Pascual Hernandez
Pascual Hernandez

Finishing up the growing season also has its chores. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Planting & Pruning.

November through February is a good time to plant trees and shrubs. And, don’t spare the pruning shears when transplanting bare-rooted woody plants. Cut the tops back at least one-third to one-half, to compensate for the roots lost when digging the plant.

Late December through February is usually the best time to prune trees. You might consider using a pruning paint on the cut surface.

Be on the Lookout:

Don’t forget to irrigate your trees once a month if it gets dry this winter.

Drain and store garden hoses and watering equipment in a readily accessible location. All hoses connected to the outside hose connection should be detached, drained, and stored away during the Winter. Leaving hoses connected with water inside of them will cause the hoses to freeze and split.

Mowers and power tools that use fuel also need attention. Pay attention to manufacturer recommendations. Why?

Some recommend draining the fuel and running the engine until fuel in the carburetor is used up. This is to prevent gummy residue buildup.

Other manufacturers support using fuel stabilizers: The recommendation is to fill your tank with fresh, stabilized fuel. Then run the engine for a couple of minutes. This gets the stabilized fuel into the carburetor and fuel lines. The contention is that if the tank is empty, moisture will condense and contaminate fuel.

The last tip deals with pharaoh ants, also known as sugar ants. They are tiny, orange-colored ants that may become a nuisance in homes. Colonies like to locate in warm areas near food and water, so they are usually found in kitchen or bathroom areas.

Mating takes place within the colony and the colony spreads by “budding”. “Budding” is when a queen and many worker ants leave the parent colony to create a new colony. The ants can also “bud” and create a new queen from brood (eggs, larvae, pupae) if they are separated from the parent colony.

Due to budding, it is best to use ant baits to manage pharaoh ants. If pesticides are used, it stimulates budding of the colony and creates more colonies. Baits should be placed where ants are trailing to food and water sources. It is best to reduce other available food so that the ants will more readily take the bait product. If ants are trailing, do not wipe away the trail. Instead, place bait on the trail for the ants to find quickly.

For more information, contact the Sutton County Extension Office