NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

November 20, 2013

Tim's Tips: Keep up with watering, mowing

This week, I have some odds and ends of things to do and things to consider doing in your yard.

I noticed the other morning that there was a moth working its way up the trunk of a tree near the front door of the house. Once I saw it, I knew it was the winter moth. The winter moth is the adult form of the caterpillar that has been doing extensive damage to many of the trees each April.

The male and female moths mate at this time of the year, and the female lays eggs on the trunk and branches of your trees. Come spring, the eggs hatch and the caterpillars begin to devour the leaves of your trees.

There is some hope that spraying the trees with horticultural oil in the very early spring will help kill the eggs of this caterpillar. There are also a host of insecticides that you can spray on the leaves of the trees as the new leaves emerge in the spring.

If you see moths fluttering around the outside lights or windows of your home at night, make a note to treat your trees in the spring.

We had some rain on Sunday night and into Monday morning. However, the amount of rain we received may not have been enough to get water down to the roots of your plants.

We have had a very dry fall, and unfortunately, plants take up water in the fall to help them to get through the winter. You should be watering your evergreen plants each week right up until the time the ground freezes. Rhododendrons, azaleas, hollies, boxwood and other broadleaf evergreens are particularly at risk for damage from dry winter winds if they do not get sufficient water in the fall. You can also help to prevent damage to these plants by spraying the leaves with an anti-desiccant spray while the temperatures are still above 40 degrees.

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