NDSU Extension - Traill County


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Traill County Extension

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Summer Youth Program

Make sure and get your summer youth activity registrations in soon.

The first program happens on Wednesday, June 6.

Bring on the Butterflies!

Would you like to add some excitement to your garden? Invite butterflies! Their delicate wings and fluttering movements are absolutely enchanting.

It’s easy to attract butterflies—simply give them what they want. Start with sunshine. Select a sunny site that is sheltered from our harsh winds. Butterflies love to sunbathe. Create a warm resting spot for them by placing dark rocks in the garden Butterflies will enjoy the freedom of flight once their bodies have warmed to 85 to 100 degrees.

butterflyNext, provide plenty of flowers. Select flowers that make nectar available from spring through fall. Butterflies are attracted to purple, orange, yellow, red and dark pink flowers. Popular choices include blazing star, butterfly bush, phlox, cleome, coneflower, sedum, goldenrod, cosmos, dianthus and zinnia. Don’t forget milkweed—it’s essential for monarchs.

Butterflies need water. Puddles of water provide the hydration and minerals needed for good health and successful breeding. Limit pesticide use to a minimum. Chemicals that kill insect pests will kill butterflies. Spray pests with insecticidal soap. Soaps will not leave residues that threaten butterflies.

Butterflies need a home to raise their young. Grow plants for butterflies to lay eggs upon and for the emerging caterpillars to eat. Popular choices include birch, butterfly bush, oak, hackberry, willow, dill, parsley and hollyhock.

grass mowing  Mowing lawns

 Rain and warm temperatures mean lawns can grow in an exceedingly 
 fast rate. Below are some helpful hints in lawn management:

 Cut your lawn TALL and let the grass clippings FALL.
  A tall turf will:
 • shade the soil and protect it from the heat of summer;
 • develop a deep root system; and
  • reduce weed populations since the tall grass blades smother
  emerging weed seedlings.

Cut your lawn between 2.5 and 3.5 inches.
Tall heights are especially beneficial during summer and for low-maintenance conditions. Follow the “one-third rule.” Avoid removing more than one-third of the grass blade at any time. Cutting too much of the grass will slow its regrowth. It will expose the soil more, which leads to drought stress and the establishment of more weeds. Using this “one-third rule” as a guide, if you kept your lawn at 3 inches, you would cut it when it is no more than 4.5 inches tall. Thus, the timing for mowing your lawn is dependent on its rate of growth. You may need to mow every 5 days in spring, but every 5 weeks in summer.

You don’t need to collect clippings.
Your lawn wants those clippings. The clippings will shade the soil and conserve moisture. The clippings will recycle nutrients to the soil—it is like getting a free fertilization every year. If you mow regularly, clippings will not create a thatch problem. Clippings are mainly water and they will quickly decompose. The exception is when your lawn gets neglected and grows very tall. Excessively tall grass when mowed can gather in clumps on the lawn. This can smother the turf. Tall blades can get more fibrous and become slower to decompose—this can lead to an accumulation of thatch. In these cases it is wise to collect these clippings.

Mow when grass is dry.
This will reduce clumping and help to mulch the grass blades finer.

Use a sharp mower blade.
A sharp blade will make a clean cut. Dull blades will tear the tips of leaf blades. The damaged leaf blades will develop a brown tip. Frayed blades lose water more quickly and become more susceptible to diseases. Depending on how much turf you cut, you may need to sharpen or replace your blade every year.

What Happened to my Tree? Tent Caterpillar Edition

It started by getting a call in the office last week, “Something happened to my tree! The leaves, they were here and now they are almost gone!”

