Approximately 70 percent of ticks are infected with Lyme disease, a bacterial infection that’s transmitted by tick bites. As more and more wild spaces fall to developers’ bulldozers, deer and other critters are forced to move into or closer to populated areas — bringing ticks with them.
Although ticks don’t eat plants, they do perch on flowers, shrubs, and grasses (both ornamental and turf types) while they wait for “dinner” to saunter by in the form of a human or other red-blooded animal. If the germ-totin’ terrors are hanging out in your flowers or ornamental grasses, cook their geese with this Toodle-oo Tick Spray. (The alcohol is the secret weapon here: It penetrates the ticks’ protective waxy covering so the soap can get in to do its lethal work.)
1 tbsp. of dishwashing liquid or liquid soap
1 gal. of rainwater or soft tap water
2 cups of rubbing alcohol
Mix the soap with the water in a 6 gallon hose-end sprayer jar, then add the alcohol. With the nozzle pressure turned on high, spray your plants from top to bottom — and make sure you get under all the leaves. Repeat whenever necessary. Just make sure you wait until evening to perform this maneuver; otherwise, the combination of sunshine and alcohol will burn your plants.