Don't assume the ants are villians. 7-27-06
QUESTION: We are new to taking care of trees and yards. Our oak trees are dying, and we're guessing the problem is ants. I read on your Web site that pests attack because a tree is unhealthy. Is there something we can do quickly to save the trees while we get started on an organic program? G.C., Eastland
ANSWER: You are correct: Some insects attack trees that are in stress. Ants, however, aren't in that category. Fire ants will eat some food crops, and Texas leaf cutter ants will take leaves to make compost. But other ants are mostly beneficial. Use my Sick Tree Treatment to help the trees and other plants on your property.
QUESTION: After spending more than $4,000 trying to make our Reveille grass grow, we have given up and are taking it out. We've decided to grow a little St. Augustine and plant the rest of the yard with decorative grass and shrubs. We have two trees, a crape myrtle and an oak. We want to add earthworms and hydrogen peroxide to loosen the soil. We plan to use a vinegar spray to kill all the weed grass that may be coming up after we took out the sod. How close to the base of the trees can we come with the spray? > R.T., Dallas
ANSWER: It's too bad the Reveille hybrid bluegrass didn't work. The weather is probably too hot. A hydrogen peroxide spray will help the soil, but something such as Medina Soil Activator would do more good. If you use hydrogen peroxide, add it to compost tea or Garrett Juice for best results. A vinegar herbicide can be sprayed right up to the trunks of the trees.That's one reason we like it. And if you improve the soil with organic amendments, earthworms > eventually will come.
QUESTION: Our yard is infested with gnats. It is difficult to be > outside without a cloud of bugs hanging over you, especially at dusk. They also come into the house if windows are open after dark. Is there any way to control them? S.S., Bailey, N.C.
ANSWER: Gnats are not harmful, just a nuisance. Spray them with garlic-pepper tea or a plant-oil product called Bioganics, if necessary.