Sedgwick County master gardeners answer gardening questions from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. weekdays at 316-660-0190. Here are some of the questions they've been fielding this week.
Do you need to winterize a rain barrel?
Yes. Either open the drain plug toward the bottom and leave the faucet open, or better yet, disconnect and drain the barrel for the winter to avoid damage from ice buildup. If you disconnect it, then you need to reconnect the regular downspout for the winter.
Why do earthworms come out of the lawn and die on the sidewalk and driveway?
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When soil is saturated (after heavy rain or watering), earthworms may come out of the lawn for oxygen then dry up before they get back to the soil. This happens more often in fall and spring. Some yards have higher earthworm populations because of loose, healthy soil and thus may have higher amounts of worms drying up on the driveway after rainy weather.
Can pine wood be kept for burning in the fireplace?
Ideally no. Trees that died from pine wilt still have the pupae or adult of the pine sawyer beetle inside. The beetles can emerge from any wood that is not burned by the following May to infect other pines with the pinewood nematode that causes pine wilt. When we say to destroy the trees by burning, burying or chipping, this means to burn them in a pile in a rural area when danger of fire spreading is not present.