Why Are Ladybugs In My House During the Winter?
Have you ever wondered why you find ladybugs in your home during the winter? They seek warmth to hibernate during the cold winter months. They come in through small cracks along window sills, doorways and under clap boards. Ladybugs gather in groups when they hibernate, so if you don’t repair/seal their entrance ways, you are more than likely going to see more. They prefer humidity but homes are usually dry during the winter so if you’ve ever found a ladybug dried up and dead, it’s because of dehydration.
How To Remove Lady Bugs Without Killing Them
A good way to get rid of them and allow them to live (because let’s face it, they are harmless and pretty) is to use a clean shop vacuum (it will not harm them) and put a clean cloth inside to catch them. Take them outside and release them. Save a ladybug today!
Three fun facts about Ladybugs
- The bright colors on a ladybugs back is to warn predators to stay away
- Contrary to popular belief, you can’t tell a ladybug’s age by counting its spots
- Ladybugs eat aphids!
More Lawn Care Posts
Winter Treatments for Spring Lawn Insects
Question of the Week – Lawn Insects in the Winter
What Happens To Your Lawn During The Winter?
At Virginia Green Lawn Care we get questions daily from our customers regarding watering. “How much should I water?” “When is the best time to water my lawn and landscaping?” But the most important question this time of year is, “when should I shut off my irrigation system for the year?”
As you know, fall is the best time to plant seed in our area, and newly planted seed needs to be watered. Virginia Green suggests scheduling an appointment with your irrigation company for late November, to have them winterize your irrigation system. This timing will allow you to continue to water your lawn and landscape, in the absence of rainfall.
Virginia Green does not work on irrigation systems, but we do have partner companies that we recommend. If you need assistance with your irrigation system, and do not have a company that you use, please visit our website for information at http://www.virginiagreenlawncare.com/partners/
George F., from Ashland asked, “Why are there so many acorns?”
We have been bombarded by acorns over the last week. Not just a few, but hundreds and hundreds of nuts. The weather was perfect for oaks were in bloom in 2016. As such, we’ve had an unusually high set for acorns in 2016. The high winds this past weekend resulted in lots of acorns dropping. Some people describe them as sounding like gun shots on their roofs.
Acorns are a tree nut from oak trees. Each acorn contains a seed, or sometimes two, and is covered by a hard shell. Acorns are a great food source for deer so maybe, on the good side, they will leave some of the plant material alone in the landscape this fall. Squirrels also like acorns and can do damage to your lawn by digging holes to bury them.
Acorns aren’t generally bad for your lawn. If left in place for an extended period of time they can cause decline by blocking out sunlight. Most of the time, the acorns are damaged by mowing and never have the opportunity to do much damage. The same is true in the event that an acorn actually sprouts. Once the sapling oak is cut by a mower blade, it will not grow back.
If you have an unusually high accumulation of acorns on your property, you may need to remove some. A strong lawn vacuum will work just as good as raking. The latter will require a bit more labor and elbow grease. Ideally you don’t want to rake too hard as you can damage your existing turf.
“Why do my compacta hollies have dead spots in them?” – Louis K., Charlottesville
Well Louis, it’s called Black Root Rot. Black Root Rot is a soil inhabiting fungus that can cause root rot and branch dieback on a number of woody and herbaceous plants including holly, rhododendron, boxwood, begonia, geranium, poinsettia, and pansy. The damage can appear as softball to basketball sized dead or dying areas in the plant. You may also notice the interior foliage color changing to hues of yellow, brown, or black. Most of the susceptible species that were previously listed grow favorably in cool, moist, well-draining soils which prevent the fungus from developing. However, in your area those conditions can be a challenge to duplicate because of poorly draining soils. Because the pathogen is soil borne, most fungicides are not effective. TLC is the best practice for preventing this disease. When choosing a site for susceptible plants, ensure that the soil is well draining. This fungus thrives in saturated soils, so watering properly is very important.
I have noticed that quite a few trees appear to be dropping their leaves early this year. We have a maple tree in our yard that has dropped almost half its leaves while another maple next to it looks fine. If you have trees that are shedding their leaves early, you may be wondering what is causing the problem and will it harm the tree?
Some trees are just not suited to our hot summers. Trees like ornamental cherries will, typically, drop their leaves during the summer due to heat. If you go to the mountains, these same trees will still have their leaves because of the cooler climate.
Another reason trees drop their leaves early is drought stress. We have had a couple of dry periods this summer which can put considerable stress on area trees. Mulching and deep watering will prevent the tree from being stressed in dry years.
Will early leaf drop damage the tree? If the premature defoliation is a rare occurrence, the tree should survive with no problems. However, early leaf drop that occurs year after year may ultimately weaken the tree and reduce tree survival.
Trees drop their leaves early for a variety of reasons. Leaves that have been infested with insects or diseases will, often, drop early. The maple in my yard has disease tar spot, which is causing the leaves to drop now. Pests like scales, mites and white flies can also cause early defoliation. Call our office for a FREE landscape inspection.
David M. from Charlottesville asked, “My neighbor said my trees are infested with armor scales. Can you tell me what that is?”
