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Posted By Tony Melton Florence County Extension Agent

  Give your neighbor something to talk about. First of all, just before dark stomp down the mole tunnels in your yard. Next, early the next morning put on your fluffy house coat and bedroom slippers. Next, arm yourself with a flashlight and a pitchfork. Finally, before sun-up run around your yard shining your flashlight and harpooning moles that are tunneling through your yard. Even though this may not improve your reputation, it may reduce the mole population and problems in your yard.  

  Since in today’s society most homes are now the wives castle, luckily many of us men still have our yards as our domain.Therefore, many folks hate for anything to invade their yard, I guess this is why I have so many calls about moles or voles.

  First of all, moles are not in the rodent family but are small insect eating mammals (Scapanus spp.). Moles live almost entirely underground in a vast network of interconnecting tunnels. They frequently create shallow tunnels just below the surface where they capture worms, insects and other invertebrates. Surface feeding burrows appear as ridges that the mole pushes up by its way through the soil. When you see tunnels in your yard you have moles. However, many permanent tunnels are deeper underground and are usually about 2 inches in diameter and 8 to 12 inches below the surface. Actually moles do little damage to your yard. The greatest problem caused by moles is the mounds and ridges resulting from their burrowing are unsightly, disfiguring, and cause scalping of the grass when it is mowed. Also, they can dislodge plants and cause their roots to dry.
  Trapping is the most universally applicable and dependable method of mole control.  Several different kinds of mole traps are available at hardware stores, nurseries, or directly from the manufacturer.  Toxic baits are also an alternative. Today new baits, that supposedly look and taste like earthworms, have been proven effective.  However, I have not and will not taste them personally. Always wear rubber gloves when touching the traps and baits so the moles don’t sense your presence. Always follow all label directions when using baits and manufacturer instructions when using traps. Some other techniques like having a good cat or a Jack Russell dog have worked. However, many other techniques including some which may have be suggested to you by a well meaning neighbor have proved ineffective in stopping mole damage or in driving moles from an area.

  Finally, voles are mouse-like rodents that are herbivores (plant eaters). They will eat just about any plant part within their reach which is limited by the facts that they live most of their lives below ground and are poor climbers. Roots, trucks, and stems beware. These are the devastating, dastardly, devours of our beloved trees and shrubs. Voles also form a network of tunnels but these tunnels are usually hidden beneath protective layers of mulch, grass, ground covers, and other vegetation. To determine if you have voles stick your hand into the soil around plants to find the tunnels.

  Trapping is also a very effective control for voles. However, to catch voles bait a regular mouse trap with peanut butter and slice of apple. Place the trap near a vole exit hole, under something like a black pot to keep out all light, and never touch it or its surroundings without rubber gloves. Also, baiting is an excellent way to control voles and those peanut shaped baits many folks waste on moles will actually work on voles. Remember to keep away from animals and other pets.


 

 


 
Posted By Tony Melton Florence County Extension Agent

   The dogwood petals are blowing in the wind, the azaleas flowers are melting away, and even worse the Southern Plant and Flower Festival has  ended.
   We buy a lot of plants in S.C.  In fact we have made ornamental plantsthe second largest cash crop in the state.  However, selecting the right plant is not as easy as it may seem.  First of all, know the
environmental conditions of the spot where you are going to plant your
new found treasure.  Is the spot sunny, shady, dry, wet, irrigated, or
sandy? Next, if you are unfamiliar with the plant, you need to ask the
basic questions of when, where, and how the plant will grow.  Find out
if the mature plant be tall, short, broad, disease-prone, insect-prone,
drought tolerate, and other characteristics. The combination of these
steps will help you complete a basic gardening decision; putting the
right plant in the right place.  If you have unanswered questions, the
Florence County Master Gardeners have a booth in the center of the shed. We will be there to answer all your plant questions and let you to sign up to take the Master Gardener Class.  If you bring us a sample of your problem, it will make answering your question easier.
   Now let's consider a horse of a different color.  The Pee Dee Region of
the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service will conduct a
five-week Equine Management Seminar.  This program will start on
Thursday, May 15, 2008 and will continue to meet on Thursday evenings
for a five-week period ending on June 12, 2008.  Each program will be
6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and will be held at the Pee Dee Research and
Education Center located at 2200 Pocket Road in Florence.  In Florence,
take Exit 169 off I-95 or Irby St to TV Road.  Go north on TV Road until
it dead ends into Pocket Road. Turn left; the Pee Dee Research and
Education Center is one mile on the right near the Florence/Darlington
County line. .              
   The program will cover several important aspects of equine production including forage systems, hay selection, nutrition, waste management, health, and much more.  The cost for the full 5-week seminar is $75.00 which includes a notebook containing copies of the presentation and fact sheets related to each topic.   This program
should prove beneficial to new and experienced horse owners alike. Space is limited so please respond quickly.  Applications are available at
your local Clemson Extension Office in Florence our office is located at
2685 S. Irby St.  For more specific information, please contact Lee Van
Vlake at 843-661-4800, Ex. 125 or rii@clemson.edu.
   Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service offers its
programs to people of all ages, regardless of race, color, sex,
religion, national origin, disability, political beliefs, sexual
orientation, marital or family status and is an equal opportunity
employer.  If you enjoy gardening and using flowers and plants in
decorations, please watch Down Home with Tony and Amanda on Thursday
nights at 8:00 p.m. on the SC Channel (ETV's digital station). If you
don't get that channel, you can go to www.mig.org, select streaming
video, and scroll down to where our shows are archived.
 


