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How to Deter & Prevent Ticks in the Landscape
Hi-Yield Bug Blaster Bifenthrin 2.4 RTS
Hi-Yield Bug Blaster II Granules
I Must Garden Flea, Tick & Mosquito Repellant (All-Natural)
Hi-Yield 38 Plus Turf Termite and Ornamental Insect Control

Tick Tips from the Garden Guru

Mike Westphal, the Garden Guru, shares some helpful tips and products you can use to deter and prevent ticks in your yard.

Ticks can be a big problem in Hampton Roads, and as the weather warms, they become more active in our area. People are more likely to be heading outdoors to hike, work in the yard and head to the beach, and ticks live in tall grass and thick brush as well as thick, wooded areas. And, if you have deer that roam the neighborhood, then ticks may also be more prevalent. Regardless of where you live in the Hampton Roads area, ticks can be an issue.

Here are some helpful tips and products you can use to prevent ticks in your yard or neighboring areas.

Using personal spray or repellants that have Deet and/or lemon eucalyptus oil or other natural repelling oils will help keep ticks away when outdoors. When hiking or working in tall grass or thick brush, wear light colored clothing and long pants that can be tucked into your socks to prevent ticks from getting underneath clothing. Light colored clothing makes the ticks more visible to the eye. Inspect your pets and kids every 4-6 hours to keep ticks out of the house.

Keep your lawn mowed to a normal height, 5 to 6 inches or lower depending on your lawn type. Keep shrubs trimmed to increase air flow and deter ticks. Remove dead and fallen branches and old brush as this is also a favorite hiding place for ticks. Ultimately, keeping your yard neat and tidy will discourage tick infestations.

However, no matter how neat and tidy your yard may be, ticks can still be active, so the best solution is to treat your yard to either eliminate or repel them.

Bug Blaster by Fertilome comes in both a liquid spray and granule application. It can last more than six weeks as a residual in mulch, leaves, and grass and is safe for all ornamental plants and around the home. Spray it as barrier or in naturalized areas around your home, and if a tick crosses over or comes to rest on a treated area, it will die. You can also use the granules around the home or in the lawn. Granules are easy to apply and can be left to be naturally watered-in by rainfall or by using a sprinkler or hose. Once applied and dried, it is safe for all pets and people.

Broad Spectrum Insect Spray by Fertilome is a lighter formulation of Bug Blaster and is safe to use around vegetables and edibles. As always, read the label and instructions completely before using any insecticide.

I Must Garden Flea, Tick and Mosquito Repellant uses all-natural oils and scents that repel and kill ticks in your yard. It comes in an easy to apply Ready to Use spray for small areas, and a Hose End Sprayer for larger areas. If allowed to dry completely before irrigating or rainfall, it can last between 2-4 weeks depending on environmental factors.

Permethrin is a long-used insecticide and trusted by many professionals. Permethrin is available in two formulations from Hi Yield, 38Plus Concentrate and Indoor/Outdoor Broad Use Insecticide. The residual can last about four weeks and a little goes a long way. 38Plus only takes .5-1 ounce per gallon, which means it can cover larger areas easily. Always read the label and instructions completely before use.

Monarch Butterfly Feeding on Tropical Milkweed

Feed Them & They Will Come, Annual & Perennial Milkweed

The monarch butterfly has long been an ambassador of nature in the garden and a symbol of summertime. Generations of schoolchildren have raised monarchs in classrooms, watching in awe as caterpillars transform into beautiful orange-and-black adult butterflies. Yet monarch butterflies, once a familiar sight, are plummeting toward extinction (by 90 percent in the last 20 years). One of the main reasons for their decline is a lack of milkweed, the species’ only caterpillar host plant. Without milkweed, monarchs are unable to complete their lifecycle. By planting milkweed in your garden or neighborhood, you provide an essential habitat that will allow caterpillars to survive. A garden that's good for butterflies is also good for other pollinators such as bees and hummingbirds who often share the same nectar plants and utilize the same habitat. And, butterfly gardens are a great way to bring life and color into your yard. Here are some recommendations on perennial and annual milkweeds for Hampton Roads' gardeners:


Tropical Milkweed (Asclepia Curassavica) – this annual milkweed features showy red and yellow flowers and is preferred by egg-laying female monarchs to the other milkweeds when given a choice. Grows fast and easy from seed and flowers all summer long. Matures to approximately 2-3 feet tall and prefers full sun to partial shade. Plant in the garden or in containers.


