by K. Marc Teffeau, Ph.D.
Pests and Problems in July We are now in the active gardening season. The cool, somewhat wet spring has passed and we are now busy harvesting our gardens and maintaining the landscape. Now is the time to watch out for those seasonal pests. The hot dry weather in July brings out red spider mites on many ornamental plants. Inspect roses, evergreens and marigolds in particular, for pale green leaf color. Since spider mites are so small, the easiest way to determine if they are causing problems with your plants is to do the paper test. Hold a white sheet of paper underneath a leaf and briskly tap it. Tiny, crawling mites will drop onto the paper if they are present on the leaf. If you take your finger and squash the mite, it will leave a red streak on the paper. If the infestation is light, discourage mites with a forceful, direct spray of water aimed at the underside of the leaves. Mild to heavy
Magnified red spider mite. infestations can be controlled by spraying the plants with a summer horticultural oil, horticultural soap, or a miticide. Severely infested annual plants should be removed and destroyed. Japanese beetles are also showing up now. A non-chemical method of reducing their damage is to remove all flower blossoms as soon as they begin to fade and all fruit as soon as it is ripe. Japanese beetles are especially fond of overripe fruit and deteriorating flower blossoms. After taking these preventative steps, go out to your garden daily 83
Tidewater Times July 2013