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Recommendation to “Stop Feeding the Birds” is lifted

Today, the Ohio Division of Wildlife is lifting its previous recommendation to stop feeding birds. However, caution and vigilance are always necessary to help prevent further spread of diseases at bird feeders.

  • Reports of sick or dead birds possibly affected with the mysterious bird illness in Ohio have slowed considerably. A majority of birds reported with the illness were immature or fledgling birds, and the breeding season is now primarily over.
  • There is still no diagnosis on the cause of the mysterious bird illness. Research is ongoing at multiple labs.
  • Many other songbird diseases can be passed through feeding. It is important to keep feeders clean: use a 10% bleach solution (1 part bleach, 9 parts water), rinse, and let dry at least once a week. Take a break (7-10 days) from feeding if you see sick or dead birds. This prevents birds from congregating and passing transmissible diseases.
  • Symptoms of diseases such as house finch eye disease and salmonellosis include reddish or crusty eyes, and neurological conditions such as poor balance and coordination.

The Division of Wildlife would still like reports of dead birds to be reported HERE.

If you find or observe a sick bird, please contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.

Keep up to date by visiting the Ohio Division of Wildlife HERE.

Fall Armyworms! Q&A

– Christine Gelley, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, Noble County OSU Extension

Fall armyworm damage can appear to simply be the affect of drought. Closer inspection is warranted.

We have had numerous reports of fall armyworm egg masses in lawns, pastures, and hayfields in Kentucky and Ohio beginning in mid-August and now significant damage is occurring from the caterpillars throughout the state. Therefore, we must keep a close watch on pastures, hayfields, lawns, and gardens over the next few weeks. There is enough time left before winter that another generation of moths could lay eggs, hatch, and consume exponentially more greenery that this generation is consuming right now. Whether you were aware of fall armyworms before or this is the first time you’ve heard of it, you likely have some questions. Let’s Continue reading

Through the Vine; the Fall, 2021 Newsletter is Posted

Find the Fairfield County Master Gardener, Fall 2021 newsletter, “Through the Vine” posted here in PDF format. Articles include:

  • Tapping Into Autumn’s Most Abundant Crop – Leaves
  • A message from our MG Coordinator, Connie Smith
  • Meet Carrie Brown – the new ANR Extension educator for Fairfield County
  • Fairy gardens at Wagnalls
  • What we can learn from flowers
  • A new fun sedum
  • Herbal recipes
  • Destinations; Wahkeena, Brookgreen Gardens, Pickerington Arboretum
  • Featured Book; The Last Garden in England by Julia Kelly
  • Fall gardening for old folks
  • See what’s happening in and around the garden

Savor Summer While It Lasts

– Christine Gelley, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, Noble County OSU Extension

This “squashkin” is a cross-pollinated squash X pumpkin

Garden harvest is well underway and as a result, the season of zucchini gifting has begun. One of my favorite parts of summer is witnessing how the gardener responds to the growth of their garden and how they share their gardening adventure with those around them.

In fact, you can join a national celebration of zucchini abundance on August 8, 2021- Sneak a Zucchini onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day. I promise, I am not joking. It is a real day. If you have an abundance of summer squashes, I encourage you to join in the fun, while respecting your neighbor’s privacy, of course.

Speaking of summer squash, this week a Continue reading

Be Careful When You Water

– Christine Gelley, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, Noble County OSU Extension

On a hot, sunny, day you may see your garden plants getting droopy in the summer sun and longing for a cool drink of water. As sorry as you may feel for the plants, it is better to wait to water until the heat of the day subsides. Even better yet would be to greet your plants with the morning light and offer them a drink before the day begins.

