Monday, April 18, 2011

A Few Spring Pests

Everything is coming to life. The beauty of the Spring season has arrived. I’m going to write about some of the less desirable pests that come along with Spring this morning. These pests may be insects, fungi, or other situations in or around the landscape.

I also wanted to thank everyone that came out and met with Dr. Tee Senn. He is quite an amazing man at 93 and still very passionate about seaweed (Ascophyllum nodosum) and humates. I hope those of you who heard him on the ”Garden Clinic” enjoyed his wit and knowledge as well.

The Nasty Rascal, the chinch bug is already sucking the juices out of St. Augustine grass (Charleston grass) across the Lowcountry. Chinch bugs were super bad last year, and, as I write, they are damaging grass this year. When the weather is dry, a beneficial fungus that keeps The Nasty Rascal in check dies, and the chinch bug populations explode. That is why chinch bugs effect the hottest, driest part of the yard, and you rarely see them in the shady areas. Sevin granular, Tirade, EcoPCO WP.X (organic) or Aloft should give you some relief.

With the cool nights, Powdery Mildew fungus has nailed our Crepe Myrtles, Roses, Dogwoods and other plants. I have seen it on “resistant” Crepe Myrtles that usually do not get Powdery Mildew. Of course resistant does not mean that a plant will 100% not get it. Powdery Mildew is very easy to recognize on a Crepe Myrtle. Just look right at the tips on the new growth, and you will see what looks like powdered sugar on the foliage. Neem Oil (organic), Honor Guard, Kestrel, and Systemic Fungicide (Fertilome) will help control this pest. Crepe Myrtles bloom on new growth, so it is very important to control this disease now.

Termite swarms have been spotted in the area. In a stump 100 feet from you house, most likely not a problem. Call the pest control company that has the bond on your house, so a professional can take a look.

Gnats, oh yeah, they come out whenever the weather is perfect. Mosquito Repelling Granular (the product formally known as Gnat Scat) and Liquid Net are both organic products that should help you enjoy the outdoors a little more. Bifen, Cyonora, and Cyzmic should help with gnats and other insect pests.

Leaf Gall on Sasanqua Camellias and Azaleas are effecting the new growth. At this point in time, just remove them carefully so the spores do not spread everywhere and destroy them. The old books would say burn the infected leaves, now days the trash can would do fine.

So much to write about, so few column inches… Charleston Horticultural Society’s Plantasia is coming up Friday (the 29th) and Saturday (the 30th), check their website for more details. The Rose Society’s Rose Show is coming to Citadel Mall Saturday May 7th from 1pm until 5pm. These roses will blow your mind. Exhibit or just look at the displays.

Always read, understand and follow product label. The product label is a Federal Law.