Directions

  1. Mix the bleach and water to produce a 10 percent solution. This works fine for most cleaning.
  2. Dip tools in the disinfectant after each use. For plants or trees that are already suffering symptoms, dip tools as you go along, cautions landscape consultant Mark Whirelaw. "II you are pruning severely diseased shrubs, or shrubs with highly infectious diseases, 1 recommend dipping the business end' of the pruners between making each cut."
  3. Alter disinfecting., your tools need tender loving care to prevent discoloration or corrosion. Rinse thoroughly, then rub them lightly with a clean steel wool pad

[VACH UP

Don't forget to clean your shovel, hand tools, gtoves, and even gardening shoes to prevent diseases from spreading, especially if you suspect a soil-borne disease. After you are finished working in the garden, wash your gloves and shoe soles in warm, soapy water and hang them out to dry. V

4. Sharpen the edges if you'd like, and oil the tools before storing them for the next outing.

Yield: About 1 gallon of tool-disinfecting dip

Variation: To destroy fire blight bacteria that afflicts apple and crabapple trees, use 3 cups of bleach in I gallon of water (a 20 percent solution), says Dr. H. Arthur Lamey, a plant pathologist with the North Dakota State University Extension Service in Fargo. Or you may use pine cleaner at hill strength, he says,- iust be sure that the label lists 19.9 percent pine oil.

Keeping plants clean and disease-free is the backbone of Donna Carriers job as owner of Organic Plant Care, an interior landscaping company based in East Swanzey, New Hampshire. Soap sprays are a crucial part of her strictly organic regimen, but they don't have to smell bad to work, she says. Donna concocted her own soap spray that's scented with fragrant herbs.

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