By Darrell Blackwelder
For Farm Carolina
SALISBURY - Generally, September is a slow month for consumer gardening questions, but Cooperative Extension still receives a variety of gardening questions, especially with the rainy weather. Below are a few inquiries from homeowners that some of you may have pondered.
Q: There are quite a few shiny black wasps hovering over my lawn. What are these wasps doing? Are they dangerous; will they sting?
A: These are large hunting wasps or scoliid wasps. They look intimidating, but are harmless to you unless you grab one. Adults hover over lawns in search of food for their young. They feed on grubs in the soil, primarily green June beetle larvae. If there are enough of these wasps in your yard, they can help reduce the numbers of grubs in your lawn, providing natural control of pests. For more detailed information, go to http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/ent/notes/O&T/lawn/note12/note12.html
Q: I cannot get my spinach to germinate in the garden. I have no problem with turnips or collard greens. I planted them a few weeks ago and it seems like a few are trying to germinate now. What did I do wrong?
A: Unlike turnips or collards, spinach is very exacting in both soils and temperatures. You probably planted the seed when it was too hot, which prevented good germination. Have your soil tested. Spinach likes very fertile, well drained soils. Go to http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/hil/hil-17.html for more complete information about the vegetable.
Q: I have this yellow-brown growth that has appeared in my mulch. What is this and how do I control it?
A: What you have is actually a slime mold that is referred to as "dog vomit slime." The fungus usually appears in late summer following a heavy rain such as we've had over the past few days. Slime molds are usually found growing in heavily mulched areas near homes and office buildings. The colorful growth occurs when the mold is beginning its fruiting stage. There is no viable method of controlling the mold. It generally disappears in a few days.
Q: Is now the best time to kill Bermuda grass?
A: Yes, but hurry. Bermuda grass is best killed when the grass is actively growing in the heat of the summer. Bermuda grass grows best at 100 degrees. We may still have a few days that may approach that mark. Once temperatures reach the 60s in the day it becomes difficult to kill this grass. Glyphosate is a systemic herbicide that requires the plant to be actively growing.
Darrell Blackwelder is an agricultural agent in charge of horticulture with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County. Call 704-216-8970.