A Few Dibbles And Bits

Reason to prune trees, chickens as a pesticide alternative, and a plant labeling tip are this week’s Plant Exchange Blog topics. We are grateful to all who share plant-relative information, ideas, and tips from experience that come from professionals and experienced gardeners of the region such as these below.


  • Trees that are properly pruned have a better chance of surviving high winds with the canopy intact, according to Dr. John Ball, Forest Health Specialist for SD Department of Agriculture and SD Extension Forester. He saw a lot of tree damage from the recent wind and tornados in Sioux Falls and recommends the following to reduce storm damage: Prune young trees to a single stem. Also prune ash trees that are being treated for emerald ash borer. If Siberian Elm is unwanted, he suggests steps to remove it. More details in Pest Update for September 11that this site: https://sdda.sd.gov/conservation-forestry/forest-health/tree-pest-alerts/PDF/2019/09-11-2019.pdf


  • A garden pesticide alternative that Wayne Nelson-Stastny of Yankton uses in his country garden is four chickens. By their behavior, the hens may be garden pets with benefits. When Wayne talked near the garden entrance gate, the hens stayed close to him and the gate, attentive to Wayne’s voice. The hens make chicken sounds among themselves, maybe conjecturing if Wayne would allow them inside the garden today. “I grow squash, zucchini, and pumpkins, so they keep the bugs at bay. They also bring eggs and have manure for the garden. They do peck tomatoes, but I forego that for what they do for the garden,” Wayne said. Chickens have a coop when eagles fly overhead, insect delicacies besides other food, freedom of a large fenced backyard and a family that enjoys their company.


  • How can we make our labeled plant tags last past the season? Plastic tags take time to label with codes or information desired to keep with the plant as it grows, but the information we write on tags tends to fade over time. If the tags can be re-used the next season, that’s a time-saver. Ariana Terry, Master Gardener intern of Yankton orders slightly rough surface plant tags on Amazon and uses Artline Garden Markers for non-fade markers. Then the tag information remains readable for another season. One local source of the markers is One Solution office supplies on Broadway in Yankton.

Do you have comments to add to these topics? See you next week at Plant Exchange Blog!

One thought on “A Few Dibbles And Bits

  1. Evergreen trees are more susceptible to storm damage through winter because they are heavier and more resistant to wind than defoliated deciduous trees are. In milder climates, where they will not be damaged by the weight of ice and snow, damage to deciduous trees is mostly limited to those that are deteriorating or overgrown. Damage is more likely prior to defoliation, or especially while trees are foliating in spring.

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