We noticed this spider in our yard. I’ve lived in Utah nearly all of my life and have by no means seen one prefer it. Are you able to inform me what it’s?
This little magnificence is a cat-faced spider, also called the jewel spider (Araneus gemmoides). It’s one of many orb-weaving spiders, innocent, however very helpful. The pointed projections and dimples on the stomach resemble a cat’s face, particularly on the again facet, and provides these spiders their frequent identify.
I’m stunned you discovered your spider on a sidewalk, as cat-faced spiders aren’t actually “wanderers.” They’re frequent panorama spiders and environment friendly pest management companions within the backyard, tending, mending, and rebuilding their orb-shaped webs to catch bugs of all sizes. It’s commonplace to additionally discover them close to outside lights the place bugs are plentiful.
Within the fall, on the finish of the gardening season, mated females will discover a spot close to their internet to put their eggs. These mom spiders will die shortly after laying their eggs and all the opposite cat-faced spiders will die by the point frigid winter temperatures arrive in our space. The overwintering eggs will present the brand new technology of this necessary backyard helper.
I’m going to go to kin for a number of weeks this month. What ought to I do for my houseplants are OK whereas I’m gone?
Courtesy Meredith Seaver
What you do in your vegetation will rely on a few things- what sort of vegetation you could have and the way lengthy you’ll be gone. The season of the yr is all the time an element, however at the moment we’ll concentrate on maintaining your vegetation wholesome whenever you’re away through the winter.
Houseplants don’t want fertilizer through the winter, so the 2 necessary points in your vegetation when you’re gone are soil moisture and temperature.
Most cacti and different succulents can go three to 4 weeks or extra between deep waterings. They don’t want any particular consideration in the event that they’ve been watered earlier than you permit. Different indoor vegetation must be watered extra often, as soon as each one to 3 weeks, relying on the form of plant. There are additionally houseplants that do greatest with fixed, barely moist soil. These vegetation that want moist soil will want additional assist to get by means of your absence.
For those who’ll be gone for lower than ten days, you’ll be able to merely water your vegetation very deeply earlier than you permit and switch down your thermostat a number of levels. This deep watering is the fundamental first step for any plant, besides cacti and succulents which have already been lately watered.
For those who’ll be gone for greater than 10 days, or you could have vegetation which might be a bit extra demanding than the typical houseplant, there are extra issues you are able to do. Listed below are some solutions you’ll be able to strive on their very own or together.
- Group vegetation collectively to boost the humidity round them and gradual water use.
- Transfer vegetation a bit farther from their gentle supply to cut back their water use.
- Loosely cowl your vegetation with a plastic bag to cut back water loss out of your vegetation. Push skinny dowels, lengthy bamboo skewers or outdated chopsticks into the soil to maintain the luggage from resting towards the foliage. Don’t collect the bag tightly across the pot; there nonetheless must be some air circulation.
- Mulch the potting soil to gradual evaporation and preserve moisture for the roots of your vegetation. Sand, compost, perlite, high quality bark nuggets and aquarium gravel are all good choices.
- Think about using an automated watering system for houseplants. These techniques draw up water from a reservoir. The longer you’ll be away, the bigger the reservoir you’ll want.
Courtesy Anna Seaver
Reducing the temperature in your house can even scale back your vegetation’ water wants. Remember, although, that the majority houseplants are initially from tropical and semi-tropical climates so there are limits to how low you’ll be able to set your thermostat. 60-65 levels is a secure decrease restrict if in case you have quite a lot of houseplants.
Some vegetation want weekly consideration. When you have a special-needs plant, one which requires watering greater than as soon as per week, can’t tolerate cool temperatures, and so on., you’ll must enlist the assistance of a good friend or neighbor who can both verify on it at your own home or take the plant to their home. Written care directions will make their job simpler.