Fall fire ant control

Fall fire ant control

Early fall is a good time to tackle fire ant problems, when temperatures are between 70 F and 85 F. Control with drench treatments is more difficult to accomplish during hot summer months. This N.C. Cooperative Extension Service Web page, www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/ent/notes/Urban/ifa.htm, provides a comprehensive overview of the imported red fire ant, including advice on chemical and non-chemical controls. Apply insecticides only when and where they are needed. Because fire ants spread, it's a good idea to collaborate with neighbors if you plan to implement control strategies.

Hort Shorts

  • Plant daffodils, crocus, tulips, hyacinths and other spring-blooming bulbs through December. The optimal planting time is when the soil temperature at the planting depth has dropped below 60 F. Good drainage is essential for spring-flowering bulbs. Amend clay or heavy soils with organic matter.
  • Bedding annuals such as impatiens, begonias and coleus may be dug and potted, then brought inside to survive the winter. If you lack indoor space for large plants, cut 4- to 6-inch sections of stem and place in water in a small jar, bottle or vase. Pinch blooms and remove any leaves below the water line. When roots form, plant in small pots and keep in a sunny location.
  • Hardiness varies among bulbs such as dahlia, gladiolus, canna lily and elephant ear. Winter survival depends on many factors: the average minimum winter temperatures in your area, the severity of a given winter, the degree of shelter in your garden and the particular species or variety. If in doubt, lift and store. For instructions about hardiness and storage of many types of bulbs, visit www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/hil/hil-8632.html.
  • Remove and destroy the dead foliage from canna lilies after frost to reduce infestation of leaf-roller caterpillars. The pupae of these pests overwinter in the leaves.

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