What should you do when you notice a hornet’s nest? Mike McGrath host of You Bet Your Garden will explain when it’s safe to take that nest to show and tell; and when that would make you look like Elmer Fudd. Plus answers to all your growing questions.
Question of the Week:
“Dear Mike: I heard somewhere recently that Roundup kills frogs and toads. Is this true? I have poison ivy (or maybe it’s poison oak) on our property. If it’s just one little sprig I pull it out, but for a larger area I had been using Roundup, which I will stop using if it really does harm frogs and toads. But then what do I do?”
— Gwen in Newtown, PA “
Highlights from show:
David in Middletown Township grew up in the pines and never saw leaves as nutrients for his garden, but realized he could use leaves in his garden if he composted them correctly. He wants to know what to do with drums he has from his event business in order to have a successful composting process over winter. Should he drill holes on the side? Mike suggests shredding the leaves and definitely using a leaf blower that has avacuum setting, because it shreds as it is taken up into a collection bag. He says shredding them accelerates the the composting process and makes the leaves safe. Mike also suggests leaving the lids off of the drums, because with more air holes it’ll compost faster. He advises once he makes a unit to leave the compost alone and to not add anything else the pile.
Lyn in Southampton, Pa established a wonderful raspberry bush years ago that has early and late crops. She’d always prune them in March as recommended on the YBYG site. However, this fall her lawn care guys wanted to be helpful without her permission and pruned them to a height of 8in in late November. Now she’s worried they may be really damaged and simply wants to know what the long term effects may be. Mike says she’s lucky because it’s really hard to damage raspberry bushes unless you have poor drainage. He says it won’t harm them at all, but still unfortunate that they cut them so low.
Plastic Tubes and Trees
Stephanie from West Chester, Pa has a son that is on the Robotics Team at school and they are working on a class project to keep the neighborhood clean and green by planting trees in the community protected by plastic tubes. He says the problem is that these plastic tubes add to the unwanted trash in our rivers and streams and wants to find an alternative to using the plastic tubes. Since the tubes already exist Mike recommends simply re-using them to keep them out of landfills, etc.. Mike says to monkey with them, and simply take the tubes off and re-use them over and over again. He recommends cutting more holes in the tubes to allow more airflow.
When to Mulch
Kiera from Absecon, NJ just put in a native plant garden in her yard and was struggling this fall with when she should mulch her garden with shredded leaves. Mike recommends waiting till the first freeze, but we had such a warm fall that she would have been waiting a long time. Mike says to just put them down when you are ready in a situation like we had this fall. Mike says the native plants are great, but keep them mulched.
Rose Bush in Winter
Linda in Anderson, Indiana has a rose bush in a pot since she recently moved. The rose has been doing fine, but she’s worried about what to do with it for the winter. Should she bury her rose in the ground? Mike advises her to put the rose back into the ground still in the pot just to get the root system back under the soil line. He says she could eventually kill it in the pot, but in the spring she should plant it in a place where the sunlight is best and make sure to flare out the roots when you plant it.