My Birch Tree

Remember this tree, bent over in last winter’s snow storm?

Here it is today:

This is the bark:

Isn’t that stunning?

Unfortunately, saw fly larvae also love this tree. Every year I wage a battle against these:

Disgusting. Even the chickens won’t eat them! I’ve tried spraying on garden soap, which works, somewhat. This year, I’m trying to kill them with a fine oil spray. Any other suggestions?

Meanwhile, the mowing service didn’t come by last week. (They’re nice guys, but sometimes they forget about me.) So, instead of a lawn, I have a field of clover. The goats couldn’t be more pleased with the situation.


  1. Try spraying with some red pepper water. I might boil water with a bunch of red pepper flakes, let it cool and then spray. Who knows?

  2. Hmm..I wish i knew. I loved your comment about the goats though. It shows just how little it takes to make some creatures happy…and I meant that in a good heartwarming way. :-)

  3. Get some BT. I will attempt to spell it -baccillius thuringenisus. Its safe, organic, won’t hurt anything but the worms. Works on all kinds. Spray it on and when they eat the sprayed leaves they fizzle up and turn black. Cool!

  4. I tell my customers at the nursery to use a spray bottle with half rubbing alcohol and half water. Won’t hurt the plants and kills on contact…add a little soap to help it stick. Sometimes a good blast with a hose will dislodge them if the infestation is light. Hope that helps, Lucy Suitor Holt

  5. I’ve used the following on web worms for the last three years. It seems to kill them off fairly quickly and each year I have fewer and fewer worms. One gallon of water, one small bottle of red tabasco sauce, a third of a cup of Dawn dish washing detergent and a good sized plug of chewing tobacco, about the size of a quarter. Mix well and sit it somewhere nearby so that you can shake it up every now and then. After a few days it’ll be ready to use, you may have to strain it depending upon the type of sprayer you use. I use one of the pump type sprayers and never have a problem. This stuff really works– not sure which of the ingredients does the trick or if it’s just the synergy. I make a larger batch and use it all season– But do not use it on or near tomato plants because of the tobacco. Good luck! I’m a regular reader and really enjoy your blog. La’Nelle

  6. Terry, try La’Nelle recipe. My grandpa used a similiar if not the same mixture year after year. Let us know if you try it and if it works.

  7. What a beautiful field of white clover! I’m reading a book about organic lawn care (now that I have chickens I’ve got to learn about the safe alternatives :) and it says that white clover can take nitrogen from the air. It’s a great green (referring to it’s color, not it’s ecological footprint, though in some ways it’s that also) lawn alternative. My hens love it as much as your goats. I’m excited to try some of the wonderful insecticide suggestions here also!