Armor scales are one of the many pests that damage our landscapes. They don’t get much notice themselves because they don’t look like normal insects. Most are flat or may look like a tiny wart on the twig, leaf or fruit of the susceptible plant. However the damage that they cause in high populations is very noticeable. They cause this damage by sticking their tiny mouthparts into the plant and sucking out the juices. This feeding interrupts the natural flow of water and nutrients in the plant. The damage that you’ll see from an armor scale population can be wilted or yellow leaves that drop prematurely. You will also notice dieback in the limbs of the tree and a general decline over a couple of seasons, depending upon how severe of an infestation is present. Armor scale or hard scale, is a generalization as there are many different species of scale that fall into this group. The name “armor scale” is derived because of the insect’s hard waxy cover that protect it from predators, and most insecticides. Because of their waxy cover, timing is critical when trying to control an armor scale population. Here at Virginia Green Lawn Care we use Horticultural oil to control this particular pest. We time these applications to catch the scale when it is in a crawler stage and has not yet developed its armor. If you think that you have a problem with these insects, or have any other questions, please feel free to call us.
“What’s that white powdery stuff on my crape myrtle?” It’s confectionery sugar. It’s talcum powder. No, it’s powdery mildew.
What is powdery mildew? It is a fungal disease that attacks some trees and shrubs in our landscape. It is fungal spores that typically appear on new growth shoots, mature leaves and sometimes flowers. Infected parts of the plant may become distorted and fall off early. It appears when the temperatures rise above 60 degrees, it becomes more humid.
What are some of the plants that powdery mildew prefers? It can be found on lilacs, crape myrtles, magnolias and dogwoods to name a few. We typically see it in these plants in late spring to midsummer as the plants are actively growing and flowering.
What can I do about it? In some cases it only makes the plant unattractive, while in others it can cause distortion, flower and/or leaf loss or even death of the plant in a few cases.
Here at Virginia Green, we start treating these plants in the spring and thru the active growing season. To help prevent the return of the disease, homeowners can make sure they cleanup all fallen leaves and dispose of them properly.
So, if you were wondering about what that white powder is on your tree or shrub’s leaves or flower buds, rest assured that it is not from the powder from a donut. Instead it is a fungal disease that we at Virginia Green can treat for you.
“While mowing my lawn this weekend I saw some mushrooms. Why are they there and what do I need to do?”
This is a fairly common question posed to Virginia Green Lawn Care, and with all of the moisture we have been seeing in our area, mushrooms are popping up. Mushrooms appear when something in the soil is decomposing and breaking down, such as a tree limb or stump. When you have the right mix of moisture, shade or cloudy weather, and organic material in the soil, mushrooms can appear.
The good news is that they are not harmful to the lawn, and they do not require treatment. As you mow regularly you will see the mushrooms disappear. Also, mushrooms like shade, so trimming back some branches on nearby trees or shrubs will provide extra sunlight, keeping mushrooms in check.
If you have questions about your lawn call our office at (804)285-6200 in the Richmond area, (757)258-1788 for the Williamsburg area, and (434)975-0100 if you live in the Charlottesville area. Our associates will be happy to assist you.
May was certainly a wet month. The recent showers along with cool temperatures have been bringing anthracnose to flowering dogwoods.
What is dogwood anthracnose? It is a serious fungal disease that attacks flowering dogwoods in cool wet weather when leaves are present. Drought and winter injury weaken the tree and make it more susceptible to the anthracnose. It has been found that consecutive years of severe infections can lead to death of the tree.
The signs and symptoms of anthracnose can be seen on the leaves, flowers, twigs, branches and trunk. The leaves will have irregular tan spots with purple rims. They become distorted as the disease grows. The leaves on the lower branches are infected first, and it climbs up through the tree. Twigs and the trunks are infected with cankers as the disease spreads throughout the tree.
Control of the dogwood anthracnose starts with maintaining a healthy tree. Proper fertilization and watering will help the tree protect itself from the disease. Mulching helps to maintain moisture, and protecting the trunk from mechanical injury. Avoid overhead irrigation of the dogwood tree. This makes the tree more susceptible to the disease.
If you think your plants are being affected by anthracnose, give Virginia Green a call today and we will come give you a FREE landscape inspection.
A nice fescue lawn requires some work, and one factor not to be overlooked is the control of white grubs. Damage from grubs can result from grubs feeding on the roots of the grass. June is the best month to apply grub control.
A Grub’s Life Cycle
Most white grubs have similar life cycles. The adults (beetles) are generally present for about a month in the summer. When the beetles are observed, it provides a bit of an early warning they may be laying eggs in nearby turf which can be subsequently infested with white grubs (the larvae of these beetles).
The larvae feed the rest of the summer and in early fall, go deep in the soil to overwinter, feed awhile in the spring, and then complete development into adult beetles in late spring.
Prevention of Grub Damage Saves Money
Luckily, Virginia Green offers an application that will fight the grub population. Repairing damage from grubs, or mammals feeding on grubs, is very expensive (sod or aeration and seeding). Protect your turf before it is too late and sign up for this control now.
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