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Articles by Dr. Francis Gouin

Don’t bother trying to put them back together

Irene left us many trees with split trunks. Splitting occurs mostly on shade trees with narrow crotches. Narrow crotches are weak and break easily when strong winds whip the branches back and forth.
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You can’t stick those root balls back in the ground

If Irene pushed over a tree in your landscape, chances are it will never recover, so it is best that you remove it and replace it. Over the years, I have seen many home gardeners and arborists try to rescue toppled trees by bracing them. However, I have never seen full recoveries, even after the trees have been braced for several years....

Lime is inexpensive and the best boost for your lawn

The lawn is the pride and joy of many homeowners. Treat it right and you can keep it that way.
    If you have not had the soil under your lawn tested in the past three years or more, most likely it is quite acid. If so, you’ll get a bigger bang for your buck by applying lime in place of fertilizer.
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They’re feasting in your garden and invading your home

A number of Farmers Market customers have complained to me about stinkbugs in their vegetable gardens, and many have brought me tomatoes and peppers marred by punctures from stinkbugs. Some of the tomatoes show the creased cat facing similar to what I have mentioned seeing on peaches. Other tomatoes exhibit a puncture mark with the surrounding tissues turning brown.
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What’s the deal?

At the Thursday Deale Farmers Market, a number of Bay Weekly readers have asked what is causing so many trees to turn brown. This year the browning of leaves started in late June and has progressed rapidly. The browning has nothing to do with drought, which some people blame.
    The black locust leaf miner is responsible.
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What’s a farm without dogs and cats?

The Gouins have had five dogs and four cats. Yoder, our first dog, was an Appalachian beagle, from near Grantville in the Appalachian mountains. His mother was a beagle and the father, a neighbor’s dog. He was given the name Yoder, which is Mennonite, because we purchased his first dog food at Yoder’s meat market and locker.
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I enjoy challenges in trying to solve plant problems, but I’ll need a full case history

A growing number of Bay Weekly readers are coming to the Thursday afternoon Deale Farmers Market with plants to be identified or with plant problems. I don’t mind interrupting sales of peaches to answer your questions. However, I find that I am not able to provide much assistance because many people bring only a leaf, a single flower or a photograph....

Trees, shrubs and herbaceous perennials move best now

Many home gardeners wait until spring to transplant in their landscapes. But if perennial plants such as trees and shrubs could talk, they would tell you that August and September are the best times for transplanting.

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Healthier plants mean more oxygen and a healthier you

While relaxing in my hammock under the shade of our mature cherry bark oak trees, I realized that my heritage river birch tree, growing in front on my house, was expressing air pollution symptoms. The older leaves were turning yellow and beginning to fall. I noticed similar symptoms on the magnolia and crape myrtle.

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Lots more good can come from your garden

For a feast-full fall garden, now is the time for planning and planting. On the other hand, if you want to take it easy after your spring and summer harvests, then simply plant a cover crop of winter rye in those areas where the crops have been harvested.
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