Hot pepper spray will halt wood-chewing squirrels
Q: I have a question about rabbits. I used to raise them as a child, but never have heard of this before. I also talked to my parents and they had never heard of rabbits doing this, either. My son and his wife live in south Fargo. They think rabb...
Q: I have a question about rabbits. I used to raise them as a child, but never have heard of this before. I also talked to my parents and they had never heard of rabbits doing this, either. My son and his wife live in south Fargo. They think rabbits are eating and/or chewing at the bottom of the wood siding on their home. Do rabbits do this? Thank you so much. (e-mail reference)
A: I doubt that rabbits are the problem. It is more likely that squirrels are the problem. Whatever it is causing the problem, hot pepper spray around the area where they are chewing will bring that habit to a quick halt.
Q: I have a question about boulevard trees. I looked at some tree species and am wondering if a cathedral or triumph elm would be a good choice to plant. Both are supposed to be Dutch elm disease resistant or do you discourage the planting of elms? I haven't found a honeylocust in any of our local greenhouses. I read that their larger branches tend to break in windstorms, which we are quite noted for, so I hesitate to plant that species. I also am looking at a variety of lindens. (Kulm, N.D.)
A: Either elm would be resistant. While I don't discourage planting elm trees, I am not in favor of a wholesale sweep of the landscape being planted with them, either. As long as elms are not a common tree in your area, you should be OK.
Q: We live in southeastern South Dakota. We have four apricot trees, but this is the first year they have produced fruit. We are wondering when to expect the fruit to be fully ripe for picking. (e-mail reference)
A: This is almost like asking when you realized that you had fallen in love. When the fruit looks ripe, but still firm, not soft, is the best time. The fruit will ripen after that at room temperature in a brown paper bag if you want to accelerate the process. If you want to drag the process out for a couple of days, allow the fruit to sit out in the kitchen. Enjoy!
Q: My problem is ants and more ants! I have anthills all over the yard. We have about 4 inches of black dirt in the yard. Under the black dirt are sand, gravel and rocks. I have tried Malathion and Sevin. I do have to admit that the Malathion is old. I have sprayed several times, but the ants are back a day or two later. What is the best pesticide to use and how often do I apply it? So far, the ants are not in the house. (Detroit Lakes, Minn.)
A: Forget commercial insecticides. Make up a soapy solution of garlic or tobacco juice and pour it into their holes. A synthetic insecticide on the market that is safe and effective is permethrin. Another solution is to mix boric acid (borate) with sugar and sprinkle it around the nests. They will pick it up and that will be the end of them. Sprays are more of an annoyance to ants than effective, so give it up and be thankful we don't have fire ants in this part of the country!
Q: I have suckers coming from the base of my maple tree. I did buy Sucker-Stopper RTU, but need some clarification on its use. Do I prune off the suckers and then apply it or apply while they are still connected? Also, I have a Russian olive I keep severely pruned for use as an ornamental tree. There are many suckers that come out along each branch and seem to return as fast as I remove them. Can I spray Sucker-Stopper RTU on the branches? (e-mail reference)
A: Cut off the suckers and then spray the area or surface that you just cut. Same thing goes for the suckers on the branches.