August Is Here!!
The last full month of Summer is upon us! There are still vacations to take, pools to swim in, and plants to tend to.
Many consider this the hottest month of the year and your plants might be suffering. In last month's newsletter we discussed watering and fertilizing. This month we will focus on some insects and other problems that might be rearing their ugly heads.
Introducing Our New
Petal Perks $25 Gift Card Promotion
In addition to all the great things that are already associated with your Petal Perks Loyalty Card, we are adding another dimension.
Starting August 1st through August 31st, when you come into Hidden Ponds Nursery and use your Petal Perks card, you will be entered to win a $25 Gift Certificate. You MUST ask to be entered when you present your PP card. We will have you fill out a small form to toss in a hat, so we can draw the winner!
You don't HAVE a Petal Perks card!? NO PROBLEM!!
They are free, you just need to come in and get one.
Plant of the Week
Another new aspect that we are implementing is a Plant of the Week page on our website. Every Friday, we will have a new plant and article giving you such information as: growth habit, growing conditions, uses, and more exciting and useful information on that particular plant. So increase your plant knowledge with our new feature and maybe you will come to discover you have a whole new love for a plant that you didn't even know existed. You can find our Plant of the Week page and all of our other exciting web page information at:
They are creepy, crawly and really good for the garden!!
Make plans to learn all about Worm Composting and how they help us gardeners!! We will also show you how to build a worm house/feeding station.
We welcome any children that would like to build a worm box, just let us know you plan to attend and we will have supplies on hand.
August 29th at 10am. Hidden Ponds Nursery
No Early Birds allowed!!
You Put Your Leaf Foot In......
Every year there seems to be a different insect or other critter that comes into the yard and gives you headaches. Some years it is Aphids, (actually almost every year for this one), Mealies, Whitefly, Deer, Opossums, even Japanese Beetles seem to raise their ugly heads occasionally. This time the culprit is higher in numbers than we have ever seen.....Do you recognize this insect?
If you guessed Leptoglossus Phyllopus or Eastern Leaf Footed Bug, you would be correct!
Apparently many people are having a problem this year. Let's learn about this problematic pest.
Leaf Footed Bug's common name comes from the hind legs that have a flattened, leaf-like expansion. You can see it in the above picture.
It is a very common insect in the United States. There are reported sightings as far north as Long Island, New York, and then they range south to Florida, west to Iowa and Kansas, and southwest through Texas to California.
Adults are about 3/4 inch in length and are dark brown with a whitish to yellowish stripe across the central part of the back. The nymphs have much the same shape as adults, though they are usually a bright Orange and do not acquire the flattened leaf-like hind leg until they are almost full grown adults.
LEAF FOOTED NYMPHS
This pest has a wide range of plants that it likes to attack including: apple, bean, bell pepper, blueberry, blackberry, citrus, cowpea, cucurbits, eggplant, lychee, loquat, okra, peach, pear, persimmon, plum, pomegranate, potato, tomato, and sunflower....just to name a few.
Leaf Footed Bugs have piercing-sucking mouthparts. They stick the piercing part into their food material, possibly your dinner, use their saliva to dissolve the contents and then suck up the digesting mixture. Then as the puncture heals, the feeding site becomes hard and darkens. Damage early in development of the fruit or vegetable can lead to it falling off or, at the very least, causing severe deformities.
The Leaf Footed Bug can be controlled!! With application of insecticides, cultural practices, a little help from Mother Nature and by hand picking. The last one is obvious, pick the little buggers off by hand and either drown them in a bucket of soapy water or squash them.
