Gardeners Can't Worm Out Of Spring Chores

April 21, 1991

With spring here, the prudent home gardener has several tasks facinghim.

Following these guidelines can help reduce insect and disease problems later.

Handpick bagworm bags from evergreen shrubs now through early June. These bags contain eggs laid last summer which will hatch into this year's hungry caterpillars. Insecticide sprays now will not affect the eggs in their protective silken bags.

Clean up dead plant debris from around flower and shrub beds. Many insect pests and disease organisms winter over in plant trash. Removing these pests from around the host plant will help break the cycle and reduce the need for chemical sprays.

Tender shoot growth is attractive to aphid infestation. These insects suck sap from the tips of new stems and the main vein of new leaves. Wilted or distorted growth is often the first signof aphid problems. Close inspection will reveal groups of pale greenor yellowish insects with or without wings. Insecticidal soap spraysare effective and safe to use on most plants. But be sure to read the label directions.

The University of Maryland Cooperative Extension Service has a number of home horticulture publications available through the Harford County Office in Forest Hill (or any county office). Office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Mondays through Fridays.

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