What are the differences between native and imported fire ants?

As a gardener and a person intreged with the workings of nature, I am very pleased to have just discovered your site! A search for Phorid flies led me to it, and I was very surprised to find out that we have native fire ants! I thought they were totally introduced. What I can't seem to find on your site is any clear distinction, if any, between native and imported. Are they the same anatomically, make the same type mound, do they both sting and make the blister/pustule on your skin? Does the native variety occur in my area of Grapevine, Tx? I was also surprised to learn that there is a red and black introduced variety, and hybridizations thereof; can they hybridize with the native species, and what would the Phorid fly or other pathogens used for control do, in that situation?


Tarrant County Texas fire ants entomology about 4 years ago

How to keep cows away from a fence

My neighbor dropped some dead fish along their side of the fence. My dogs got ahold of them. The fish could kill the dogs. Their story was that they put the fish there to keep their cows away from the fence; from leaning into it and damaging it. Have you ever heard of this technique?


Linn County Oregon livestock about 4 years ago

I have a couple of Norway (red) pines trees with whirled needles at the...

I have a couple of Norway (red) pines trees with whirled needles at the leader. I do not see any signs of scale or rust. I appreciate your help with diagnosis and treatment alternatives.



St. Louis County Minnesota trees and shrubs horticulture about 4 years ago

I planted Bluebell grape vines (2 vines). I put up trellis posts. How high do...

I planted Bluebell grape vines (2 vines). I put up trellis posts. How high do I place the wires, how many wire, and what is the best gauge wire?


Houghton County Michigan about 4 years ago

time to plant my garden

I have my raised garden beds ready for planting and wanted to know when I should plant, I have just recently moved here from Northern Indiana and I did not plant unitl late April, early May. Thank you for your time,


Anne Arundel County Maryland vegetables planting dates about 4 years ago

Why do I have grassy/fungus on my garden soil?

I have had it the last two years and it over takes my garden. How do I get rid of it?



Ramsey County Minnesota about 4 years ago

Poisonous seed disposal

I have a datura plant which is poisonous. It created a number of large seed pods this winter, which I have cut off the plant. I do not know how to dispose of these seeds safely.

Please advise.


Carolyn Shelby


Clark County Washington horticulture about 4 years ago

Dogwood Tree

My local nursery planted a healthy dogwood tree on my property (south facing with plenty of sun and shade- nice mix) 3 years ago and I watered it as indicated by the nursery (one extra large bucket of water w/holes in the bottom once/week) for the first year when rain was not in the forecast. Unfortunately, that first year, we had an extremely hot summer with very little rain. I continued with watering it as indicated throughout that summer though it really seemed to me that it needed more water. I was told not to water more frequently though it went again my intuition in the matter. After that first summer, it dropped about 3/4 of its leaves and it really hasn't bounced back very well despite receiving adequate watering over the last couple of years/since that time. This current Spring 2015, I only have 1/4-1/3 of the tree in bloom and the rest of the branches really look dead. I would appreciate any suggestions: should I fertilize, prune off the dead-looking tree limbs, replace the tree, etc.? I am at a loss to know what to do at this point. Thank you....


St. Charles County Missouri trees and shrubs dogwoods horticulture about 4 years ago

Is my wisteria dead, can I save it, or do I need to start over?

Our patio had an amazing 50-ish year-old wisteria growing on a 25 foot long pergola. For the 8 years we’ve owned the house, it grew like wildfire every summer, my husband pruned it moderately 2-3 times a season, and it was always flush with purple blooms in May and again most Augusts (sometimes we'd even get flowers throughout the summer). We’ve also never experienced any winter die back, though it blooms very late in May before the leaves come out. We had a gardener do a real hack job on it in 2012, they actually just went along the edge of the pergola with a chainsaw with no regard to what was being cut. I thought it might die from the severe pruning, but it seemed to bounce right back in 2013 with great spring blooms. Then last spring, 2014, we had a particularly harsh winter for Lower Michigan, followed by a late frost and the vines never budded. All season in 2014 there were no leaves anywhere on the older vines. We did have numerous new vines start growing out of the base to maybe 3-4 feet up. Yesterday, when I trimmed the vines (still no greenery yet, it's too early), I found that most of the older vines were dead and rotted, 3 inch diameter vines would just break in my hands, especially in the older sections. I fear there is no vine left to save on the top of the pergola. Worse yet, I now believe the vines that were growing last year are from the root that may have been grafted to the original vine, so not actually the same wisteria. The new vines have buds (I could find no buds on the older vines), but at the base of the bud, pointing down, were small thorns – my wisteria never had thorns before. I am crushed to think this amazing wisteria may be dead, but I also realize I can’t keep wasting season after season hoping it will “come back”. If it’s dead, I want to get going on growing a replacement as soon as possible. But if there is any chance at all of saving the original vine, I’d like to try. What do you think? Is there anything I can do to save the vine? Should I try cutting it back, completely removing it from the top of the pergola? Should I try stressing the roots to make it grow? Or is the vine too far gone? Are the new thorned vines a sign that it is growing off the grafted root and I should give up on it? If I replace it, do you have a species to recommend? I have no idea what the original was, but apparently it is rare for most wisteria to have such profuse blooming. Could it have been the age of the vine and not the species that contributed to that? Also, how should I replace it? It has ~1.5 foot diameter base now, in a 3-foot circle surrounded by my concrete patio. Will I be able to pull out the base and roots for a new planting? If so how? Will I need to use a stump grinder instead? Can I immediately plant a new wisteria there? Or should I wait for the roots to rot and how long?



Oakland County Michigan about 4 years ago

A friend of mine has what is determined to be artillery mold on her siding...

A friend of mine has what is determined to be artillery mold on her siding and sidewalk. They have wod chip mulch all around their house. They get the wood chips from the county, which picks up trees in road ditches and mulches them. They are not willing to give this service up., and want a way to get rid of the mold. Maybe spraying with Hi-Lex? Or is there another solution?


Todd County Minnesota mulch mold about 4 years ago

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