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Thursday, September 3, 2015

Crabgrass, Spiders, Frogs and Snakes

     My backyard is full of crabgrass, but it's too late to get rid of it. Crabgrass killer has to be applied at exactly the right time of the year. If you spray too early microorganisms and natural processes in the soil break down the herbicide and it loses its potency. Then, if you put it on too late it's already started to germinate and the herbicide won't work. Sort of a Catch-22. Once the stuff has started to grow there's no product that I know of that will kill it. So, it looks like I'm done until spring. 
     There's a ton of good information at The Family Handyman. Other helpful sites are: Scott's How to Control Crabgrass  
The University of Illinois Lawn Talk 
University of California at Davis 

Brown Recluse
     While pulling up some of the worst clumps, I also uncovered a spider's nest...one spider was huge, about the size of the tip of your little finger. Because it was fat and brown my first thought was it was the dreaded brown recluse, but some research has convinced me that it was not. I identified it using a book, Common Spiders of Ohio, and it was a hackled-mesh weaver which is common in these parts. 
Hackled-mesh Weaver

     Some spider spray will, hopefully, take care of them.
     In addition to spiders, the yard is full of crickets and because of the unusually wet spring, I have been seeing a LOT of small yellow frogs. 
     The problem is that with the woods and small swamp behind the house all these little vermin attract snakes. So far I have identified them as garter snakes and Eastern ribbon snakes. Not only are they disgusting creatures (to me), but they lurk in the grass and occasionally when mowing the lawn I hear a “whump, whump” noise. That's bad...it means I ran over a snake with the lawnmower...disgusting! Besides that, while picking beans a couple of weeks ago, some movement caught my eye and I found a two foot long snake in the beans! Luckily, it was scared too and went slithering off as fast as it could.
Eastern Ribbon Snake
A Species of Garter Snake
  Snakes in the storage shed were a problem too, but by spreading lime all around they left.  Snakes in the yard are a different problem.  Here are some sites offering information on eliminating snakes: 

Dollar Stretcher – Getting Rid of Snakes 
Wildlife Education

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