Make us your home page

Timely tendings: Thin out root crops; watch for twig girdlers

Now that we are between jack-o'-lanterns and turkey, it's time to give serious thought to fall gardening chores. In the vegetable garden, thin root crops such as beets, carrots, turnips and radishes when they are overcrowded by removing the smallest plants to give the remaining plants room to mature. Radishes and carrots should be about 3 inches apart and turnips and beets 4 to 6 inches apart. It is not too late to plant vegetables. Cool season crops like broccoli, cabbage, greens and cauliflower still have plenty of time to mature before warmer weather returns.

An insect called the twig girdler is seldom seen but often very damaging to young trees. The female lays her eggs in the twigs of maple, oak, pine and pecan trees. She then chews around the twig so it will drop to the ground where the life cycle will be completed. The damage occurs when the central trunks of small trees are girdled. This changes the tree's structure and may result in a weakened tree. Larger trees are generally not damaged to any extent from the twig girdlers' "pruning." The only control measure is to clean up the fallen twigs and destroy them. This eliminates the next generation.

Information from Carol Suggs and Theresa Badurek of the Pinellas County Extension Service and from the Hillsborough County Extension Gardening Almanac. Go to the extension websites at and

Timely tendings: Thin out root crops; watch for twig girdlers 11/05/10 [Last modified: Friday, November 5, 2010 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours