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The skunk spray (phew!) antidote

Every year I get requests for information on how to get rid of skunk stink on dogs, cats or objects around the yard. People have tried all sorts of concoctions and none of them seem to work!...

Every year I get requests for information on how to get rid of skunk stink on dogs, cats or objects around the yard. People have tried all sorts of concoctions and none of them seem to work!

But here's one that might work: Mix 1 quart of 3-percent hydrogen peroxide, a quarter cup of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of liquid detergent. Mix it quickly and dowse it all over your dog. (This also works on cats and inanimate objects) Give him, her or it, a good soaking with the stuff. Wait five minutes then rinse it off. Do it again if you need to.

How does it work? It uses the process of oxidation, in that the mixture neutralizes thiols (the chemicals that make skunk spray stinky) by inducing them to combine with oxygen, supplied by the hydrogen peroxide. Thereby changing the smelly chemicals that make skunk spray stinky into chemicals that don't stink at all.

Make sure you use the mix right away when you make it. It won't work later if you try to save it, because there is no way to store it. If you put the ingredients in a bottle and cap it, the whole thing would explode from a buildup of pressure.

Give this formulation a try the next time one of those stinky little black and white critters deposits it's calling card! For more information contact me: Will Yliniemi, Hubbard/Becker Extension at (218) 732-3391, (218) 846-2378, or by cell at 1-218-252-1042 or by e-mail at ylini003@umn.edu .

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Transplant Shock in Newly Planted Trees

People who plant trees are nearly always amazed at how long it takes before their newly transplanted trees really take off with rapid and adequate growth! Most of the poor growth can be attributed to something called transplant shock Transplant shock is that period of adjustment every newly planted tree experiences while adjusting to its new environment. Proper site selection will help minimize transplant shock. Consider soil type and drainage, amount of water and light available and surrounding plants.

Once the tree is in the ground, you can do several easy things to help the tree adjust. Long-term care requirements include regular watering, mulching around the tree and fertilizing and pruning when appropriate.

In the past it was thought best to fertilize right after planting to give the tree an extra boost of energy to help it adapt to its new environment. Please Note: This practice has been changed, and foresters with the U of M Extension Service say it's usually best to wait and fertilize at two or more years after planting.

By fertilizing the tree right after planting, you're forcing it to grow beyond what the root system may be capable of supporting. This will increase the amount of time the tree experiences transplant shock and the amount of time needed for it to adjust to the new environment. Fertilize a year after planting only when there's a known nutrient deficiency at the planting site.

If you're concerned about whether your tree may be experiencing transplant shock or if you have other questions, call a local nursery, a certified arborist, a Master Gardener or you can contact me: Will Yliniemi, Hubbard/Becker Extension at (218) 732-3391, (218) 846-2378, or by cell at 1-218-252-1042 or by e-mail at ylini003@umn.edu .

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