Forest Tent Caterpillar Forest tent caterpillars (Malacosoma disstria) and Eastern tent caterpillars (Malacosoma americanum) are feeding on tree foliage this time of year. The eastern tent caterpillars make the webbed tents in the forks of tree branches, which are used as shelters and resting places. People consider the webbed tents unsightly in trees. The forest tent caterpillar does not make any webbed tents, but they wander around in masses of larvae and crawl over trees, picnic tables, patios, lawns, etc. which people consider extremely objectionable. Fortunately, they do not bite. Large numbers of forest tent caterpillars crushed on roads causes the roadway surfaces to become greasy and slippery. They infest many trees hosts: ash, aspen, basswood, birch, chokecherry, cottonwood, elm, maple, oak, pin cherry, poplar, and other hardwoods.

There is one generation per year for either species. Both overwinter as eggs. Larvae hatch in early spring. For the forest tent caterpillar, the keyhole shaped spots along their backs and broad bluish lateral bands easily identify larvae. For the eastern tent caterpillar, larvae are black and somewhat hairy with a whitish-yellow stripe down the middle of the back, narrow broken orange-colored subdorsal stripes, and lateral white and blue markings. In five to six weeks, the larvae pass through five larval instars and are about 2 inches long. Mature larvae then form silken cocoons to pupate. Adult moths will emerge from cocoons during early summer (late June or early July).

Damage: larvae of both species cause defoliation. Light defoliation has little effect on tree health. Two or more years of moderate-to-severe defoliation by forest tent caterpillar is necessary to affect radial growth and cause branch and twig mortality. When populations of eastern tent caterpillars are high, whole trees can become covered with webbing and defoliated.

Pest Management: Bt (or Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki; Dipel, Thuricide), a natural occurring soil bacterium, works well to control young caterpillars and conserves beneficial insects. Other insecticides available to homeowners include: acephate (Orthene), azadiracthin (Azatin), carbaryl (Sevin), esfenvalerate (Bug-B-Gon), malathion, permethrin, spinosad (Conserve), or other insecticides registered for trees. Always read, understand and follow the insecticide label directions.

Be Safe – Tips for Preventing Tick Bites

Of the several kinds of ticks in North Dakota, the one that is most bothersomeWood Tick
to people and their pets is the American dog tick, also called the wood tick. American dog ticks are most active during spring and early summer, when they can attach themselves to the skin of people or their pets.

Wood ticks are found in large numbers in tall, grassy fields or in areas with dense underbrush. They feed on the blood of rodents and small animals, remaining on the animal for several days before dropping off and laying their eggs.

If you are in the tick-infested area, carefully examine your clothing and body for ticks. Pets should also be checked daily for ticks during the season. Although ticks can "hitchhike" into your home, they cannot successfully reproduce indoors.

To remove a tick that is imbedded in skin, grasp it very close to the skin with tissue paper held in your fingers. Then pull it straight out. The mouth parts are short and should come completely out. Another method is to smother the tick with petroleum jelly. Within 10 to 20 minutes, it should begin to back itself out and you can remove it.

Never try to remove a tick by crushing it in your fingers. The mouth parts may be left in the skin and an infection can occur. Do not use a hot match or cigarette to remove ticks as skin can burn easily.

When you know you will be walking through a tick-infested area, use an insect repellent. Choose a repellent with a high percentage of the active ingredient Deet or use Permanone tick repellent. Apply the repellent on socks, trouser legs and cuffs, shirt sleeves, and other parts of your clothing / that may brush the tall vegetation where ticks concentrate. Do not apply to skin.

Pets should also be protected against ticks. Check with your veterinarian for a recommended product.

Traill County Courthouse


NDSU Extension Service/Traill County
114 Caledonia Ave. W.
Box 730 (mailing address)
Hillsboro, ND 58045
Phone:  701-636-5665   
Fax: 701-636-5666

Office Hours:
8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday
Summer Office Hours:
(Memorial Day - Labor Day)
7 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.,  Monday-Thursday
8 a.m. - Noon, Friday

Related Links:
NDSU Extension Service
North Dakota Department of Agriculture

Traill County
City of Hillsboro
Cities of Mayville-Portland
City of Hatton

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