Backyard columnist Dan Gill solutions readers’ questions every week. To ship a query, e mail Gill at [email protected]
I’ve discovered a number of unusual small mounds of soil in my panorama. The piles are usually not ant hills. There may be one gap close to the bottom of a lot of the mounds. It seems, in some circumstances, that there’s a small trench that leaves the opening and travels throughout the mound as when you had dragged your finger throughout the mound. I’ve stuffed within the holes however one thing opens them up once more. Have you learnt what has invaded my backyard and what I ought to do to eliminate them? — Ajay Singh
Have you ever heard the cicadas (or locusts, as some name them) singing within the bushes within the late afternoon and nightfall? Nicely, the creature creating the mounds of soil and holes is a predator of the cicadas. Known as the cicada killer, the insect is a big wasp.
A male and a feminine cicada killer create a nest within the floor — the mounds of soil you could have seen — then they hunt for a cicada. When one is situated, it’s stung to paralyze it, then it’s picked up and flown again to the nest, the place it’s dragged underground (accounting for the ditch resulting in the opening). You’ll be able to think about how massive the wasp should be to hold an insect as massive as a cicada.
The feminine wasp lays an egg on the nonetheless dwelling cicada, which can function meals for the larvae when it hatches. The female and male might place a number of cicadas in the identical nest. This pure management is important and necessary to handle populations of the cicada.
Fortuitously, regardless of its alarming measurement, this wasp is unlikely to sting folks. They don’t seem to be as defensive of their nest as some wasps are. Due to the big inhabitants of cicadas this yr, numerous cicada killers have been round, so many individuals noticed them. My suggestion is to depart them alone and let nature take its course.
Does chopping off the leaf after I choose the okra pod promote higher manufacturing of extra okra? Or can we simply break them off to get them out of the best way to scale back rubbing towards them? — Mike Taylor
When okra vegetation are sufficiently old to supply, they produce a flower adopted by an okra pod on the base of every leaf. You’ve gotten a great purpose to ask your query. Eradicating the leaves might make it simpler to see and harvest new okra pods. And many individuals discover rubbing towards the leaves with naked pores and skin could cause irritation.
However you have to take into account the function leaves play in okra (and all vegetation). Vegetation produce the meals they should develop and be wholesome by photosynthesis. In okra, and most vegetation, this happens of their leaves. Each leaf is a meals manufacturing facility, and as such each leaf is necessary to the general well being and vigor of a plant. Each time you take away a wholesome leaf you’re lowering a plant’s capacity to maintain itself.
When you ever minimize a plant again arduous, like a shrub that has grown means too massive, you’ll discover that the plant responds by sending out a number of new leafy shoots. Pruning off a lot of the foliage enormously limits a plant’s capacity to supply the meals it wants. After a tough pruning, a plant is determined to switch the misplaced foliage as quickly as potential so it could create the meals it wants.
Whereas what you’re contemplating doing isn’t so drastic, eradicating wholesome leaves out of your okra plant is detrimental — and now why. The okra vegetation want their leaves, and eradicating a leaf if you harvest the okra pod at its base isn’t really helpful.
If harvesting your okra irritates the pores and skin in your arms, put on a long-sleeved shirt if you choose your okra pods to guard your pores and skin.
I’ve a Joe-pye weed plant in a container. When could be the very best time to plant it within the floor? — Monica
The Joe-pye weed (Eutrochium fistulosum) is a beautiful native perennial that blooms in late summer season into fall. November could be a great time to plant yours within the floor.
VEGGIES NOW: Right here’s an inventory of greens that may be planted into your backyard in August. Plant transplants of tomato, pepper, eggplant, and in late August broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. Plant seeds of broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, Chinese language cabbage, cabbage, collards, mustard, turnips, squash and cucumbers. Plant seeds of bush snap beans and bush lima beans in late August. Units (small bulbs) of shallots and bunching onions may be planted this month.
REPOTTING: After a summer season of vigorous development outdoors, some containerized vegetation could also be pot sure. Examine and repot into bigger containers if vital. As well as, vegetation in pots sitting on an previous brick floor, gravel or soil might develop roots out of the drainage holes into the bottom. Stop this by lifting the pots often or enhance them up on pot toes or items of brick.
MAKE MORE IRISES: It’s possible you’ll start to dig and divide Louisiana irises, Easter lilies and calla lilies this month by way of September.
OUT WITH THE OLD: When a vegetable crop is completed, promptly pull it up and throw it in your compost pile (so long as it isn’t closely infested with fungus ailments). When you don’t need to plant instantly within the space, mulch it with 4 to 6 inches of leaves, grass clippings, pine straw or different supplies you could have available to stop weeds. Previous crops left in place look untidy, enable weeds to develop and will harbor bugs or ailments.
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