- Author: Belinda Messenger-Sikes
During the holiday season, the only creatures you want stirring in your home are your family, friends, and pets. But as temperatures drop, and the rain returns, some pests may seek shelter indoors with you. Rats and mice can be problems all year but in the cold weather, they prefer the warmth of your home to being outdoors and you might see more in your home.
Pests invade homes for varying reasons during autumn and winter. Common outdoor species such as Argentine ants, Oriental (or Turkestan) cockroaches, sowbugs and pillbugs, springtails, and earwigs, may simply be escaping harsh conditions such as freezing temperatures or small-scale flooding. Some insects, especially true bugs (Hemiptera); such as boxelder bug, bordered plant...
With the cooler weather, gardening tasks may be slowing down some, but there are still plenty of things to do in the garden and landscape in the fall and winter months. Here are a few things to think about as you head into the next planting season. Follow the list to reduce future pest problems and have healthier plants.
- Pull out annual plants that have reached the end of their growing season, such as tomatoes, squashes, and peppers.
- Remove and clean up old fruit and nuts in and under trees to avoid harboring pests and diseases.
- Remove fallen leaves from beneath deciduous fruit trees and roses.
- After cleaning up, add...
- Author: Elaine Lander
Mistletoe is a familiar sight of the season, often found wrapped in ribbon and hung for certain festivities this time of year. But did you know it is actually a parasitic plant that grows on a number of landscape trees in California?
There are two types of mistletoe in California. Broadleaf mistletoes attack certain broadleaf trees and some conifers while dwarf mistletoes attacks only conifers. Broadleaf mistletoes have green stems with thick, oval leaves. Dwarf mistletoes are smaller, with short stems and yellow scaly leaves.
Both types of mistletoe grow through tree bark and into the tree's tissue, living off the host tree. Healthy trees can typically tolerate a few mistletoe infections although individual branches may...
Days are getting shorter and evenings cooler as winter approaches. Sweater weather also means a change in the to-do list around the yard.
Here are a few things to consider when preparing your landscapes and gardens for winter.
- Protect sensitive plants from cold injury when freezing or frost is predicted. Cover plants with cloth or a similar material at night, leaving the covers open at the bottom so heat from soil can help warm plants.
- When frost or freezing is expected, irrigate dry topsoil at least 3 days before the cold weather to increase the soil's ability to retain...
Are you surprised to see aphids on some of your plants this time of year? With the current mild temperatures in California, aphids may continue living and reproducing in some locations this winter, with female adults giving birth to live young every day.
Low to moderate numbers of aphids aren't usually damaging, but allowing them to continue reproducing on your plants may mean more aphids this spring. Once aphid populations explode in spring, their feeding can turn leaves yellow and stunt shoots on certain plants. Aphids can also produce a great deal of honeydew, a sticky byproduct of their feeding.
For information on how to manage aphids in many situations, consult the