"Too much love can mean too many problems" By Aaron Sumrall, PhD County Extension Agent Agriculture & Natural Resources

   It is very uncommon to hear such a comment – Too Much Love. 
   In the last several weeks I have seen this statement playing out in many instances throughout Matagorda County. Still confused? 
   The basis for this statement is somewhat as uncommon as the statement itself. 
   In my role as your County Extension Agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources, I have the privilege to meet with many of you individually either in the office or at your property or home because of some situation that you are experiencing. 
   The array of concerns for which I am contacted vary from lawn and ornamental to agriculture and wildlife. 
   The season of year or weather pattern dictates as much of the concern as what is being affected. 
   As a homeowner or land manager, we have an inherent drive to care for what we deme as needing care for fear of something adverse befalling what is valuable to us. 
   This desire can cause us to provide “too much love” and make an undesirable situation worse. 
   Lawn turf and ornamentals are the recipient of too much love quite often. 
   Lawn turf and ornamentals are much like any other living organism in that the more “love” they get, the more they expect. 
   When homeowners water, feed, etc…, turf and ornamental plants will grow (no pun intended) accustom to the attention and show acute and dramatic affects when it is not held constant much like pets or people. 
   Typically, this is made evident when the care is not continued. However, detrimental effects can frequently be observed when the care given becomes excessive for prolonged periods. 
   The humid climate of Matagorda County is conducive for many things that can go bad with a little too much love. 
   Prolonged and/or excessive watering frequently leads to problems with fungus and/or preventable disease issues. 
   Excessive watering can also lead to ongoing or escalated mosquito populations. 
   Standing water is an optimal breeding ground for mosquitoes but is not exclusively required. 
   Lawns that remain damp from too much water is perfect for a mosquito apocalypse. 
   Many mosquito species will only travel a very short distance (<100 yards) during their life so many homeowners are assisting in their own mosquito problems. If you have irrigation systems on a timer, turn them off during wet conditions. 
   Conduct soil testing to determine if feeding is even needed. Many fungal concerns can be alleviated with fungicide applications in spring and fall.
   Wildlife conflict calls typically increase in the fall and this year is holding true to course. 
   Homeowners will often implement or increase feeding wildlife during the fall to intercept and see migratory birds or get the fall festive squirrels a little closer for the best picture possible. 
   Don’t take my word, look at Facebook! 
   The calls typically revolve around a wildlife critter taking up residence in a location that they are not wanted or “Fluffy” can’t eat due to wildlife neighbors crashing the party at the food bowl. 
   A few things to keep in mind can stop most of the problems. Wildlife are much like us in that we do not want to take many steps until we collapse after we have eaten a big meal. 
   When squirrels, raccoons, etc. begin to find a way into your attic or garage, they are doing exactly what is expected. 
   They are looking for a “bedding area” not too far from the food source. 
   In this instance you have a few options: quit feeding, look at ways to restrict the unwanted critter from the food source, and/or look for the way that they are gaining access to where they are not needed and fix the problem. 
   If you are having with a wildlife free-for-all at the dog bowl change the pattern. 
   Feed outside pets in the middle of the day. 
   Most wildlife species are most active from evening until morning. 
   Any food not consumed before dark by pets should be picked up. 
   A few days of the grocery store on the porch being closed will cause wildlife to move on to look for a nutritional food source. 
   Wildlife are much like every other living thing in that they are going to exhaust every easy method available at sustaining life before they actually have to work at it. 
   So as with many other aspects of life, a little tough love may be exactly the perfect solution to your situation. 
   Take care and have a great week. God Bless!

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