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Frequently Asked ANR Questions

June 17, 2016

I receive three to four client questions on a weekly basis about a wide array of subjects. I use those questions as the ideas behind some of my weekly newspaper columns. This week is no exception which is why I would like to share with readers the answers to a few of the commonly asked questions I have received recently.

Nuisance wildlife has been a hot topic lately with individuals asking about animals ranging from moles to woodpeckers and everything in between. With moles, I cannot recommend any of the home remedies (bubble gum, razor blades, moth balls, lye, mole dances, spinning or electric devices, and flooding tunnels with water or car exhaust, etc.) because they are not research based. Instead what is research based, and is easy to use, is a harpoon trap. To use a harpoon trap, use the side of your hand to lightly press down a narrow section of an active runway. Check a couple days later to see if the moles have repaired the run. If they have, place the trap in that run and let it go to work. Once you have a trap set, cover it with a bucket to protect kids and pets from coming into contact with it.

Woodpeckers can be a little harder to control since they move a lot quicker, are in the air, and should not be shot (due to be a protected species). Instead you should try habitat modification and frightening. To modify the habitat, try covering up the item they are attacking (i.e. porch post) with metal sheeting and removing excess trees from the area. Then to frighten, try adding something that will make noise and move. This could mean adding a windsock, metal pie pans that will bang together, or wind chimes. If these two methods do not work, then you should contact the DNR for additional assistance.

A few other questions have dealt specifically with plant identification and plant problems. One of the plant problems that is occurring is anthracnose. Anthracnose is a leaf spot disease caused by a fungi. It is typically associated with cool, wet spring weather. Anthracnose results in brown spots on the leaves that will eventually fall off. Because the tree loses their leaves early, they will try to produce more this growing season and become stressed. Therefore, the best treatment for anthracnose is to maintain a balanced fertilizer program and water during droughts. Additionally, you should remove the leaves from the ground when they fall off and dispose of them.

If you have a question like these, or any other question related to growing plants, identifying insects, issues with ponds, livestock production, or agriculture, feel free to contact Purdue Extension. You can contact Purdue Extension by calling (765)-653-8411, emailing smith535@purdue.edu, visiting our office located at 152 East Columbia Street in Greencastle, or commenting on our Facebook page: Purdue Extension-Putnam County.

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