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Agriculture Today


Ways to control pill bugs




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May 18, 2011 | 3,243 views | Post a comment

Q.Is there any way to control pill bugs?

A. They generally are not a problem, except to low-growing plants, such as strawberries, slug and snail bait works very well on them.

Q.How do you tell when compost is ready to use?

A. Recognize finished compost by its homogenous texture and clean smell. The longer you wait to use finished compost, the more it decomposes. It is not a problem to use it when there are still some recognizable stems or other materials in the product.

Q.We have a chlorotic lawn. My feed store is recommending the product ironite. I have not had great luck with it. What do you think?

A. Ironite does not work for me. In tests I did on the TV several years ago, a chelated iron sprayed on the lawn was the fastest way to green it up, followed by an iron sulfate and compost top-dressing. Ironite had not greened up the lawn before the show was discontinued in the autumn.

Q.We live against a pasture that is alive with snakes. How do we keep them out of the yard?

A. Maintain a strip of frequently mowed lawn along the edge of your property. A strip of small rock about 3-feet wide also works. One of the best snake-prevention strategies is to have a cat or terrier in the yard. They harass the intruders and are fast enough to stay out of harm’s way.

Q.When are the peaches ready to harvest? How do I keep the birds from ruining them?

A. Harvest peaches when the background color changes from green to yellow. Birds can be tough. Cover the tree with a bird net. The product is for sale at most nurseries and farm stores. Squirrels are even tougher to control. You may have to trap them.

Q.Is it worth it to pay a lawn service to care for our lawn?

A. It depends how busy you are and what you prefer to do with your time. Some are very proficient and reasonable in cost.

Q.What is the best okra to plant?

A. I like one called ‘Oscar,’ but all work well. The key to good okra production is to pick it frequently when the pods are small and tender.

Calvin Finch is a horticulturist and the San Antonio Water System’s project director of regional initiatives and special projects. Hear him on “Gardening South Texas” on KLUP 930 AM radio Saturdays noon to 2 p.m., and 1-3 p.m. Sundays. Or, e-mail him at reader@wcn-online.com.
 

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