Editor’s note: Kelly R. Jackson’s Garden Corner column is taking on a new format. He now takes questions called into his phone recently at the Christian County Extension Office and answers them in the column.
Question. Does it matter what kind of gas I use in my lawn equipment?
Answer. According to the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute fuels containing greater than 10 percent ethanol can damage or destroy outdoor power equipment, including lawn mowers, chain saws, utility vehicles and other small engine equipment.
By Federal law, it is illegal to use gasoline with anything higher than 10 percent ethanol in outdoor power equipment.
However, most consumers use the least expensive gasoline grade whenever possible regardless of the percentage. Why it might save you a few cents at the pump, it can likely cost you more dollars in small engine repairs.
Q. How effective are the mosquito-repellent plants or the ultrasonic devices I’ve seen at repelling mosquitoes?
A. Short answer — not very. The portable electronic devices sold in magazines that claim to repel mosquitoes by mimicking the wing beat of a hungry dragonfly have been proven in studies to be of a negligible benefit in reducing bites.
The mosquito-repellent plants, garlic and other advertised botanical products also are generally ineffective.
Citronella oil sold in scented candles can provide some protection if several candles are used within a few feet of where people are sitting.
“Bug zappers” do not kill anything other than moths, beetles, and other harmless night flying insects.
And the mosquito traps that utilize carbon dioxide, warmth, light and various chemicals as attractants seldom have been shown to reduce mosquito populations; and in some situations, could attract more mosquitos to the area. What should you use? Repellents containing DEET, picaridin or lemon eucalyptus oil provides relief from mosquitoes and helps prevent bites when spending time outdoors.
But the biggest help will be to eliminate breeding sites from your property. The Asian tiger mosquito is one of the most common mosquitoes around the home and it tends to stay within 300 feet of its breeding site.
So homeowners can do a lot on their property by eliminating standing or trapped water. Drain water from buckets, clogged gutters, pet dishes, flowerpot bases and any other sites that hold water.
Q. I lose my peaches every year to a rot. How do I treat for that?
A. Abundant rainfall and warm temperatures often leads to brown rot on stone fruits like peaches, plums and cherry.
This disease can occur anytime during fruit develop but fruit is more susceptible as it matures.
To manage brown rot, control must begin in the spring at petal fall with fungicide sprays of captan or chlorothalonil.
You can also reduce disease pressure by removing infected fruit from the tree and any that fall on the ground, pruning the tree to allow for more airflow, and cutting out any blighted twigs from the previous season. Early season management is the key to less rot in summer.
Kelly R. Jackson is the Christian County Extension Agent for horticulture. He can be reached at 270-886-6328 or visit Christian County Horticulture online at www.christiancountyextension.com.