Why Cover the Trap?

Our wildlife expert Stephen Vantassel recommends covering at least half of that trap during setting. What? Why would I want to cover my trap? Won’t that make it harder for the animal to find it? Perhaps, but the benefits far outweigh the loss of a little bait scent in the air. In addition to providing cover for that animal to hide, you’ve also hidden that animal from the family dog, the nosey neighbor, and predators that may decide that animal you trapped looks like a tasty snack. Take a look at this short clip from our Cage Trapping Techniques course to see why Stephen always covers his traps.

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Professional Cage Traps vs. Retail Cage Traps: Is it worth the difference in price?

Last week we looked at the difference between live traps and cage traps. This week we’ll be looking at how retail cage traps differ from professional cage traps. As you might suspect, there are multiple differences right down to the spacing between the wires of the cage. We’ve asked our wildlife trapping expert Stephen Vantassel with the Montana Department of Agriculture to describe the differences between retail cage traps and professional cage traps, and how to compensate when all you might have available is a retail cage trap.

The following video is a snippet from our Cage Trapping Techniques Course. Find this and other video continuing education courses at www.certifiedtraininginstitute.com/pesticide

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You Set a Trap for a Squirrel and You Trapped a Skunk, Now What?

Imagine this: you’ve set a trap to catch what you think might be a squirrel, groundhog, or rabbit, but when you check it the next day you’ve caught a skunk! What do you do now? At this point, you’re glad you’ve covered at least half of your trap with an old blanket or something similar. Not only do you have a blind side to approach the cage trap, it also provides that skunk someplace to hide. We asked our wildlife trapping expert Stephen Vantassel if he’s ever had this happen to him. Check out the video clip from our Cage Trapping Techniques course for tips on keeping that trapped skunk calm, because let’s face it, nobody wants to be sprayed!

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Aquatic Weed Control

Water features (manmade or natural) can add beauty and depth to any landscape. However, water features and ponds come with their own set of weeds. As with all weeds, the first step to management is identification. Mis-identification can result in a lot of wasted time and money. We asked our aquatic weed specialist, Gray Turnage, to talk a little bit about the importance of weed identification.

 

 

Check out the rest of Gray’s class!    

You'll find this and more at Certified Training Institute's Pesticide Division. Click the button below, choose your state and get started today!


Pesticide Professional Continuing Education

Online state-approved video continuing education courses are available 24/7.

 

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Weed Biology Part IV: Summer Annuals vs. Winter Annuals

Summer Annuals vs. Winter Annuals

Last week we talked about the different weed life cycles. Annuals are the most common type of weed we see in turf and ornamental weed management. But in addition to being able to identify a weed as an annual, biennial, or perennial, we need to know if an annual weed is a summer annual or a winter annual. Why? Because pre-emergent herbicides only work on seeds that are newly germinated and haven’t emerged from the soil yet. Once a seedling is able to reach the soil surface and start the process of photosynthesis it will no longer be controlled by a pre-emergent herbicide. Understanding the difference between summer annuals and winter annuals will help you determine when to apply pre-emergent herbicides to your turf and ornamental areas.

prostrate spurge weed

Summer Annuals

Summer annuals are the weeds that are most prolific during the summertime. Their development follows the calendar year. They’ll germinate in the spring, flower during the summer, set seed in the fall, and then die in the winter. The seeds will overwinter on the soil surface and then germinate in the spring starting the whole cycle over again. Pre-emergent will need to be applied fairly early in the spring in order to be effective against summer annual weeds. Prostrate spurge (pictured) and common lambsquarters are both summer annuals.

henbit weed

Winter Annuals

Winter annuals on the other hand, split the calendar year. Winter annuals will germinate in the late summer or early fall. Usually after the hottest weather has passed. Winter annuals will overwinter in a vegetative phase and be present in the spring when the air and soil warms. They’ll flower in the early spring, set seed in early summer, and then die in the hottest part of the summer. Once the temperatures start to cool in late summer the new seeds will germinate, and the cycle will start over again. Another application of pre-emergent herbicides may be necessary in the summer months if winter annuals are prolific. Henbit (pictured) and annual bluegrass are both winter annuals.

This installment marks the end of our weed biology series. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. Check out these courses if you’d like more information on weed biology or weed management in turf and ornamental settings.

