Ticks, deer, gardens and mowing height


By Dave Case

On Fertile Ground

Summer is flying by, it’s fair time and the first day of school isn’t far behind. Hope you’ve taken time to enjoy it via a nice vacation, some garden produce, family time at the fair or some other way.

First, while outside, don’t forget a hat and sunscreen! Best not to be ever on a first-name basis with your dermatologist!

Garden and Lawn Tips for August

Avoid applying nitrogen fertilizer to woody plants in the mid-summer. Why? It helps them slow down growth and get ready for fall and winter.

Plant vegetables to extend your season. Get Green Beans in by 8/1, Summer Squash, Lettuce, Spinach, Cabbage, and Broccoli in by 8/15.

Don’t spray chemicals in the heat of the day. Plants can be damaged, and the product is likely to not work as well. Spray in the morning or late evening.

Renovating your lawn? Mid-August through September is a good time.

While we are on lawns! Of all the articles I’ve written, my articles on mowing lawn height (we mow at 4.25-4.5”) have gotten the most attention! “Dave love your articles every month, but my husband/wife/other won’t let me mow that high!” Just know, anything I write here, they suggestions not mandates! Choice is always yours! But you’ll love it if you ever start it and your grass will love it, you won’t go back low!


Gotten any tick bites this summer? No, consider yourself lucky! If you’re outside enough, they are inevitable! Little known tick fact-Static electricity that is naturally produced by humans and animals can cause a tick to be pulled onto you! Isn’t that great news! So, it’s possible new tick sprays could be anti-static plus an insect repellent like Deet (diethyltoluamide). You can also use lemon eucalyptus or picaridin.

What else can you do? Light colored clothing so you can spot the tick easier. Tuck pant legs inside socks or boots and walk in the center of trails,

Insects to watch out for. Box Tree Moth. Another invasive species from Asia. It was found in the Cincinnati area in July. The damaging caterpillar stage of box tree moth is a mixture of yellow, green, and black. Also has stripes and dots that run along the side of the body. Monitor your boxwoods for this pest as well as boxwood leaf miner and boxwood psyllids.


Ever seen so many deer especially if you live in town? We ride the bike path all the time, and we see them nearly every ride! Nice to look at but they love plants and gardens! How did this happen? Fewer hunters are one reason. There are many other reasons like abundance of food, lack of predators, milder climate, etc.

What can you do besides hunt them? Fencing and netting is an option but can be unsightly, do you want an 8-foot fence? Could plant deer resistant plants, but too much of this can cause issues like overplanting of a species that could lead to disease issues, and they may not be the most attractive plant. What else? Ultrasonic devices and Infrared sensors that trigger lights. Chemical deterrents are the ones I’m most familiar with and work with every day with one of clients in my consulting business. There are a couple kinds of deer repellents.

Liquid Sprays. Usually strong smelling/bitter tasting. Encourages them to go someplace else. Garlic, rotten eggs, hot peppers, predator urine and Thiram are the most common. I work with products that use eggs, hot peppers and Thiram.

Granules. Same as above except a granule you spread around in deer prone areas. Release odors that discourage deer.

Moral of the story, no single method is 100%. Deer adapts to different repellents and most need to be re-applied as foliage grows and as the sun hits what you’ve sprayed, they degrade over time. Always follow the instructions and feel free to contact me on deer issues. I’ve been working in this part of my business for the past 11-12 years.

Champaign County Ag Sector

It’s seed kickoff time!

Seems like we just got the crop planted and it’s time to place an order for seed again! But it’s the best time to buy seed, you reserve what you want and save money and can change your order after harvest.

As you plan for 2024

Do your homework. Don’t always pick plot winners. Pick the ones that are consistently near the top.

Order with a good quality seed treatment. Have you heard the best yield potential is when it’s in the bag?! Seed treatments help preserve as much of this as possible and get your crop off to a strong start.

Look for hybrid and variety consistency. Farm 50 miles away from your home place? Does she still perform there on those soils?

Diversify genetics. Don’t just plant seed from different companies. Plant different genetics to diversify risk. Don’t buy a product that worked 3 states away.

Keep up with the latest germplasm. If you’re averaging 72 bushels on beans, a better variety might get you 75.

Evaluate traits. Your insect and weed control program start with genetics.

Look at maturity selection. Helps manage risk by having a broader planting, pollination and harvesting window.

Know your soil types. Droughty soil needs a different hybrid than black dirt than does your wetter ground. Same for level ground and hillier fields as far as ear placement.

Consider planting a test plot. Lots of work but might help you decide.

Tar Spot

We talked about Tar Spot last month. So far in 2023, positives in N. Indiana Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ontario and 4 western Corn Belt States. Thus far severity is extremely low. Scout by checking leaves in lower part of corn plant first and in

those fields that stay wet longer (low spots, river bottoms) and work up. Don’t get confused with rust or insect frass. Tar spots are firm and do not rub off.

Canadian Wildfire Smoke

Wildfires are causing air quality concerns not just for humans but also livestock and our crops. What’s the impact? How is it impacting crop development? It depends!

Positive Impact. It reflects and scatters sunlight. Sun penetrates deeper into the canopy. Also lowers leaf surface temperatures which reduces transpiration and thus water stress.

Negative Impact. Reduction in light availability which can reduce photosynthesis. Also, can increase ground level ozone which is harmful to human and plant health. This could lead to weaker stalks and lodging.

Overall, corn is more susceptible to negative effects of wildfire than soybeans during grain fill.

Crop report for Ohio shows 72% Good to Excellent for Corn and 63 % for Beans. Indiana is 60% G to E Corn and Beans and Kentucky is 55% G to E for Corn and 59% G to E on Beans

Question or comments? Email me at DaveCaseAg@gmail.com

A graduate of the University of Kentucky, Dave Case majored in Agronomy and Ag Econ with an emphasis in Weed Science. Dave’s career spanned Champaign Landmark, Crow’s Hybrid Corn Company and 30 years with Bayer CropScience. In 2018, Case formed Case Ag Consulting LLC. He is a member of Alpha Gamma Rho Agricultural Fraternity. He is on the Board of Directors of the Agribusiness Association of Kentucky, Chairman of the Ohio AgriBusiness Association Educational Trust Foundation and Secretary of the Alpha Gamma Rho Alumni Board. He is on the Board of Directors of the Champaign Family YMCA, Champaign County Historical Society Agricultural Capital Campaign Committee and is a Trustee for the Champaign County Farm Bureau. Dave and his wife Dorothy live on a small farm south of Urbana where they raise goats, cattle, chickens and various crops and they donate all profits to Pancreatic Cancer Research. Dave can be reached at DaveCaseAg@gmail.com.

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