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Posts Tagged ‘Plant’

Managing Voles and Other Garden Pests

Thursday, July 1st, 2010
Insect

Image by always13 via Flickr

In fact insects are the pests most people link with gardens, but voles and other animals can as well do considerable damage to plants, flowers and crops. Animal garden pests can be even harder to control than insects. Even though they may learn their lesson when stopped by electric fencing, these intelligent animals can try other ways to get into a garden or even discover a varyent plant to feast upon. Gardeners need to know what type of pest is disturbing their gardens before they can effectively solve the predicament.

Voles as Garden Pests

Voles are small rodents that resemble pocket gophers. These moutilize-like creatures have a heavy, compact body, a short furry tail, short legs, small eyes and ears that are partially hidden. Their coarse long fur is blackish-brown or gray. A full-grown vole preparations 5 to 8 inches long, which contains the tail, notes the University of California.

Even though voles can breed at any time of the year, they mostly breed in spring. Voles are butionally productive, as they can have as many as five to ten litters each year. A litter size can range from three to six baby voles. Moles rarely live past 12 months old.

Voles are active throughout the year, during both day and nighttime hours. They’re typically found where there is thick vegetation. These pests dig shallow, short burrows, making underground nests of stems, grass and leaves. In winter voles can burrow through snow. Limiting the amount of litter lying on the ground of a vegetable garden can help reduce or get rid of a vole predicament.

Mammal Garden Pests

Even though many categories of mammals can cautilize damage to garden plants, some are more prominent than others.

  • Chipmunks are known for invading gardens. They’re rodents living on burrows or tunnels that eat nuts, fruits, seeds and bulbs.
  • Tree squirrels are pests that can be trapped in cages, with lures of peanut butter, sunflower seeds or raisins, and then be released.
  • Rabbits live in thick grassy areas that feed on flowers, vegetables and tree bark.
  • Groundhogs or woodchucks are rodents that feed on tender flowers, vegetables and flowers during timely morning and late afternoon, notes the University of Vermont.
  • Deer are mostly found in wooded areas, thickets and tall grass that mostly eat plants and bark of woody plants.

‘Even though garden pests can cautilize many predicaments to plants, they can be managed. For example, poison bait is frequently utilized to kill rodents such as voles and mice. However, pet owners should comprehend that poison baits can as well attract pets and other animals, so these baits shouldn’t be placed where they can be found by pets. as well, caution should be utilized when trapping large animals to avoid being bitten becautilize many garden pests are carriers of rabies and other communicable ailment. By exercising ordinary sense and managing pest control, gardeners can enjoy their gardens without worrying about losing their flowers and vegetables.

Resources

University of California: Pests in Gardens and Landscapes (date accessed 6/15/2010).

University of Vermont: Controlling Animal Pests in the Garden (date accessed 6/15/2010).

Natural Gardening Products

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Clubroot Disease of Brassicas

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010
Fresh Brussels sprout for sale at a farm in We...

Image via Wikipedia

Clubroot is the most debigating disease to affect all members of the brassica family including Brussels sprout, cabbage, cauliflower, calabrese and swede. This virulent fungal disease persists in the soil for many years (spores can lay dormant for over twenty years). Clubroot is frequently a major predicament on old allotment sites and kitchen gardens which have been cultivated for many years. There is no known cure, but by adopting the following strategies decent crops may still be generated.

Recognizing the Presence of Clubroot

Infected plants wilt during hot days and develop stunted red to purple tops.When lifted the roots will be swollen and club-like. In bad infestations the stench from the roots can be horrendous.

How Clubroot disease stretchs

Clubroot stretchs through the soil water and on footwear and garden tools.

How to Reduce the Severity of Clubroot

Despite there being no cure preparations can be taken to reduce the severity of the damage cautilized:-

  • Improving the drainage of heavy soil by making raised beds and incorporating organic matter in the form of garden compost or well-rotted farmyard manure helps massively.
  • Raising the pH to 7.0 or 7.5 by applying garden lime and thereby making the soil more alkaline is another worthwhile tactic. Putting two good handfuls of lime into each hole and watering the hole before planting may lessen the impact of this disease.
  • Growing seedlings in 9cm (in any case this big) pots of sterilized compost (growing medium) means a strong root system is in place at planting-out time, this make sures the plants are mature before the disease gets a grip.
  • Some gardeners go to the trouble and expense of taking out a large hole for each plant and replacing this with sterilized loam every time they plant their brassicas.