Common Milkweed (Asclepias Syriac) - is the plant most people think of when they hear the word “milkweed.” This variety produces a profusion of fragrant, lavender to pink flowers in midsummer with nice, plump leaves that will feed plenty of caterpillars. Blooms from late spring well into summer. Common milkweed spreads by runners making it ideal planted in naturalized areas. Typically grows to 2-4 feet tall and thrives in almost any well-drained soil spot.

Butterfly Weed (Asclepias Tuberosa) - the 2017 Perennial Plant of the Year, this milkweed is easy to grow and is the only perennial milkweed that produces vivid, orange flower clusters. Butterfly weed grows to around 18-24 inches tall and wide, making it a perfect fit for small space gardens. This blooming beauty also makes a nice cut flower. Prefers full sun.

Swamp Milkweed (Asclepia Incarnata) - a taller, clump-forming milkweed that comes in fragrant, pink (Cinderella) or white (Ballet) flower clusters. This milkweed reaches 3-5 feet tall and prefers full sun and average to moist soil conditions but can also tolerate slightly dryer spots.

Whorled Milkweed (Asclepia Verticillata) - a shorter perennial milkweed with white flowers clusters and needle-like foliage. This variety blooms a little later in the season providing color in your garden when most flowers have disappeared. Whorled milkweed can survive in partial shade whereas other milkweed species need full sun to produce sufficient blooms. Whorled grows to approximately two feet tall making it ideal for those that have small space gardens.

TIP: Plant both annual and perennial milkweeds, so there is plenty of food for the hungry monarch caterpillars. Growing a good variety of nectar flowers also helps to sustain all beneficial insects, adds beauty to your yard, and contributes to the overall health of the local ecosystem. Some of our favorite nectar flowers include lantana, butterfly bush, coneflower and zinnias.

Salvia "Hot Lips"
Salvia "Hot Lips"

Pucker Up with Salvia “Hot Lips”

Salvia, a member of the mint family, has nearly 1000 species of shrubs, herbaceous perennials, and annuals. Its blooms offer long-lasting color and attract butterflies and pollinators. Salvia is typically a rapid grower and tolerates summer heat with graceful, spiky blooms and is available in a variety of colors including blues, purples, pinks, reds, as well as, some whites and yellows.

We're giving lip service to Salvia “Hot Lips,” a stunning, fast-growing, drought tolerant perennial that blooms from mid-summer through fall. Its distinctive bi-colored blooms add a pop of color to the summer garden or potted container. A vivid red band accents the glowing white blooms, which cover the upright stems in pairs and is backed by fine, green foliage. The flowers look like miniature lips, hence its name, 'Hot Lips.' This salvia prefers full sun to part shade and works well in beds, borders, containers and in mass plantings. “Hot Lips’ is a hummingbird favorite but is usually ignored by deer.

Plum Dandy Alternanthera

Plum Crazy for Alternanthera Plum Dandy

Alternanthera is delightful foliage plant that is both easy to grow and care for. Although these plants don’t have interesting blooms, they more than make up for it with their striking, jewel-tone foliage. With plenty of varieties to choose from, alternanthera offers a wide range of leaf shapes, sizes, and textures. Outdoors, low-growing varieties are ideal as an edging plant next to sidewalks and pathways. Taller varieties can be mixed into borders where its colorful foliage adds contrasting hues. Their compact size and bright color also makes them an excellent choice as a filler plant in containers.

Alternanthera Plum Dandy offers depth and drama in a sweet, simple package. Featuring oval shaped, plum-colored foliage, this low-mounding variety is perfect for softening the edges of patios or walkways and can easily be pinched to fit just about any shape. Its compact size and bright color also makes it an excellent choice for container gardens. Plum Dandy is heat tolerant and prefers partial to full sun (4 plus hours) and grows to approximately 10 to 16 inches tall and 1 to 1.5 feet wide.