To begin with, I wish to apologize for the delays in posting new blogs. Since my last posting I have been extremely busy, especially with Master Gardener work, which has included bi-weekly talks at DeBary Hall, (call 386-668-3840 to learn topics and dates), and various garden and civic clubs.
Let me comment on some current concerns that you may be experiencing:
Pests – We are still plagued with various insects, including the emergence of grasshoppers, scale, spider mites, and aphids; and if that’s not enough, we also have numerous weeds to contend with. Although I’ve commented on these before, I’d like to offer suggestions on what to do:
Grasshoppers – look for the emergence of “baby” black hoppers from your soil. Usually you’ll find them massed on one or more of your ornamentals and even some weeds. If they’re still small (approx 1/2” or less), they can easily be controlled with almost any household spray, such as Raid, which I’ve found to be very effective. As these pests grow, they develop an exoskeleton that is difficult to control. I’ve found hand picking and destroying them works best.
Scale – They continue to be a problem on numerous ornamentals, camellias and sago palms especially. Several repeated applications of either an insecticidal soap or systemic insecticide are needed, and remember to spray the entire plant, not just the upper leaf surface. Scale is usually seen on the underside of leaves and stems.
Spider Mites – Whenever we have extended periods of hot dry weather, these pests emerge. Frequently check your plants by looking for cobweb-like structures and small moving “dots” on the undersides of your plant’s leaves. If found, use insecticidal soap or Bayer’s Complete Insect Control to eliminate them.
Aphids – Because of our warm weather, our plants are pushing out flushes of new growth, which is where you’ll usually find these pests. Another sign to look for are ants going up and down your plant stems. They are “herding” the aphids like cattle as they like the honey dew they secrete. They can be washed off with a hose, or eliminated with an insecticidal soap application.
Future blogs I’ll be discussing fertilizers, pruning, and soil tests.
Have fun gardening.