Tidewater Times July 2019

Page 87


by K. Marc Teffeau, Ph.D.

Garden Pests and Carolina Allspice While we are busy on vacation or at the pool, damaging insects are not taking a break in the garden and landscape! With gardening in full swing in July, homeowners encounter several insect pests in the landscape and vegetable garden. Some need to be controlled, and some don’t. In some situations, we can tolerate the damage if it doesn’t get out of hand. Spider mites are not insects but are related to the spider family. They show up in July, when the weather turns hot and dry. While working in the yard the other day, I saw that these critters had started working on a hydrangea plant. This was unusual for May here in north Georgia, but we had just experienced two weeks of unusually hot ~ 90-degree days and above ~ and dry weather. Perfect weather for spider mites. Rainfall is an excellent natural control of these pests, washing them off the foliage. Spider mites are sucking pests found on the undersides of plant

leaves. Evidence of significant spider mite problems is off-colored, yellow or yellow-bronze leaves. Some of the feeding damage will merge into brown spots on the leaves. Both deciduous and needled evergreen plants located in hot, dry locations are particularly vulnerable to this pest. To determine if you have spider mites, hold a piece of white paper under a branch, and lightly tap the branch. Check the white paper carefully to see if anything 87