 


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Weed Biology Part 3: Annual vs Biennial vs Perennial

Last week we talked about each stage of the weed life cycle and alluded to the difference between annuals, biennials, and perennials. (Click here to catch up if you missed last week’s post.) But what does that mean and how does it relate to weed management? In this week’s post we’re going to take a look at the differences between these three life-spans and touch on effective management strategies for each.

Annuals

Annuals have the shortest life span: one growing season. They’ll germinate, grow, flower, set seed and die all within one growing season. (Stay tuned to next week when we talk about the different types of annuals.) Annuals are usually prolific seeders. Think about how many seeds one dandelion head can produce. The prolific seed production is the reason annual weeds appear to be back year after year after year. The best way to manage annual weeds is to get ahead of them and prevent them from emerging at all. When applied properly at the correct time of year, pre-emergent herbicides will provide adequate control over weed seeds essentially breaking the cycle. Now the only thing you need to do is convince the neighbors to do the same thing…


 

Biennials

Biennials are a little harder to manage. Pre-emergent herbicides can be somewhat effective at preventing biennials from germinating, but what do you do with the weeds already present? As the name suggests, biennials take two years to complete their life cycle. Let’s look at an example: Queen Anne’s Lace, or wild carrot.

Year 1: Queen Anne’s Lace will germinate from seed the first year, but unlike annuals, it will not produce flowers or seeds during the first year. Biennials will grow to the vegetative stage and form a compact cluster of leaves with a thick fleshy root. These fleshy roots are difficult to pull by hand. The weed will then enter dormancy at the end of the growing season but will not die.

Year 2: Queen Anne’s Lace will come out of dormancy, finish growing through the vegetative stage and move into the flower and seed production phase. Queen Anne’s Lace is fairly recognizable during its second year but can be mistaken for carrots during the first year. Biennials in year two will flower prolifically, set seed, and then die at the end of that growing season.

Pre-emergent herbicides will help biennial seeds from germinating the first year but will do nothing to prevent established biennials from growing through year two if already established. Selective herbicides can be used if managing biennial weeds in an established turf. Use care in applying herbicides to manage biennial weeds in ornamental situations.

 


 

Perennials

The last length of life cycle we’re going to touch on are perennials. What makes perennial weeds so difficult to manage is the underground structures the weed uses to reproduce, namely stolons, rhizomes, tubers or bulbs. These underground structures serve as energy storage for the plant from year to year. While annuals will put all their energy into flower and seed production the first year, perennials will save a portion of that energy for following years. This energy storage also makes mechanical control difficult. When a perennial weed is mowed the weed has energy reserves with which to grow new flowering shoots or at the very least continue to increase energy stores with the remaining foliage. If a perennial weed is pulled it will most often re-grow unless ALL of the underground root structures are removed, which is really difficult to do.

With the efficacy of cultural and mechanical controls being limited the best option for perennial weed control will be a systemic herbicide. Contact herbicides will kill the top of the plant and leave the root system untouched. Systemic herbicides will be translocated through the root system, including the underground root structures, to kill the whole plant.

 


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Weed Biology Part 1 Monocot Vs. Dicot

Monocot vs Dicot: What’s the difference and why does it matter?

Weed management can be a difficult task for turf and ornamental managers. Sometimes our mechanical or cultural controls like mowing or mulching fail to control the weeds and our client isn’t happy. It’s important that turf and ornamental managers have a working knowledge of the weeds common to their region. Over the next several weeks we’re going to take a look at weed biology. Our first installment: monocots vs dicots.

What is a cotyledon?

A cotyledon is an embryonic leaf in seed-bearing plants. There are usually one or two cotyledons for most weeds and the cotyledons either contain or have access to stored food the seedling will need before it can produce its first true leaves. Plants with one cotyledon are called monocots and plants with two cotyledons are called dicots. In most cases the cotyledon in monocots, for example corn, will stay at or below ground level. When corn is planted, the kernel of corn doesn’t come up out of the ground, it stays below the soil surface. The cotyledon transfers the energy stores in the endosperm of the seed to the growing plant. Conversely, the cotyledons in dicots, a green bean for example, not only serve as energy stores for the new plant but will push up out of the ground and photosynthesize before the first true leaves emerge.

Monocot vs Dicot

The difference in the number of cotyledons is only the beginning of the differences between these two types of plants. Differences include venation patterns, vascular bundle arrangements, roots systems and flower anatomy.

In monocots like grass, corn, or daffodils, the veins in the leaves run parallel to each other along the length of the leaf or stem. The vascular bundles are usually arranged in a complex pattern and the root system is pretty fibrous. The flower structures in monocots are arranged in multiples of three.