Brassicas Which are Resistant to Clubroot

The development of some brassicas which show resistance to this virulent fungal disease is the most considerable breakthrough in the battle to combat the debilitating effects of clubroot. Resistant strains include the following:-

  • Swede ‘Invitation’
  • Calabrese ‘Trixie’
  • Cabbage ‘Kilaxy F1’ and the larger Cabbage ‘Kilaton F1’ are both high yielding autumn/winter ballhead varieties of cabbage which show fantastic resistance to clubroot.
  • Cauliflower ‘Clapton F1’ matures in summer and autumn producing large white heads. Plants show a very high resistance to clubroot.
  • Brussels Sprout ‘Crispus F1’ is the latest addition to the clubroot resistant brassica stable. If it proves to be as good as the cabbage and cauliflower resistant varieties its future is assured.

Learn to Live With Clubroot

Where clubroot disease is gift in the soil it can not be get rid ofd, but the gardener by making raised beds to recover the drainage, applying organic matter as well as lime to raise the pH, and raising young plants in pots is able to reduce its impact and grow affordable crops. The development of more resistant varieties for all categories of brassicas holds out real hope for vegetable growers everywhere.

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Onion White Rot Fungal Disease

Sunday, June 13th, 2010
Leeks (Allium ampeloprasum var. porrum)

Image via Wikipedia

The resting bodies (sclerotia) of onion white rot can survive in the soil without a suitable host for fifteen years. This serious fungal disease can affect any member of the Allium family including onions, spring onions, chives, shallots, garlic and leeks. In order to live with onion white rot in the soil the gardener must first of all be able to recognize it before taking preparations to reduce the debigation it can cautilize. Overwintered onions and garlic are particularly susceptible to onion white rot.

How to Recognize Onion White Rot

  • Evidence of this dastardly disease shows up when the leaves turn yellow and die back.
  • Plants will sometimes keel over as the roots rot.
  • A few plants may be affected at first, but this disease frequently stretchs to infect whole rows of plants.
  • Upon lifting affected plants, white fluffy fungal growth, a bit like cotton wool, can be seen around the bulb with tiny black globules, like poppy seeds among the fungus.
  • These black globules are the resting bodies or sclerotia of the white rot fungus.

How to  Reduce the Impact of Onion White Rot

The sclerotia fall into the soil where they wait for their next victim. When the temperatures reach 10-18 degrees centigrade during April the Allium roots stimulate the previously comatose fruiting bodies to germinate and infect new plants.

  • The gardener who must grow onions in infected ground will get better results by growing onions from seed rather than sets, becautilize sets have well developed roots when temperatures trigger disease activity.
  • Onions grown from seed have smaller roots and are therefore less likely to encourage attack.
  • White rot stretchs sideways through the soil and intertwined roots encourage rapid travel along the rows of plants. Space plants widely to slow the speed of onion white rot stretch.
  • removal the infected soil by taking out holes 10cm in diameter and replacing with uncontaminated soil before planting garlic may help.
  • Clean tools and boots well after cultivating contaminated ground.
  • In most cases a worthwhile crop of leeks can be grown on land which is badly infected with white rot.
  • Begin harvesting onions as soon as the bulbs are fully formed rather than wait for them to ripen.
  • utilize any onions which shows symptoms of the disease immediately, whilst they are still edible, and only store those bulbs which are completely free of the disease.

Elimination and Prevention of Onion White Rot

There is no control for this disease other than to avoid growing members of the Allium family on infected land for in any case eight years. UnHapppily like clubroot it can persist for much longer. It therefore makes sense to try to avoid letting the soil become infected in the first place by practising strict crop rotation and following a strict policy of garden hygiene including cleaning tools and boots after working on contaminated soil and never importing infected soil into uncontaminated ground.

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