Q: What happened to the 17-year cicadas? Are they a no-show? Bradley Shepherd, email
A: We don’t have many of the 17-year or 13-year cicadas around here. But we do have lots of dog-day cicadas, which are a different species entirely. I’m hearing them in my trees right now. A friend tells me that a week ago at the Monteagle Mountain, Tenn, parking lot, the cicadas were so loud she could easily hear them over the rumbling of a dozen diesel trucks assembled there.
Q: I planted my lawn with bermuda seed and covered it with about a quarter-inch of wheat straw. Was this too much? Harley O., email
A: As long as the wheat straw doesn’t completely cover the soil and prevent sunlight from getting to the seedlings, they will grow through it just fine. After the seedlings are a couple of inches tall, you can lightly rake away the wheat straw if it still seems problematic.
Q: What makes the webs that have little worms in them on trees right now? Ann Stewart, Hart County
A: You’re seeing the distinctive webs of fall webworms. They begin to appear in early July on pecan, oak, and other landscape trees. This caterpillar is a native of North America. The caterpillars may defoliate a branch or two but they rarely threaten the life of a tree. They drop to the ground in September to pupate and will emerge next spring as a brown moth. If you want to do something, wrap the webbing onto the end of a long pole to expose the worms to predators and the elements. Hornets, wasps and yellowjackets are major predators of webworms. They will eat most of them in a nest if you pull away the webs.
Q: I caught the tail end of your radio show when you were talking about late-blooming blueberries. Which ones do you recommend? Anne Schaffer, email
A: My neighbor’s ‘Ochlockonee’ blueberry bushes finished fruiting in late July but she has a ‘Baldwin’ that ripens its fruit in early August. If you are planning on planting blueberries, spend some time now digging the bed and adding lots of organic soil amendment. Then have a soil test (georgiasoiltest.com) done to check the soil pH. It should be between 4.5 and 5.5 to make blueberries happy. I have details on growing blueberries at bit.ly/GAblueberry.
Q: I cut down a honey locust tree after I noticed sprouts emerging in my yard from the root system. I want to eliminate the new growth coming up. It’s not a very nice tree: 4-inch thorns! Gene Westbrook, Oconee County
A: A honey locust tree naturally spreads by root sprouts. When you cut down the tree it immediately started trying to make new leaves by other means. It will be hard to do, but your best bet is simply to continue persistently removing the leaf sprouts. You can do this either by mowing or by spraying it with glyphosate (Roundup). Either way, it may take a year to sufficiently weaken the roots so they no longer sprout.