Around the Home and Farm

Last updated: July 19. 2014 12:48AM - 491 Views
By Jerry Mahan

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I have used this picture depicting the potential absorption of pesticides by the human body or one like it many times in my career as Ext. Educator to help farmers, gardeners and others who deal with pesticides understand the danger involved if proper precautions are not taken when handling or applying pesticides.

Picture yourself on a hot summer day applying a pesticide to a fruit tree, lawn, or a growing crop like corn. When you perspire it is normal to wipe your forehead or face with a shirt sleeve or use your forearm to remove the moisture.

Wait; now you have to go the bathroom and you do so without washing your hands. Look again at the picture and note the areas of your body which will absorb the most pesticide. What are your chances of getting exposed to a pesticide without thinking? There is a lot of information on pesticide labels for our use if we read them.

This picture was taken from the 2008 National Pesticide Applicator Core Manual. Several universities including Nebraska have done similar studies.

Senate Bill 150 signed into law

In May Governor John Kasich signed into law Senate Bill 150 which establishes training requirements for farmers who apply commercial fertilizer to more than 50 acres of land. Specifically one farmer from a farming operation will need to be certified by the Ohio Dept. of Agriculture on proper application of commercial fertilizer by 2017 when the law goes into effect.

The law is one attempt to help minimize the amount of phosphorus going into our lakes and streams which contributes to algal blooms. Once certified the law also gives certified farmers an affirmative defense related to fertilizer application.

They are back!

I noticed my first Japanese beetle the week of July 4th but they were few in number. These insects love to feed on many plants including roses, linden trees, and grapes as well as corn silk and soybeans to name a few.

The adult form of the insect has a metallic green color and is about 3/8 inch long. They came out of the soil a few days ago after spending most of their life as a grub worm feeding on the roots of grass. They especially like the roots of Kentucky bluegrass, Perennial Ryegrass and fescue.

The adult Japanese beetles will mate and lay eggs usually through mid-august and die. The life process starts over with the newly hatched eggs feeding on the roots of grass until the soil temperatures cool and the insects go deeper in the soil.

August and early Sept. is the time we commonly see some turfgrass areas die from the feeding of these insects and one can often “roll” the turf back where feeding has occurred and the grass roots killed. Interestingly this insect will lay their eggs in the greenest grass. This gives their eggs the best chance of survival.

Control of the beetles on landscape plants can be accomplished through the use of a can of soapy water ( if you have a few insects) and your time to knock them into the can. Products containing sevin among others can work well but follow label instructions.

If you find more than 6-8 grubs-square foot in your lawn treatment may be required to prevent further damage. Many of the better grubworm control products like Bayer Season Long Grub Control contain Merit (imidachloprid); GrubEx contains chlorantraniliprole while other grub control products may contain the active ingredient clothianidin, or halofenozide.

Good control can be obtained with these products through early Sept. according to research done by OSU. It is important that these products be watered in after application with at least 3/8 -1/2 inch of water to get the material into the soil. Always follow label instructions.

Beetle traps are not recommended as they work like “honey” by attracting more Japanese beetles to your property. If you must use them place the traps as far away from plants you want to protect. Neither is Milky Spore Disease recommended by OSU as our climate gets too warm for the disease to live in the soil and kill the grubs.

For more information on this insect log on to the OSU Ext. factsheet 2001 titled “Control Of Japanese Beetles & Grubs in Home Lawns”: http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/2000/2001.html.

Raising Christmas trees

A long awaited update of the Ext. Christmas Tree bulletin titled “Ohio Christmas Tree Grower’s Manual” is now available. Topics covered include soil basics, planting, weed, insect and disease control, marketing, wildlife control, and shearing. Cost of the bulletin is around $48 and you can contact the local Extension office for a copy.

There has been an upswing in the purchase of live trees in Ohio in recent years and this might be an opportunity for you if you have the land to grow them and the interest.

Farm Forum Picnic - Sept. 13

Mark your calendar for the Greene Co. Farm Forum Picnic on Sept. 13 in the evening at the Greene Co. Career Center’s Agriculture Research Center at 551 Brush Row Road, Xenia. This is the primary fundraiser for funding scholarships for students going into an agriculture related field. More information to follow.

Jerry Mahan is a retired OSU Extension Educator Agriculture and Natural Resources and Community Development for Greene County. He can be reached by email at: mahan.2@att.net.

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