 
Posted By Tony Melton Florence County Extension Agent

The dogwood petals are blowing in the wind, the azaleas flowers are melting away, and the Southern Plant and Flower Festival is coming to full bloom.  This perennial event germinates on Thursday, April 10th and flowers through Sunday, April 13th.
   No matter what the calendar says, this  event marks the beginning of summer for me.  No self-respecting, serious gardener would miss the Southern Plant and Flower Festival at the Pee Dee
State Farmers Market.  Hours for the festival will be 8:00 a.m. until 6:00p.m. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday; 1:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. on Sunday.
   Our glorious spring weather makes all those Yankees shiver in
the chill of the north and long for their vacation in South Carolina.
However, we tend to take all this beauty for-granted.  We hide in our
air-conditioned homes and offices and let the outside adventures pass us by. With the high price of fuel let's make our yards a beautiful vacation destination without the cost of travel.
   Also, don't forget the simple beauty of our forests or what we called it as I was growing-up in McBee "The Woods."  During my youth, daddy worked a day job to pay for his farming habit. So while he was at work, I went exploring "The Woods." I was lucky because on our property we had a medium sized hill we called "Rabbit Mountain."  It was a kid's dream.  It had rocks for throwing, crevices for foxholes, slopes for sliding, and even a couple of small caves for hiding.  Needless to say it was a haven for wildlife, including a barefooted, scrawny, dirty-faced little boy.  The only time I would come inside was to eat or watch Red Skelton or Mission Impossible.
  However, today adults and kids need to be taught about nature
and the environment.  It is like there are "Lions, Tigers, and Bears Out There" but there is truly beauty and knowledge to gain.
   Therefore, Clemson  University invites you to the annual Outdoor Education Trail Open House at the Pee Dee Research & Education Center (PDREC) from noon 'til 4 p.m. on April 12th.   Last year's Open House was such a great success we are doing it again with an added twist of "Celebrating Rural Heritage; Past, Present, and Future."  In other words, while you are enjoying the beauty of the Outdoor
Education Trail you will be learning a little bit about our southern rural heritage, agriculture, and natural resources at booths celebrating such things as Barbeque and Blacksmithing, Cane Syrup and Corn Milling, Fiddling and Fishing, Cotton and Kudzu, Rice and Red Wine, Tobacco and Tea, Soap and Sassafras, and much more.    Eat your heart out city folks.  ADMISSION IS FREE.
   The PDREC is located on Pocket Road near the Florence/Darlington
County line.  In Florence, take Exit 169 off I-95 or Irby St to TV Road.
Go north on TV Road until it dead ends into Pocket Road.  Turn left; the Pee Dee Research and Education Center is one mile on the right.
  Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service offers its
programs to people of all ages, regardless of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital or family status and is an equal opportunity employer.  I you enjoy gardening and using flowers and plants in decorations, please watch Down Home with Tony and Amanda on Thursday nights at 8:00 pm on the SC Channel (ETV's digital station). If you don't get that channel, you can go to www.mig.org, select streaming video, and scroll down to where our shows are archived.


 

 

 
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