FINDING ANSWERS

DEER TICK CONTROL

Q

What product do you recommend to put on your lawn for deer ticks? — via the Internet

A

Ticks need a humid environment to survive, so it makes sense that deer ticks are primarily found in or near deciduous forests that support deer populations. However, they also are prevalent in suburban-edge habitats (the interface between woods and lawns). Fewer ticks are found in open lawns in comparison to wooded areas, ornamental plantings and shaded lawns.

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Several broad-spectrum insecticides such as diazinon, chlorpyrifos and carbaryl, and the pyrethroids, will work (for a complete list, see “Chemical Update: Insecticides,” Grounds Maintenance, February 2002). Also, be sure to keep the lawn mowed fairly short, and if you spray an insecticide, be sure to treat the perimeter of the property, because many — if not most — ticks in lawns get there from adjacent vegetation.

LOCUST BORERS

Q

I have a black locust that's just about completely destroyed by locust borers. Is there any hope? What can you do about locust borers? — via the Internet

A

To control borers, you can take a couple of approaches. The first and more traditional is the preventive approach: to spray the trunk and branches with an insecticide to control adults and young borer larvae before they penetrate the bark. Chemicals labeled for this use (either specifically or, more generically, just for “borers”) include carbaryl (Sevin), permethrin (Astro) and bifenthrin (Talstar).

Several insecticides are available in injectible form, such as active ingredients: abamectin, acephate, dicrotophos, imidacloprid and oxydemeton methyl (see “Chemical Update: Ornamentals,” Grounds Maintenance, May 2002 for trade names). Imidacloprid has proven particularly effective as a trunk injection for long-term borer control, and you can inject it in the soil as well.

Trees already heavily infested may not be salvageable (at least not in any worthwhile form). However, black locusts are vigorous growers, so if a specimen is structurally intact, it should recover well once you bring the infestation under control.

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