August 12, 1992

Ant Control in Lawns

Soil-nesting ants are beneficial to the turfgrass ecosystem and their presence should not be needlessly discouraged. However, there are times when they create enough annoyance that it may be desirable to reduce their numbers in the yard or around the house.

The first nuisance situation that may justify treatment is when ants are nesting close to the house and are foraging for food indoors. Barrier or perimeter sprays on the foundation and to the lawn next to the house may reduce this invasion. Any turfgrass spray should work, but diazinon, Dursban and Sevin are specifically suggested.

Dodder -- A Weed That Relies on Others

This past week I received several inquiries about dodder control and so, felt this would be an appropriate time to describe this plant and how to control it.

Plant Goldenrods for Late Season Bloom

Convincing some gardeners of the landscape value of goldenrods (Solidago species and hybrids) is difficult. These plants have long suffered from an undeserved reputation as a common field weed that causes hay fever. In fact, ragweed is the primary hay fever culprit. Goldenrod is falsely accused because it flowers abundantly during the peak allergy season. Goldenrods are easy to grow when planted in good garden soil in full sun. They are extremely hardy, drought tolerant, long-lived perennials. They also have few insect or disease problems and require minimal maintenance.

What is the Seed?

Many people like to try their hand at seed germination but shy away from tree seed because they are unsure when the seed ripens and what exactly to collect. Tree seeds from the black walnut and oak are obvious, but others such as fir and pine are more subtle in appearance. Tree seeds consist of three general types -- dry fruits that release their seeds at maturity like cottonwood; dry fruits, usually one-seeded, that are separated from the plant without releasing their seeds like maple and oak; and fleshy fruits that drop with their seeds enclosed like Russian olive and hawthorn.