On top of the added moisture we have received the last two weekends, there is one insect in particular that has made its home on several trees during the same time.

Bob Coward, co-host of the Garden Show on WBCK, has talked extensively about the return of the gypsy moths to the region. Depending on the forestry or what trees you have on your property, you may hear the numerous sounds of crunching above you. From a personal standpoint, it can be deafening while on a golf course. That sound is one of two things - the months crunching on the leaves or "doing their business" (not my words. They're Bob's). The Michigan State University Extension went into detail on how you can rid gypsy moths with a couple of easy tricks, including soapy water or mashing them against the tree itself to disperse a fungal disease that can knock down a gypsy moth outbreak.

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The weekly look at the drought monitor is much more promising than it has been over the last two weeks (see below). Moderate drought (in orange) persists across the Central Lower Peninsula, but our area is back to slight drought with the sufficient amount of rain on June 18th and 19th. Don't be surprised if next week's monitor improves for the better. As a matter of fact, the amount of precipitation we have received in Battle Creek since June 18th (8.69 inches) has surpassed the amount of precipitation in the last five months (7.97 inches). The only sad news right now is the areas of flooding and Michigan as a whole remaining in 93 percent drought.

The Michigan Drought Monitor as of June 24, 2021. (Curtis Reganti - National Drought Mitigation Center)

The question remains, "Do we have to continue watering?" The answer is still yes. Depending on what you are growing, it still needs a sufficient amount to keep growing. If it's your lawn, just make sure that up to 1.5 inches of water is used during one week to keep your grass lush. For your plants, it may be alright to hold off for a day or two, but you won't to use as much unless fertilizer is being used. If you are looking ahead towards the first full week of July (below), get ready for some real growth with slightly above normal temperatures and precipitation on the way to Michigan.

The 8-to-14 day prediction of temperature and precipitation, covering July 5th through 11th. (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

Last but not least, we have officially arrived at Poison Ivy Awareness Week. Bob and I are spreading the word on how poison ivy can affect your life as a landscaper, gardener, or someone that loves the outdoors. We are providing details on how to identify the invasive weed, how to take care of yourself if you make contact with it, and how to remediate it from your grow space.

Be sure to tune in to the Garden Show every Saturday during the spring and summer months on 95.3 WBCK. Call 269-441-9595 with your gardening question, email co-host Nathan Adams or join us through the App Chat function on the WBCK app.

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