COL Don't trim oaks during summer

Don't trim oak trees in summer, say Iowa State University Extension forestry specialists.

The pathogen that causes oak wilt disease can be transmitted to open wounds by a small sap-feeding beetle, known as a nitidulid beetle or picnic bug.

For this reason, avoid pruning oaks from March through September. The only exception to this rule is trimming storm-damaged or broken branches.

Good mulches important for garden

Good mulches for annual or vegetable bed are organic matter that breaks down quickly, says Bev Pearson, a master gardener in Meeker County, Minn.


It can be dug into the soil in the fall or next spring and replaced with new mulch. Mulches of this type are chopped leaves, completely dry grass clippings, pine needles, straw or hay. Don't use green grass clippings if the lawn has been treated with herbicide. Wait three mowings before using the clippings, Pearson said.

Perennial borders, shrubs and trees can be mulched with more permanent types of mulch such as wood chips or shredded bark. Wood uses nitrogen to decompose, so if it gets mixed into the soil, it will take the nitrogen and cause plants to show symptoms of nitrogen deficiency.

Frayed nerves need to be addressed

When your nerves are wearing thin, try these simple steps, says Gail Gilman Waldner, regional Extension educator in Minnesota.

Put your hands behind your back, this will prevent you from using them to threaten or hit a child. Take a deep breath and count to 10 or 20, she said. Imagine that with each deep breath, you are letting out your anger. Take a pen and paper and write everything that comes into your head. Crumple it up and throw it away.

Release pent-up energy. Do 15 jumping jacks or run up and down a set of stairs.

Watering needs to be done early in day

Splashing water is the principle method of spreading fungal and bacterial foliar diseases in garden plants, says Neil Broadwater, Houston County (Minn.) Extension director.


Therefore, it is important to water plants at the ground level and early in the day. This allows the foliage to dry prior to the evening hours and reduces splashing of spores from infected tissue or soil onto healthy tissue.

Proper spacing of plants increases airflow and will also help reduce disease severity, Broadwater said. It may be necessary to prune out some plants for better air circulation.

Self-esteem linked to quality time

The self-esteem of children is greatly influenced by the quality of time parents spend with them, not the amount, said Kami Hastad, regional Extension educator in Minnesota.

Busy lives cause many parents to think about the next thing they have to do instead of focusing attention on their children. If children don't receive genuine moments throughout the day, they may misbehave, thinking that negative attention is better than none at all.

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