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May 13, 2013

May is an intense month for gardeners

That glorious stretch of sunny weather we had certainly brought things along quickly. And the recent rains came just in time to support all that new growth.  

It seems like trees burst into leaf in a matter of days, weeds appeared overnight in my garden, and almost everything related to yards and gardens needs to be done right now. May is an intense month for North Country gardeners. So, this week, I’m going to touch on a few different topics.

TICKS

We’re getting pretty used to thinking about ticks in the fall, but they’re out right now, so it’s time to pay attention. Lately I’ve been watching spring woodland wildflowers and bringing ticks home on myself and our dog each time. Get in the habit of checking yourself at least once a day. 

We do have deer ticks here, and we do have Lyme disease, but the ticks need to stay attached for more than 24 hours to transmit the disease. Not all deer ticks carry Lyme disease, and not all ticks are deer ticks. 

This site from University of Rhode Island has a helpful chart for identification: www.tickencounter.org/tick_identification, and you can drop off samples at our office, too. We do not handle the disease side of this problem, only the tick side. 

If you are concerned you may have Lyme disease, by all means contact your physician. One characteristic of this disease is the symptoms go away after a while, making you think you’ve recovered when you haven’t. Check with your doctor if you see any rashes around the bite or feel flu-like symptoms. Not all bites leave the characteristic bull’s-eye rash.

IMPATIENS

Impatiens are one of the most popular bedding plants for shade, but they are being hit by a devastating disease called impatiens downy mildew. The only good news about this disease is it affects only the bedding impatiens, not New Guinea impatiens or any other bedding plant. Even if you start with healthy plants, the spores have become widespread; they persist for years in the soil that your plants may well succumb. As a result, many garden centers are choosing to not sell impatiens this year. There is no effective spray at this point.

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