Gardening

Keep baiting those slugs.

They will mate and lay eggs, if it warms a bit. You want to stop them and reduce the overwintering eggs as much as possible. Your transplants and seedlings next spring will be so much happier. (By the way, did you know slugs have about 10,000 micro-teeth?)

Consider whitewashing the trunks of young trees. It will help prevent winter freeze injury and sunburn in the summer. Apply white latex paint to the trunk up about 4 feet. Won’t take much time and is an easy project for a dry fall day.

Did the stink bugs disappear? I have seen stink bug damage on Asian pears (heavy dimpling and often distortion of the fruit) and a few other crops. But they haven’t shown up on walls seeking to winter over with you inside. Maybe they are on a later schedule. Maybe a predator has reduced the population at the egg or early instar stage. We can only hope!

What is making those lawn divots? I got a number of calls in the last several weeks about lawns that had lots of small divots taken out. One location had an area about 5 feet wide by 30 feet long. The rest of the lawn was untouched. Generally, the lawns recover fully. Skunks or raccoons are the perps. They are looking for juicy crane fly and/or cutworm larvae to fatten up for winter.

The animals move fast and aerate your lawn as they grab the grub. Both animal species do their best work at night and generally don’t make a sound or, in the case of skunks, leave a scent. You can also see robins, Steller’s jays, crows, flickers, starlings and other birds looking for the same meal. They don’t rip anything up, but rather use their sharp beaks to spear the larvae. All are providing good biological control, for free!

Warm, wet fall weather can set up fruit disease. Consider spraying, if we get a stretch of dry days, copper on apples, pears, peaches, cherries and blueberries. This may help reduce disease problems next spring.

Chip Bubl works at the OSU Extension/Columbia County. Call 503 397-3462, or email chip.bulb@oregonstate.edu. To reach the Curry County 4-H Extension Services, call 541-247-6672.

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