May 11, 2017
Insect Detectives + Tennis Court into Gardens
Cloudy days prompted this aster to jump ahead of schedule. Pollinators don’t mind an early taste of fall flowers!
Parsley’s on the way out, but not before tiny pollinators hit up soon-to-bloom flowers.
And maybe we’ll get Eastern Black Swallowtail caterpillars.
Most of our insects are doing us a big favor! For pests out of control, Wizzie Brown, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension-Urban IPM, shows how to identify damage and steps to take.
First, find out what’s bugging you! Sucking insects like aphids, whiteflies and chewing insects like spider mites cause yellow or even browned leaves. And that “rain” coming from your trees? That’s honeydew they’re excreting, that leads to sooty mold on your plants and a big mess on your car.
Spider mite webbing out of control
True bugs like harlequin bugs, stink bugs, and leaf-footed bugs are little suckers, too.
Cochineal on your cactus is a scale insect cultivated for red dye if you pick off its white cover and squish it.
Control sucking pests with daily blasts of high-pressured water. Be sure to target the undersides of the leaves, too, in the case of spider mites and whiteflies.
You can also use insecticidal soap or Azadirachtin or a neem product. Don’t apply in the heat of day or when temps are above 85° to avoid burning leaves. Also, only apply neem sprays in the evening when bees aren’t active. You’re also giving the pesticide a longer time to be on the plant to dry.
Beetles CHEW, like flea beetles on my arugula in the past, and a pest on summer crops like eggplant.
Direct hits on true bugs and beetles with an oil product will suffocate them. Wizzie tells us, “But there’s also a neem concentrate that’s not going to have that oil component. Regular straight up Azadirachtin or neem is going to be an insect growth regulator and a feeding deterrent.”
And hey, let’s remember that all products, botanical or synthetic, kill insects. Be careful, since the beneficials in our gardens far outnumber the bad guys! The “bug” you kill today could have been dinner for a toad, lizard, ladybug (really a beetle) or firefly.
Check out Wizzie’s blog for the latest insect news. And watch now for all of Wizzie’s tips!
On tour, when Dr. Suzanne Novak and Dr. Bill Nemeth bought their house, it came with a regulation-sized tennis court. They don’t play tennis!
They’re also busy physicians and love to get outside to grow healthy food and fragrant flowers after hours. Enter Landscape Architect Tait Moring.
On a pea gravel parterre, Tait designed limestone raised beds where the couple grows roses, herbs, and lots of vegetables.
Suzanne cans and freezes abundant harvests for good eating out of season.
A rustic cedar ramada offers a shade break to enjoy it all, even when it’s hot outside.
Suzanne and Bill also wanted to grow their own peaches, figs, apples and pears. Tait chose Zoysia grass as cooling green against the parterre’s gravel.
They improved their view to Wild Basin beyond by removing invasives and selective pruning.
They pluck luscious blackberries for Suzanne’s homemade cobblers or quick garden snacks. Of course, we had to sample for “quality control.” We would have eaten as many as the deer, except they’re kept out by fences.
Lining the side fences, their young Spanish Black grapes are both productive and pretty.
Tait turned the shady court outside their living room into a view that soothes.
Soft sounds from the recirculating stream and pond serenade Suzanne and Bill as they tend to the upper story gardens.
Suzanne nails it about why gardens make such a difference in a busy, crowed life: “All you do is work and come home, so you should have a space that’s peaceful and wonderful that you come home to.”
Watch the whole story now!
Thank you for stopping by! See you next week for summertime pond tips, Linda