In dicots like green beans, woodsorrel, and most woody trees and plants, the veins in the leaves form a complex, netlike system. Instead of running from one end of the leaf to the other, the veins will branch off one central vein to form a network. The vascular bundles in dicots will usually be arranged in a ring. These rings are most easily seen in trunks of trees. The root systems in dicots will usually have a primary taproot. Of course plants adapt as well as they can to the site they’re planted in, so dicots planted in extremely compacted soil may not have a well developed taproot. Lastly, the flower structures in dicots are arranged in multiples of four or five.

Growing Points

The last obvious difference between monocots and dicots is the location of the growing points. In monocots, the growing point is at or just below the soil surface and is often protected by a sheath. In dicots, there are multiple growing points which are located at the end of every stem.

The different locations in growing points is what allows turf weeds to be managed by consistent mowing. The growing point in turf is at the soil surface and is not damaged by consistent mowing. However, the growing points on weeds like bittercress or wood sorrel are above the soil surface. Consistent mowing means consistent removal of growing points for the weed.

Pesticide Use

Understanding the difference between monocots and dicots is also important when selecting a pesticide as part of an integrated pest management program. Non-selective herbicides aren’t usually the best choice when managing weeds in a turf stand, unless of course the intent is to wipe out all things green and begin again. Turf managers who need to manage broadleaved weeds (dicots) within their turf stand will want to apply a selective herbicide. 2,4-D is a great example of a selective herbicide. While applied to all vegetation in a turf stand, grasses inactivate 2,4-D while broadleaf dicots do not, thus killing the dicots while leaving the turf unharmed (when applied within label rates).

However, landscape managers will want to avoid spraying 2,4-D on planting beds as the herbicide will harm the desired plant. Landscape managers will want to select an herbicide that will kill the monocot weed (usually grass) such as sethoxydim to control grasses that are invading the planting area.


Want to know more?

Choose your state from the drop down below and check out the following courses for more information on managing weeds in both turf and ornamental areas.

Common Turfgrass Weeds

Common Ornamental Plant Pests

Home Lawn and Landscape Management

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Mississippi Honey Bee Stewardship Program

The protection of the honey bee has been a popular topic of conversation in recent years. While research into colony collapse disorder (CCD) continues, several stakeholders in Mississippi have collaborated to form the Mississippi Honey Bee Stewardship Program. The participants include beekeeper associations, agricultural consultants, and Mississippi State University Extension Service, just to name a few. We asked Tyler Smith to talk about the Mississippi Honey Bee Stewardship Program.

 

 

For more information on CCD and the Mississippi Honey Bee Stewardship Program, check out the rest of Tyler Smith’s class on Pollinator Stewardship!

You'll find this and more at Certified Training Institute's Pesticide Division. Click the button below, choose your state and get started today!


Pesticide Professional Continuing Education

Online state-approved video continuing education courses are available 24/7.

 

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Myth: Colony Losses Are Strongly Correlated To The Use Of Neonicotinoids

The use of pesticides has received a lot of blame for honey bee decline in the press, specifically neonicotinoids. Seed treatments are often used to protect seedlings from feeding insects. We asked our honey bee specialist Jeff Harris about the use of neonicotinoids as related to honey bee decline.

For more information on the health, stewardship, and myths surrounding honey bees, check out the rest of Jeff’s class titled Balancing Pest Management and Pollinator Health.

You'll find this and more by visiting Certified Training Institutes Pesticide Division. Click the button below, choose your state and get started today! 


Pesticide Professional Continuing Education

Online state-approved video continuing education courses are available 24/7.

 

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Myth: If Honey Bees Go Extinct, Humans Will Die Within Days To Weeks

There has been a fair amount of alarming press coverage regarding the decline of the honey bee population and the effect the lack of pollinators will have on the agricultural industry and food availability. Reports have been dire, to say the least. We asked our honey bee specialist Jeff Harris to talk about myth and the pollination sources of the world’s leading food crops.

 

 

For more information on the health, stewardship, and myths surrounding honey bees, check out the rest of Jeff’s class titled Balancing Pest Management and Pollinator Health. You'll find this and more at Certified Training Institute's Pesticide Division. Click the button below, choose your state and get started today!

 


Pesticide Professional Continuing Education

Online state-approved video continuing education courses are available 24/7.

 

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