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Fall represents excellent time to start insect control effort for next year's growing season

USU Extension

The gardening season isn't over yet for people residing in the Castle Valley region.

Fall is an excellent time for Carbon County residents to start control efforts for next year's insect pest problems.

Many damaging pests will over-winter in fallen leaves or other refuse around the base of the plants.

At the end of the growing season, people should clean up the leaves and organic matter from gardens as well as landscapes and compost the materials at a different location.

Properly composted organic matter should reach temperatures of 140 degrees to 150 degrees Fahrenheit. The high temperatures make it difficult for many insect pests as well as weed seeds to survive.

For more information about composting, local residents with Internet access may visit After accessing the Utah State University Extension website, visitors should click on the composting link.

Working - tilling or turning - the ground in the fall will also expose insects that over-winter in the soil to dry air and cold temperatures and thereby reduce the pest populations.

Examples of the insects include grasshoppers.

With fall tillage, it is a good idea for local residents to work the previous season's compost into the soil for the next year.

The practice will give the organic matter time to help improve the soil structure, which will help local residents grow healthier plants.

Healthy plants are more resistant to insect damage.

One other thing that can be done during the winter to help reduce insect pests is to spray deciduous trees and shrubs with dormant or horticultural oil.

A winter spraying won't hurt. But the best-timed spray is in the early spring, just as the buds start swelling.

There are a number of insect pests that over-winter under the bud scales and become exposed to the spray as the buds swell.

Residents should be sure to follow the label directions for plants and timing.

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