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University of Vermont Extension

(This group currently has 10 experts available to answer questions)

Questions asked to this group

Will watering a yellow jacket ground nest kill or relocate the bees? kill

I've just come across a yellow jacket ground nest in an abandoned rodent hole, in a yard I maintain. I live in Vermont, so winter is close at hand. Firstly, I'd like to mow the area, but I've read that even nighttime mowing isn't a sure thing as they can be aggressive. Also, I'm guessing that this time of year is when all who live are settling in, so maybe not a good time to get them to leave by water or other means? My second question is, if I wait until tonight, and put a large rock over the opening and try to mow more safely, is there commonly a second escape route from the nest ?

VT Posted 13 days ago

Unknown nusance plant

Have a plant that has white berries in the summer and they turn dark purple in the fall. The berries are on the top of the stalks in a cluster. It has a woody stock and if left to grown it runs under the soil and will pop up all over. The stalks are about 48" in height and has green leaves. Trying to get rid of it but the roots run all under the soil.

Franklin County VT Posted about 1 month ago

Mildew on spruce trees

We have a line of spruce (I think) on our property, some of which have a green mildew on the branches. At least 2 trees are dead—from the mildew? I have attached photos of the mildew on branches and one of the dead trees

Grand Isle County VT Posted about 1 month ago

Bees

Removed a very large underground hornets nest from my backyard stone fire pit. Removed all the stones and dug out the pit to make sure I had all of the nest. Bees keep returning to the site, how can I get rid of them. Have dogs and kids. Thanks

Windsor County VT wasps Posted about 1 month ago

Blighted maples

I have a small wooded area next to my house in Stowe, where some very old pine trees and scrubby softwoods are gradually being replaced by maples. All fine, except that the maples now have some kind of disease (please see attached picture). What is this, and what should be done? Thanks

Lamoille County VT Posted about 1 month ago

Perry Pears and Maple Sugaring Questions

Those two do not ordinarily go together in the same sentence but we are moving to Vermont permanently in the next 3-4 years and are looking for agricultural opportunities.

I have come up with two ideas that I think are mutually compatible - growing Perry Pears for Perry making, or selling to Perry makers, and maple sugaring. Perry pears, for reasons explained below, and maple sugaring so I can try to produce some revenue off the land even as the trees mature.

Perry is the alcoholic drink that is what cider is to apples. There is 'perry' to be found around, but that is almost exclusively really pear cider which is a cider to which dessert pears have been added.

The true Perry, which is a drink that dates back to the early middle ages and has been drunk throughout that time in Normandy and in parts of Britain, is making a come back overseas. The dearth of true Perry Pears (which are basically inedible in raw fashion) has limited production and most people do not know it exists, or when hearing of it, what it is. Once explained, though, most are intrigued.

In Britain in the 1960s and 1970s when Perry fell out of fashion, 95% of the Perry pear orchards were torn up in favor of more immediately valuable commodities and housing. That is a problem because Perry pears take a long time to ripen.

My idea on the perry pear growing is to get ahead of what I suspect is a curve. There is one perry maker in Vermont who is making perry out of perry pears and dessert pears. As I understand it, he cannot source enough perry pears.

It takes the trees 7 years+ before they fruit and for most people that is a problem. For me this is an opportunity as we are not going to be able to move permanently into the area for four years. My plan is to select property this year and close in the spring, prepare the property in 2020 and plant in 2021. I am reaching out to people who might be able to provide me support and expertise and suggestions on who to reach out to hire/speak with about this project.




Rutland County Vermont pears fermentation pear trees Posted about 1 month ago

Maintaining a field of grass

I have about an acre of field that until this summer I mowed weekly like a lawn. I no longer want to do that and this year I've just let it grow: grass, weeds, everything. I like the way it looks and I want to continue to do that but I wonder if there is some minimal mowing that I should do to keep it from becoming totally unruly with mostly weeds and eventually bushes. Do I need to plant hay or some other type of grass? If I do an annual bush-hog type mowing, would that suffice? Should it be in the spring or fall? Should it be raked? Would offering it as a pasture for sheep or goats accomplish the same thing?

Thanks for any advice.





Washington County Vermont Posted about 1 month ago

Butternut tree fungus

We just discovered a butternut tree growing in our yard and it appears to have a fungus. Is there any way to treat it? It is adjacent to a large pine that is supporting it.

Chittenden County Vermont Posted 2 months ago

a dearth of squirrels and chipmunks

Hi, I live in South Woodbury, VT and have really noticed an absence of small critters this summer. Has something affected the population of squirrels and chipmunks in our area? I did see a red squirrel last summer and earlier this year who looked quite mangy.....

Washington County Vermont Posted 2 months ago

My chippie is missing!

I have had a chipmunk come to my porch since May! He started hoarding under my stoop around mid July! I Didn’t see him for 4 days and then he popped out of a hole he made in my yard! Just the right distance for his burrow! He happily popped in and out and hoarded for weeks! I saw him last Monday! He didn’t come out Tuesday! Wednesday he came out for a short while! It’s been almost a week and I’m sad I haven’t seen him since! Should I assume he’s dead? Also, if he was a she and had babies (was getting a little thick) do they not leave the burrow for awhile after the babies are born? He was adorable and ate out of my hand! Should I hold out hope? He’s missed!

Chittenden County Vermont wildlife Posted 2 months ago