32JULY 20, 2011

Little problems appear to be showing up in gardens around the area. Let me tell you about a few of the problems and the solutions to those problems.

Earwigs are a long, slender, brown insect with a distinctive pair of pincers on its hind end. They feed on leaves of plants leaving brown circular scars on the leaves. At first glance, you might think that the damage is from a fungus disease, but a closer look will allow you to see that the surface of the leaf has been scrapped off the leaf. Earwigs feed mostly at night, making it hard for you to see the insect on the plant. The insecticide Spinosad works very well at controlling this insect. It is also sold as a combination product with the Spinosad and slug control all in one container.

The hot weather last week and this week will mean an increase in the numbers of spider mites on your plants. Spider mites are a tiny insect. They are so small that you might not even see them on your plants. When you have large numbers of them on your plants, you may see tiny strands of webs on the leaves. The telltale sign of spider mite damage is the changing of the leaves from green to a silvery color. Spider mite populations can skyrocket in just a few days when the temperatures reach the upper 80’s and into the 90’s. Many insecticides will control this insect but the ultimate way to control this insect is to apply the insecticide every 4 days for about 2 weeks. Spider mites can go from egg to adult in about 4 days so waiting too long between applications of insecticide will allow the spider mites time to get re-established on your plants.

Hot and dry weather can mean damage to your lawn from an insect called chinch bug. During a prolong spell of hot and dry weather, many lawns will change color over the entire lawn from green to light green to yellow to brown. This is the normal color change of a lawn going dormant during the heat of the summer. However, if you notice a brown area in your lawn and the brown color slowly expands across the lawn while other areas remain green, then the chinch bug is the likely culprit. There are many insecticides that will control this insect. It is important that you watch for this insect and react quickly to controlling this insect. Once the chinch bug has damaged a section of lawn, the grass is dead and you will need to re-seed the area to get the grass to grow again.

This week is forecast to be very hot. This will mean that many of your plants will dry out quickly. It is important to give your plants a thorough watering in the morning. This allows the plants to take up the water they need to survive the heat of the day. This is especially important with plants that are grown in containers. When you water container grown plants, add enough water so that water drains out the bottom of the pot. This allows all of the soil in the pot to get the moisture needed. If the soil has dried out completely, you will need to add water, wait about 10 minutes and water the soil again. Once container-grown plants have dried out soil, it is hard to get the soil to re-absorb the water. This is why you water and then water again. This allows the soil to expand again in the pot and then with the second application to actually hold some water. If you must water your plants in the evening due to dry soil, make sure that you do not wet the foliage of the plant. Wet foliage at night is a sure fire way to get fungus diseases growing on your plants.

Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.

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