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Stop mosquito population explosion; drain the rain now

Mosquitoes are not only annoying; they can carry deadly diseases such as West Nile virus.
Mosquitoes are not only annoying; they can carry deadly diseases such as West Nile virus. Fotolia

Hear that buzz? Mosquito season has arrived in force. Take some precautions before their population explodes.

Last week’s thunderstorms coupled with summer heat created the perfect breeding conditions for these pests, according to the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District. Drain any rain water that may have accumulated in flower pots or saucers, buckets, old tires and other possible pooling places.

While working in the garden in the morning or dusk, wear long sleeves and long pants. Use insect repellent. Also, make sure the screens on your doors and windows are in good working condition; you don’t want these pests to come inside.

For more tips on mosquito control or to report potential problems such as abandoned pools, click on www.FightTheBite.net or call 800-429-1022.

▪ Speaking of heat, avoid pot “hot feet” this summer. Place a 1-inch-thick board under container plants sitting on pavement. This little cushion helps insulate them from radiated heat and keep roots cooler. That means less plant stress and healthier plants.

▪  Thin grapes on the vine for bigger, better clusters later this summer.

▪  Cut back fruit-bearing canes on berries.

▪  Mulch, mulch, mulch. As the weather continues to heat up, mulching helps conserve water while keeping your plants’ roots cool and moist. When applying mulch, leave a circle around trunks or main stems to avoid crown rot.

▪  Tie up vines and stake tall plants such as gladioluses and lilies. That gives their heavy flowers some support.

▪  If you still have room in your veggie garden, transplant seedlings for tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and squash. Look for varieties that mature in 75 days or less.

▪  From seed, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, squash, melons, cucumbers and sunflowers.

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