Cultural controls include, keeping the weeds down in adjacent fields and replacing the mulch around your yard every year. They like to over-winter there. Mother Nature might give you a helping hand, there are some species of birds that will eat Leaf Footed Bugs. There are also some parasitic wasps that attack the eggs and parasitic flies that attack the nymphs and adults. Some other helpers include: big-eyed bugs (Geocoris spp.), damsel bugs (Nabis spp.) and spiders. The Chemical control is saved for last because hopefully that would be your last resort. If the threshold of damage to your crop has been reached, then it is time to reach for the bottle. The insecticides used most often to control these bugs include the pyrethroid insecticides, carbaryl and endosulfan. Look for these ingredients on the label and then make sure that what you want to use it on is also listed, i.e. tomatoes, citrus, sunflowers, etc. The label is the law!!
A few side notes to keep in mind when confronting Leaf Footed bugs: they are very skittish. The adults will fly away when disturbed, but will quickly return when the disturbance is gone. The nymphs will try to run away and hide on the other side of the plant. You may also notice that they really like to hang out together.
One of the odd things about this behavior is, you may see a herd of them, as shown above, on one plant and yet a plant right next door will have none. The time of year that you may see these pests varies. Adults have been noted during all months of the year in the deep South, but populations are highest during the warmer months.
I should also warn you of one other thing and sadly, I fell for this. The nymphs of Leaf Footed Bugs look VERY much like our friends the Assassin Bugs.
The abdomen of the Leaf Footed Bug tends to be a little wider. Another good way to tell is, if you see a bunch of them clustered together or if they are hanging out with adults, then they're Leaf Footed Bugs. This is NOT always the case, but it might give you a better idea.
There has been a lot of rain in portions of Charleston. There have been reports of Citrus trees that look as if they have been fighting fires for the past week! They are covered in soot. We are pretty sure there have been no fires close to the plants and have been assured that they quit smoking sometime last year.
All kidding aside, they are covered in soot, but it has nothing to do with anything combustible. It is actually a sooty mold.
Mold Is an organism that looks like a disease.
Sooty Molds are dark fungi that grow on honeydew excreted by sucking insects, like aphids, mealybugs and whiteflies.
Sooty Molds occur in all parts of North America. Capnodium citri is associated with whiteflies and scale pests on citrus. There are other species of the mold that are associated with other pests on other plants. Basically they are all the same.
Honeydew is a sweet, clear, sticky substance secreted by the insects such as the whiteflies. The honeydew drops from the insects to the leaves and twigs. Wind-blown Sooty Mold spores that stick to the honeydew then have a suitable medium for growth. Kind of like that jelly like stuff you played with in high school biology class. When the spores germinate, they send out black fungal strands that cover the plant tissue and cause the discoloration.
Although Sooty Molds do not infect plants, they can indirectly damage the plant by coating the leaves to the point that sunlight penetration is reduced or inhibited. Without adequate sunlight, the plant's ability to carry on photosynthesis is reduced, which may stunt plant growth. When it can't produce food, it starves. Coated leaves may also prematurely die, causing leaf drop. Most plants will tolerate a small amount of coverage. Fruits or vegetables covered with Sooty Molds are edible. Simply remove the mold with a solution of mild soap and warm water. The mold itself can also be sprayed away or rubbed off with your finger.
As seen here:
Treating Sooty Mold is best done by treating the source of the problem first. Get rid of the sap sucking pests. If you don't, the mold will return. Luckily, there is a cure that will kill two pests with one spray. Horticultural oils. If one of the horticultural oils is used for control, it also has the advantage of helping to loosen the molds from the plant surface. This hastens the weathering away of the Sooty Molds. However, it may still linger on your plants for months, even after the pests have been eradicated. Horticultural oils are available at most garden centers and big box stores. There is one problem though, it can not be used in intense heat. The oil will basically do what oils do to food, cook it! Cooler weather, overcast days, or in the evening are the best times. PLEASE, make sure you follow the label directions!
Just as a side note, plants are not the only thing affected by Sooty Mold. If an object is under a tree or plant that has sap sucking insects present, it can be covered in the soot.
Just remember, rid yourself of the insects first, then you can clean your object.
Sooty mold is not as bad as it looks, it can be a major problem, but with a little work, your plant will be fine......unless they take up smoking again!!