Get ahead of ticks now -- here's how
And what's that green stuff on my tree?
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It’s time to think about ticks — before they become a problem — and they will for much of the Northeast and Upper Midwest, and other regions to some extent.
Instead of calling in an (expensive, toxin-spewing) exterminator, there’s an alternative that’s safe for pollinators, wildlife, pets and people.
I wrote about this last year, so here, from the archives, is the lowdown…
As in years past, I’ve received several requests this summer for information about how best to control ticks in the garden.
Although super tiny in size, those insect carriers of Lyme disease and other illnesses can have an enormous, long-term effect on human health, so your concern is well-placed.
Although tick populations tend to coincide with deer populations, residents of areas that historically have not had infestations may be at risk this year. In fact, tick numbers all over the U.S. — including at the shorelines — are rising, and tick-borne illnesses are rising with them.
If you see ticks in your garden, please don’t blast your entire property with pesticides; that would put pollinators at risk. In addition, pest control services aren’t cheap, and they often have to be repeated.
There’s an alternative method that is at least as effective — and safe for humans, pets, beneficial insects, wildlife and the environment.
The secret is to protect mice. From there, there’s a trickle-down process that will, in fact, reduce or eliminate the tick population on your property. But there are only two windows per year when this method is effective — in spring and mid-summer. So the time to act is now.
You can read the science behind this innovative method of tick control on the My Favorite Things page over at JessicaDamiano.com.
📬 Ask Jessica
DEAR JESSICA: Do you know what this green stuff is on my maple tree? — Joseph Fasano
DEAR JOSEPH: Those are lichens, unsightly colonies of fungi and algae that may look harmful but aren’t. The organisms, which are supported by the trees they live on, provide food and even serve as nesting material for various wildlife.
Their presence indicates good air quality, as they can’t survive polluted areas. You can just leave them be.
💡 If you do one thing this week…
Uncover the fig tree! But only on a cloudy day to avoid risking sunburn. Welcome it back with a nice, deep drink.
MOTHER’S DAY GIFT ALERT
For more great gardening tips — 365 of them! — get a jump on the growing season with my Day-by-Day Gardening Calendar. It’s like a complete gardening course in a wall calendar! By the end of the year, I promise, you’ll have earned a green thumb! Plus, your wall will be adorned with award-winning photography provided by The Weekly Dirt readers. And I’ve extended my 20% Off Welcome to Spring Sale for moms! Take a look:
👏 Sunday shoutout
Angela Weber of Gaylord, MN, has created a beautiful and charming welcome vignette for guests (and herself!) in her front-yard garden using various colors and textures of foliage.
Send in your photo, and you could be featured next!
📰This week in my Associated Press gardening column
I write a weekly gardening column for the AP, so you might have seen my byline in your local paper (or news website) — wherever in the world you happen to be. In case you miss it, though, I’ll post the most recent here every week.
Filling raised beds? Save money—and grow better—with Hugelkultur: Hugelkultur is a different, more natural (and cheaper) approach to raised beds or mounds that doesn’t require so many bags of top soil or compost. Instead, you fill the space with organic matter that gradually decomposes, feeding the soil and plants. Here’s how.
Growing veggies in small spaces: Smaller new varieties can yield great results for vegetables grown in containers.
Plants to plant in spring for a beautiful garden next winter: When you’re planning and planting your spring garden, think ahead to next winter too, and include plants that will create interest in your landscape in the so-called “off season.”
Black innovators who reshaped American gardening and farming: The achievements of 19th-century scientist George Washington Carver have landed him in U.S. history textbooks, but many other agricultural practices and innovations that traveled with enslaved people from West Africa or were developed by their descendants remain unsung. Here’s a look at five.
Tips for indoor seed-starting: When to start planting seeds indoors? First, check your frost date.
Holey leaves and vines! A look at houseplant trends for 2022: A look at trends in houseplants for 2022. Popular varieties include fenestrated plants, that is, those with leaves that are split or contain holes. Vines are another hot category.
Let’s be friends! Follow me @JesDamiano on Instagram
📧 How’m I doing?
I welcome your comments and suggestions, so please send them along — as well as any topics you’d like to see covered and questions you’d like answered in the Ask Jessica section.
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