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This summer, there’s a new contender for “Most Dangerous Tick Bourne Illness.”

 

tick-alert

Winter is gone and spring is finally here. The flowers are popping up and you and your loved ones are back in the great outdoors. But, before you pop on a bathing suit and start running through the sprinkler, there’s a dangerous new tick borne disease that you need to be made aware of.

The Powassan virus, (named for the region in Canada where it was first identified,) is a rare, but extremely serious tick borne illness that has now been found to be present in our area. Currently, it doesn’t have a treatment or a cure.

Dr. Daniel Cameron, President of the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society recently spoke about the disease. He said that if bitten by an infected tick you can get the virus within a matter of minutes, and while the symptoms are similar to Lyme disease, they are more severe.

“The doctor just has to support you during the acute illness and hope that you survive,” Dr. Daniel Cameron explained. “You can get seizures, high fevers, stiff neck. It comes on so suddenly that it’s the kind of thing people go to the emergency room for.”

Powassan now joins other, more common tick borne illnesses already present in our area, including Rickettsia parkeri rickettsiosis, Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis, and Lyme Disease. (For more information about these diseases, their signs, symptoms and treatments, please visit the CDC’s website at:

http://www.cdc.gov/lyme/resources/TickborneDiseases.pdf

Monthly spraying regimens are the best way to help protect your family stay safe this summer.  Additionally, wearing pants and long sleeves outside, avoiding bushy and wooded areas, checking for ticks, and wearing bug spray are measures you can take to remain safe.

Preventing Late Frost From Damaging Your Plants

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This winter has been particularly brutal and seemingly never ending, but as it gets warmer in spring there is still risk for another cold snap that can undo all your hard early planting work. With the warm weather allowing plants to bud earlier this year, follow these tips to keep your plants flourishing even when winter just won’t die.

First bring any potted plants inside, they are the most vulnerable to frost.

Water loses heat slower than air, keeping a bucket of warm water or watering your plants the day before a freeze can help keep them from being damaged by frost.

If you notice that your plants are losing water from their leaves following a freeze, apply water to thaw the soil. The frozen ground will make water unavailable to your plants and could dry them out.

When anticipating a freeze, cover your plants overnight with burlap or a bed sheet to act as an insulation against the frost.  To prevent your already budding plants or crops from getting damaged by the tarp, place a coffee can, tomato cage or jar over the plant itself.

Be sure to remove the burlap from your plants in the morning, however, as oxygen and sunlight are essential to their survival.

To assess the damages following the freeze, examine the inside of various buds several days later. If the inside is a dark brown or black, it is likely that your plant has been damaged.

If there is no discoloration, you might just be the first on the block this year with a vibrant flower garden and fresh vegetables.

Chemicals aren’t the only way to control ticks.

 

control ticks

 

 

It’s cold out now, but spring is right around the corner! When the weather warms up, and the sun comes out, so do pests like ticks. For most people, tick control means an outdoor chemical treatment plan. While pesticides can be an effective tick-control mechanism, what many don’t realize is that landscape design itself can also help control ticks by creating a tick-safe zone around your house and play areas.

Ticks that transmit Lyme disease thrive in humid wooded areas. They die quickly in sunny and dry environments and a well designed, tick-safe landscape layout will take advantage of this fact to keep you, and your family safe.

Here are some simple landscaping techniques that you can use to help reduce tick populations.

 

•        Remove leaf litter and clear tall grasses and brush around homes and at the edges of lawns.

•        Place wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas to restrict tick migration to recreational areas.

•        Mow the lawn and clear brush and leaf litter frequently.

•        Keep the ground under bird feeders clean.

•        Stack wood neatly and in dry areas.

•        Keep playground equipment, decks, and patios away from yard edges and trees.

 

If you’d like Organically Green to handle the job for you, give us a call today!

Protecting your Garden in the Snow

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This winter, be careful when shoveling, plowing, or blowing snow. If you can’t remember where plantings are located, place posts with reflectors next to the plants. In addition to clearing off sidewalks and driveways, snow should be cleared off of trees and delicate shrubs, either with a broom or a hand held blower. This will prevent cold damage, breaking branches, and other issues that can be costly (or impossible!) to recover from come spring.

Snow or ice sliding off the roof may crush the plants below. If plants are already covered with deep, natural snow, this may cushion the impact of falling ice and protect the plants. If little snow is present, you can protect plants by placing teepee-shaped wooden frames over them.

Natural snowfall or windblown snow seldom result in plant injury. It’s usually the devices we use to remove snow that cause the most damage.

Avoid piling salty snow near plants or on lawns. If this is not possible, use one of the environmentally safe salts such as calcium chloride or an ordinary, inexpensive garden fertilizer, sand, or kitty litter mixed with equal parts of “safe” salt. If you are using salt on walks and drives, keep in mind that this, mixed with the snow and slush that is piled around plants, can leach into the soil and harm roots.

Brighten up your winter garden.

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Winter traditionally means the end of your garden, but these are some plants that you can grow to bring color and life to the cold months.

 

Heather

This plant blooms all year and offers beautiful flowers in summer and fall. In winter the thick foliage makes an appealing contrast to the more delicate blooms of other winter plants.

Corkscrew Hazel

What make these such an attractive winter plant are the winding and twisted branches that add a pleasantly eerie touch to a winter landscape. The branches will require regular trimming to maintain their appealing look, failing in which they will look like an overgrown unkempt tangle of wood.

Holly

Holly has always been associated with winter. With 400 varieties to choose from that range from small bushes to huge trees of up to 80 feet, there is a type of holly for every garden and winter landscape. Its bright berries and thick foliage ensure that this is one plant that always catches the eye.

Winterberry

Winterberry is a cousin of holly but loses its leaves in the fall so in the winter you get bright red berries. These berries are also great for attracting birds. The seeds must be planted in the fall in a cold frame and should be transplanted to rich moist soil in the spring. This is a slow growing plant and germination can take 2 to 3 years.

Paperbark Maple

Paperbark Maple’s curls of copper colored bark peel off from all over and make a pleasing sight. The green leaves of summer turn into an eye catching cinnamon shade in the fall.

Camellia

This evergreen blooms from fall to early spring and its brightly colored rose like flowers offer a striking contrast to a dull winter landscape. The best place to plant them is in a place that gets some sun, but not too much of it and which is protected from strong winds.

Red Twig Dogwood

The plant’s striking red stems are not just attractive on their own, they make a great accent when combined with evergreens. The brightness of the plants color depends on the amount of sun it receives.

Firethorn

Firethorn is a hardy perennial that is an attractive sight all year round. The small pea like berries, which can be either orange or yellow in color, remain long after fall is over.

The Paper Birch Tree

The Paper Birch tree has stunning yellow leaves in autumn and when the weather turns really cold, its white bark offer a striking contrast to a backdrop of evergreens. It is often used as the focal point of Christmas displays.

Hellebore

Another winter plant that is available in a wide range of varieties is Hellebore. They come in a wide range of colors mean that you will be able to find one that compliments the rest of your winter garden.