Brrr, it's cold outside, but there are always questions for Ask an Expert, an online question and answer tool from the Oregon State University Extension Service. The OSU Extension faculty and Master Gardeners respond to inquiries within two business days, generally less. To ask a question, simply go to OSU extension website and write a question and the county where you live. Here are some questions asked by other gardeners. What's yours?
Q: There are quite a few varieties of mushrooms that grow in my garden. Is it possible to stop its growth? Do fungicides work? Vinegar? My 7-month-old puppy ate a seemingly toxic one (attached photos) and spent a day in the ICU at the emergency veterinarian. What kind of fungus did my dog eat? – Washington County
A: They look like a kind of Russula. It is symbiotic with tree roots and is beneficial for trees. There are many species and they require a microscope to distinguish species. I don't think vinegar works. Fungicides are very specific for certain fungal groups and may not work in this particular fungus. It may be better to be alert and eliminate fungi as they arise. – Steve Carpenter, mushroom specialist
Q: I have an infestation of boxelder bugs. This fall and last fall they made a home under the bark on the south side of my old Douglas fir trees. I worry about damage to trees, there are thousands of them. I'm using spray soap to try to control them. On the Internet I get mixing ratios from 2 teaspoons of dishwashing soap to a gallon of water, from 1 part of soap to 2 parts of water. What proportion do you recommend? – Washington County
A: Fortunately, although bed bugs are a definite nuisance at this time of year, they do not harm plants, including trees. Insects have completed their life cycle, do not eat or reproduce and just look for a nice and warm dry space to spend the winter. Its Douglas fir trees provide a warm and protective surface. Insects can enter cracks in the bark, but they will not dig or gnaw the bark. Bed bugs feed on maples during the summer, but they don't feed now. You can tear them down from the fir surfaces, but as long as that surface is hot, they will congregate there. They also tend to congregate on the warm building surfaces of the south and west, and can enter the houses. If that happens, probably the best strategy is to vacuum them and throw them away. Bed bugs will disappear when the weather gets cold enough. This article has additional information, Box Elder Bugs. – Anne Schmidt
Q: We would like to build a grass tennis court. We have a beautiful flat space, complete with double mountain views. Can you help guide us to a resource that teaches us what we must do to make this happen? – Hood River County
A: The construction of a lawn tennis court requires someone with special knowledge on how to build sports fields or golf courses, and also knows the correct grass species for planting. A grass court requires a sand base with drainage using the correct type of sand (mason sand will not drain).
You should also buy a reel mower, probably a green lawnmower to mow enough to play tennis and get the correct soft bounce (0.3 – 0.5 inches). You should mow the lawn a minimum of three days a week during the growing season. Again, these mowers cost between $ 8,000 and $ 10,000 more, but you can reasonably buy used ones. Or if you limit your cutting height, you could probably use a McLane trimmer, which costs about $ 1,500 new. Reel cutters need specialized equipment to sharpen: an electric motor (to rotate the reel backwards) and a compound to lap back, which is like a thick sandpaper paint. They can be purchased at RMT Equipment. If you can find a golf course near you, they can sharpen it if you can be kind to the mechanic or pay him something.
Maintenance will be a challenge, since you should water it lightly every day during the summer to keep the surface firm and the lawn healthy enough to survive wear. If you apply too much water, the grass will be less tolerant to wear. In addition, you should apply a sand coating to keep the surface smooth (which dulls the lawnmower, so it must be sharpened frequently), fertilize it frequently and you may need to apply fungicides during the spring to keep diseases at bay .
There are three companies in Oregon that have that experience in a particular order:
Milroy Golf Systems: recently completed the renovation of the Trysting Tree golf course in Corvallis. Search the phone number online. The owner is James Milroy.
Pacific sports lawn
Brian McDonald, OSU lawn extension specialist
Take out the welcome mat for birds this winter
Will these seeds grow? How to know before planting
5 ways to make your garden more sustainable
How to control rebel raspberries
Will the grass grow in this soaked place?
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