The danger of watering at the “wrong time” is leaf damage. Water droplets left on the leaves in intense sun can scald plant tissue and lead to dead patches on leaves. In turn, leaving plants with wet leaves overnight increases the risk of fungal pathogen establishment in your garden. If the method you use to water results in wet plant leaves, the best time to water is in the morning before 9 AM. Watering in the morning allows Continue reading

Through the Vine; the Summer, 2021 Newsletter is Posted

Find the Fairfield County Master Gardener, Summer 2021 newsletter, “Through the Vine” posted here in PDF format. Articles include:

  • New garden innovations
  • Connie’s Corner
  • Helping Hands in the Garden
  • Using pesticides safely
  • Spring clenaing for physical and mental health
  • Allelopathy defined
  • Pruning Hydrangeas
  • The importance of Vegetables
  • The Gardener directed by Sebastien Chabot
  • The Rose Code by Kate Quinn
  • Summer Nights on the Veranda
  • Summer Gardening for Old Folks – focus on composting
  • In/Around the Garden

Mosquito Prevention Season is Here

– Christine Gelley, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, Noble County OSU Extension

Mosquitoes can be transmitters of dangerous diseases of humans and animals. Photo: Getty Images

Mosquito activity is greatest during the months of May through October in Ohio. Mosquitoes are more than just annoying flying bugs. They can be transmitters of dangerous diseases of humans and animals. Globally, the mosquito is the vector of diseases that kill 700 thousand to one million people annually. The most prevalent cause of mosquito related deaths is malaria. While malaria has been eliminated from the United States since the 1950s, there are several other diseases that the Ohio Department of Health tracks and works to suppress including eastern equine encephalitis virus, La Crosse virus, St. Louis encephalitis virus, and West Nile virus. Of the 59 mosquito species that inhabit Ohio, only five transmit human diseases. Occurrences of mosquito-borne disease varies drastically year to year and regionally depending on the weather.

Rainy and warm conditions are prime for mosquito development.  Mosquitoes breed in still water. Anything that can hold water can be a mosquito breeding Continue reading

Backyard Composting; The How-To’s

– Christine Gelley, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, Noble County, OSU Extension

Compost bins can be ‘homemade and handy’ as exhibited by these made from old wire fence by Fairfield County Master Gardener A Lise Ricketts

One of the key elements of healthy soils is the presence of organic matter. Organic matter is the decayed residue of living things. Adding organic matter to the soil in your garden, lawn, or crop field can improve water infiltration and water holding capacity, nutrient access to plants, loosen dense soil texture, and lead to healthier plant growth on the surface. Every citizen has the ability to contribute organic matter back to the soils in their community in some scale through composting organic wastes.

There are many methods of composting that can be employed depending on the amount of waste generated by the household or business. Composting reduces excess deposition of organic wastes in landfills and recycles nutrients naturally by promoting speedy decomposition of organic tissues into soil media. From a coffee can on the counter to composting with worms in a Continue reading

Wildlife Babies Are Best Left Alone

– Christine Gelley, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, Noble County, OSU Extension

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Each year the Ohio Division of Wildlife (ODW) reminds Ohioans to avoid removing young wildlife from their natural habitats. Advice from ODW is that human intervention is the last hope for wildlife survival and never its best hope.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) provides the following statements in regard to perceived orphaned and/or injured wildlife.

“Wildlife parents are very devoted to their young and rarely abandon them. Many species are raised by only one parent (the mother) and she cannot be in two places at once. This means that baby wildlife must be left alone several times during the day or even the majority of the time while the Continue reading

Gourmet Goodies for Rural Foodies

– Christine Gelley, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, Noble County, OSU Extension

With mushroom season upon us, when foraging for wild edibles be sure you know which are safe to eat.

Every spring questions ring in about some of the most desirable and delicious wild foods you can find in Ohio- morel mushrooms. Foraging for wild edibles is a topic that I find incredibly challenging to address with clientele because proper identification of a plant or fungus can be the difference between a gourmet dinner and a grueling stomachache or worse, an untimely death.

Fortunately, morels are one of the easiest mushrooms to identify, but if you have any doubt that the mushrooms you have found are not true morels, you should not consume them or prepare them for others. There are false morels that appear in the same time frame and habitat that are poisonous. Proceed to forage with Continue reading