patches

Appearing now in many lawns are random patches of mushrooms, or toadstools. In otherwise healthy lawns, ignore or simply pluck them out. Regular circles of mushrooms are called "fairy rings." Old roots under the soil can spawn them, but so can chronically wet areas. For repeated outbreaks, spread garden lime on the spots.

Check for Chinch Bugs

These insects feed on green grass, eventually turning it brown. To see if this is the problem, at the edge of the brown area sink a big can (minus its top and bottom) into the nearest green and fill it with water. Any insects will float. Overuse of nitrogen fertilizers can increase the pest population. So can thatch buildup.

Inspect Cereals and Grains

No matter how well we seal them, cereals and grains can harbor tiny insects that hatch in summer. Inspect all products now, dump any that are contaminated, and refrigerate grains in the future. Check spices and herbs, too.

Rescue Earthworms

The sight of earthworms flattened on the sidewalk is gruesome. When soils are saturated quickly by thunderstorms, oxygen is depleted. The worms seek another source above ground, and too often perish in the attempt. If they're still wiggling, scoop them into the compost. Birds handle the rest.

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