Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Winter Wildlife Encroachment in Your Home

With the coming cool season around the corner people are  starting  to prepare for the  holidays, and just like us many  animals are also preparing  for winter. Now is the time many animals are seeking shelter from the coming cool months, and many times that shelter can also be our own home. Here are a few tips and a wonderful publication from UGA  to help prepare yourself for more than just the holidays. Most of the information below was provided by Michael T. Mengak from the Warrnell School of Forestry and Natural Resource at UGA.                                                                                                                                                                                                   
Photo Provided By UGA 
  • Chimneys — Cap chimneys to prevent raccoons, bats,    squirrels and birds from entering the house.                                    
  • Soffit vents — Keep vents in good repair since they are often used as an entry point for insects, bats and birds.
  • Gabled end of the house/barn — Block animals by using hardware cloth or screens that still maintain airflow to the attic and buildings. Gables are often the entry point for flying squirrels, gray squirrels, bats and birds like pigeons, wrens, house sparrows, European starlings and swallows.
  • Windows and doors — These are entry points for snakes, bugs, mice and some large animals like raccoons and opossums if the doors on garages or sheds are not closed or properly sealed. Close doors and windows, repair screens and maintain a proper weather seal.
  • Dryer vent — Vents are a common entry point for snakes and mice. Cover the vent with screen large enough to vent hot dryer air but exclude animals. Clean the screen regularly to prevent lint accumulation. Seal around the vent with expanding foam or weather seal.
  • Pipes and cables — Mice and bats can enter through the dime-sized holes where electric lines, phone lines, and satellite or cable TV lines connect to the house. Seal these holes with expanding foam or weather seal.
  • Remove food wastes from inside the house regularly,  and avoid keeping trash cans directly against the home.
  • Store all pet food in airtight containers when possible.
For more information on solving human- nuisance wildlife conflicts follow the link below, and always remember animals always need food, water, and shelter. If you can remove one of those three pillar requirements from your home the animals will likely move on, or not even bother choosing your home as their winter shelter. 

If you have any questions please contact your local extension office.

UGA Extension Office in Cobb County
678 South Cobb Dr.
Marietta, Ga 30060

Friday, September 22, 2017

Soil test NOW! for new Fescue seeding.

If you're about to renovate or plant a new fescue lawn, collecting soil for a soil test is a great first step. Sending a soil sample to the soil testing lab at UGA will give you information about soil pH (how acidic, or not, your soil is), and about the major nutrients you will need to provide the new grass to get it off to a good start.

Even better, the soil test report will tell not only how much of what fertilizer to use and how much limestone, if any, to apply, it will also provide a fertilizer schedule that you can follow for the next few years. 

Soil Sample bags.     PHOTO/UGA
Fescue lawns have very different needs, in both how much fertilizer and when to apply it, than warm season lawns like Bermudagrass and Zoysia, so the report will be very helpful. 

To take a good soil sample, you can follow directions in UGA's Soil Testing for Home Lawns, Gardens, and Wildlife Food Plots.

The basic steps though are to dig down several inches (into the root zone) to collect some soil from the area you want to establish fescue in, then put that soil into a bucket or bag. Then do that again, in 10-12 other spots in the planting area. Mix those all together, so you have a good composite sample. The lab will need about two cups of that sample, so save two cups of that soil to take to your county extension office.

When you are at the office, you will fill out some basic contact information on an official UGA soil sample bag. The lab fee for the basic soil test, when sent through the Cobb county Extension office, is $8. Other counties may charge a slightly different amount, so call the office first if you are in a different county. 

The Extension office will then send your sample to the soil lab in Athens. It can take 10-14 days for the results to be complete.