Posts Tagged ‘squirrels’

Carol Cloud Bailey: Scout your landscape for pests, other concerns

Walk your space every day or two and inspect garden and landscape plants.

Look for pest problems, irrigation needs and changes in plant growth. Take a small notebook, clipboard or digital voice recorder to save your thoughts and observations.

Called scouting, it is the key to integrated pest management.By catching problems when they are small and manageable, control maybe easier and involve less toxic methods. Besides, it’s a great way to take a few minutes for yourself to enjoy your garden.

Less than 1 percent of insects are pests that damage plants, carry disease, weaken structures, or annoy humans and domestic animals.

Before reaching for the spray can or two bricks for smashing make sure the critter is not a beneficial insect.

Some of the common “good guys” that visit Florida gardens include assassin bugs, lacewings, earwigs, big-eyed bugs and spiders.

The most effective way to keep birds, squirrels, raccoons and other fruit-stealing critters away from veggie gardens and ripening fruit on trees is the use of mesh garden nets. Several other strategies to scare away those who want to share your harvest include inflatable owls, rubber snakes and a string of clattering CDs or pie pans; none of these tactics has proved very effective though all deliver some results if moved or changed every day or two.

Spiders are a good thing in the garden. Most spiders will eat many different types of prey, including some insects. Spiders are arachnids and differ from insects; they have four pairs of legs instead of three, no antennae and two body regions— insects have three — and spider mouthparts function vertically.

Dr. Philip C. Anderson, a physician and medical researcher who has worked on brown recluse bites and venom for 40 years, once commented, “In general, spiders attempt to avoid people. People should accommodate them.”

Garden program

Amy Dahan will discuss “How to Create a Healthy Community of Plants and Wildlife in Your Backyard” at the April 5 meeting of the Martin County Chapterof the Florida Native Plant Society.

Dahan is director of Heathcote Botanical Gardens in Fort Pierce. The meeting will be at 7 p.m. at the Environmental Studies Center, 2900 Indian River Drive, Jensen Beach.

For more information, contact Marge Gasser at 772-283-1379 or


“Happiness is a butterfly, which, when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.”

— Nathaniel Hawthorne

Carol Cloud Bailey