How can I get rid of cockroaches? I keep my apartment clean, sprinkled Borax and tried sticky traps, but they're still here.
Sticky traps help monitor roaches but can't solve the problem. And Borax is not the same as boric acid, a powder available at drugstores, which can be puffed into cracks and crevices, such as baseboards or between floorboards, to kill roaches. Roaches are thigmatic, meaning they like tight places. They are champs at squeezing in. Remove stashes of paper shopping bags (roaches also seem to like the glue). No matter how clean you keep your apartment, they get through from other apartments, so you need to work with the management. Openings around pipes and utilities can be plugged. See our website's publication HG 15: Cockroaches, in the Information Library section, for detailed trapping information.
Would you send me the free garden and pest information mentioned at the end of your Sun columns?
We have hundreds of publications and articles on topics ranging from termites and deer to vegetables, fruits, trees and shrubs. You can browse through the subject areas or in the Information Library on our website. Or call and we'll help you get the ones that address your interests or problems. If we do not have your topic already written up, we will send a specific answer (click "Ask MD's Gardening Experts" on our website) or answer it over the phone. If you're looking for a general reference on every aspect of gardening, however, we also offer the 600-page "UME Master Gardener Handbook" for $69.
University of Maryland Extension's Home and Garden Information Center offers free gardening and pest information. Call 800-342-2507 or send a question to the website at extension.umd.edu/hgic.
Plant of the week
If you have a sunny, damp area, lots of space and want a strong focal point, baldcypress could be the plant for you. This unusual native looks like a lofty needled evergreen in summer but drops its foliage in the fall, giving it the name "bald". Foliage is soft and flowing — yellow-green in spring, sage in summer, changing to russet in fall. In winter, its stately trunk has coppery peeling bark. An adaptable tree, it withstands dry and city conditions and can be used as a street tree. Planted in water, knobby "knees" grow from the ground around the trunk to provide more oxygen. Growing about 21/2 feet a year to a mature height of 50 to 75 feet, not only is it long-lived, but it is a low-maintenance native. —Ginny Williams