LSU AgCenter Horticulturists Dan Gill, Allen Owings and John Young write that fall through spring is when most folks add new plants to their landscape. This is the best time of year for planting trees, shrubs and ground covers, but it is also a time to be cautious about creating problems that could bring termites into your home.
LSU AgCenter experts suggest the following to reduce the possibility of termite problems:
- Situate gutters and slope your landscape beds so water drains away from your house.
- Keep mulch in beds adjacent to the house about 12 inches from the foundation.
- Do not add fill dirt or garden soil around the foundation or under porches or steps without contacting your termite company for retreatment.
- Do not disturb the chemical barrier at the base of the slab or around pilings by digging into it during bed preparation.
- Promptly remove all scrap wood and wooden debris from the landscape.
- Pine straw appears to be the mulch that is least attractive to termites. Avoid using wood chips to mulch beds adjacent to the house or other structures.
- Use metal edging, decorative bricks or border plants to edge your beds. Avoid landscape timbers, railroad ties or other wooden materials that may serve as food for termites.
- When watering, avoid spraying water against the foundation of your house.
- Leave at least 2 inches of space between your house and a deck or other wooden structure outside. Build decks and other structures on concrete pads and treat around the pads and posts.
- Do not allow clinging vines, such as English ivy or creeping fig, to grow on the wall of your house.
Visit LaHouse in Baton Rouge to see sustainable landscape practices in action. The home and landscape resource center is located near the intersection of Burbank Drive and Nicholson Drive (Louisiana Highway 30) in Baton Rouge across the street from the LSU baseball stadium. For more information, go to www.louisianahouse.org and www.lsuagcenter.com/lyn.