In Kansas, skunks typically begin looking for mates in mid- February to mid-March. Males will travel up to five miles in one night in search of a female. Males are not always successful in their quest, as they frequently are struck by cars during this time. Since skunks are more active now, it is a good time to be sure you take steps to prevent rabies exposure. Although rabies can infect any warm-blooded creature, skunks are particularly susceptible to the disease.
The best way to avoid rabies exposure is to avoid skunks. Warn children to never approach pet skunks or other wild animals. If an animal appears sick, injured, or if a wild animal seems tame, contact your local animal control office. Vaccinate dogs, cats and livestock against rabies.
You may also notice skunks are more active because you will smell them. Skunks have a superior defense mechanism — their famous spray. Skunk spray is an odorous, yellow-tinted, oily liquid that can permeate clothing and the environment for many days, whether the animal is alive or dead. If a skunk has sprayed you, your pet or your property, there are steps you can take to help reduce the odor. Removing skunk spray may involve deodorizing treatments, home remedies, and there are multiple commercial products including foggers and deodorizers available. For more information on skunks, rabies and removing skunk odor, contact the Extension office.
Lawn calendar for warm-season grasses
Spot treat broadleaf weeds if necessary. Treat on a day that is 50 degrees F or warmer. Rain or irrigation within 24 hours of application will reduce effectiveness.
Apply crabgrass preventer between April 1 and April 15, or apply preventer when the eastern redbud is in full bloom. If using a product with Barricade, apply two weeks earlier. Crabgrass preventers must be watered in before they will start to work.
* May to Aug. 15
Fertilize with one pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per application. More applications will give a deeper green color, but will increase mowing and lead to thatch buildup with bermudagrass and zoysiagrass.
Bermudagrass — Use two to four applications.
Zoysiagrass — Use one to two applications. Too much nitrogen leads to thatch buildup.
Buffalograss — Use one to two applications.
One application: Apply in June.
Two applications: Apply May and July.
Three applications: Apply May, June and early August.
Four applications: Apply May, June, July and early August.
If grubs have been a problem in the past, apply a product containing Merit or Mach 2. Either product should be applied by mid-July. Merit can be applied as early as mid-May if there are problems with billbugs or May beetle grubs. Both of these are referred to as grub preventers. Actually, they kill the grubs when they are small but are called grub preventers because they kill the grubs before they cause damage. These insecticides are effective and safe. They must be watered in before they become active.
June is a good time to core aerate a warm-season lawn. Core aeration will help alleviate compaction, increase the rate of water infiltration, improve soil air exchange and help control thatch.
* Late-July through August
If you see grub damage, apply a grub killer. If Merit or Mach 2 has been applied, this should not be necessary. Grub killers must be watered in immediately.
* Late October
Spray for broadleaf weeds if they are a problem. Treat on a day that is at least 50 degrees F. Rain or irrigation within 24 hours reduces effectiveness. Use the rates listed on the label for all products mentioned.
For more information or assistance on this or other topics, please call the Extension office at 272-3670, located at 501 S. Ninth St.