Monday, December 4, 2017

Questions From The Radio Show

Horticulture Hotline 12/04/17
By Bill Lamson-Scribner

Prevention and protection is the only way to be successful in controlling certain pest. Boring insects, sod webworms, “the nasty rascal, the chinch bug”, roaches, and termites are just a few of the many. Fungus is another pest best controlled preventatively.

On the radio show, “The Garden Clinic”, Saturdays from noon to 1:00, on 1250 WTMA (The Big Talker), this week David and I (The Super Garden Hero was doing good deeds elsewhere) had 2 questions about borers, so I decided to write a little about them today.

Borers are generally moths or beetles as adults. They fly around in the spring and lay eggs on leaf petioles (where the little stem that comes off a leaf attaches to the main stem), cracks in the bark, or wounds in the plant. With the recent hurricanes we have more cracks in the bark and wounds.

Generally, when the egg hatches, a larva emerges and tunnels inside the twig, tree, or vine. The larva is the part of the life cycle that does the damage by eating the cambium and effecting the flow of nutrients up and down the tree. Since larva get inside the tree, it makes it very difficult to control with spray or dust applications. The borer overwinters as a larva and emerges generally in the spring as an adult.

Treating the tree with a systemic product like Dominion or Safari as a ground drench as well as spraying the tree with Bifen XTS and Pentra-Bark to protect the tree from adults that are laying eggs and an oil product to suffocate eggs is a good strategy for high value trees. Depending on the borer, you would target your spraying when the adults are active (usually in the spring). Always read, understand and follow product label and consider a professional. Trees are expensive to remove and replace, and they are valuable to the landscape in many ways.

Prevention is critical with borers because once they are inside the tree or plant, the plant protects them. If you have borers, using certain fertilizer and watering techniques can help you keep the trees alive until you can manage the borers to an acceptable level. With certain borers in certain trees you can outgrow the damage.

Pest Management Professionals do a great job of protecting our homes from termites. You would not want to watch your house get eaten up then think, “hey, I might have a problem with my house. The second story toilet just fell through the floor with my mother-in-law on it.”

Termites do a lot of damage very quickly. The cost of protecting your house to prevent the damage is very low. If you have a reputable Pest Management Professional do the work, their insurance should cover any damage unless you violated the contract (example – added on a porch and did not let them know).

Termites are one insect that should be left to a professional to control. Termites attack what is generally our highest price asset – our home.

Brown Patch, moles, roaches, rats? Is this warm weather setting us up for winter kill?

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