Garden Help Desk: Are you bothered by weevil damage? Time for an insecticide | News, Sports, Jobs


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Root weevil damage is most easily seen along the margins (edges) of leaves.

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Root weevils are small, shiny, and usually black or dark brown. They are not easy to see as they often hide during the day or quickly drop to the ground if disturbed at night.

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Root weevils feed on the roots and leaves of a wide variety of woody plants and sometimes other plants if their populations are very high.

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Whiteflies appear in hot weather. They can cause yellowing leaves and low vigor if their populations are high, but for outdoor gardeners they are usually just a nuisance when working in the garden.

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Our peonies and roses are eaten by an invisible insect.

Earwigs or grasshoppers are two possibilities. Grasshoppers can be seen at any time of the day, but earwigs are most active in the late evening and very early morning. If you go out quietly with a flashlight after dark or just before dawn and check the plants, you might see them.

We did as you suggested. Here’s what we found. It’s a beetle…many beetles! Can you suggest a remedy?

Great detective work! It looks like a root weevil. I didn’t mention root weevils as a possibility, as the damage they cause is usually not as great as your early photos. These beetles live in the soil as larvae, feeding on the roots of shrubs, and the adults feed on the foliage.

There are several options, but the simplest option is a soil drench with a systemic insecticide. The insecticide is applied as a granule which is sprinkled or in liquid form, with a small amount of the chemical mixed in a gallon of water and poured slowly around the base of the plant. The best time to do the soaking is after the plants have finished flowering for the season. These products are generally sold as insecticides for trees and shrubs.

These tiny flying white insects are all over the leaves of my squash and pumpkin plants. I find them every time I go out to remove squash bugs and their eggs.

These look like whiteflies. They are most commonly seen on plants of the squash/cucumber family and on tomatoes and peppers. I have also seen it on bean plants. They can be a serious pest in greenhouses, where their populations can get quite high, but outdoors where there are many natural predators to help control their numbers, they are mostly a nuisance, flying when disturbed by gardeners.

Whiteflies can easily develop resistance to insecticides, so it’s best to avoid conventional insecticides. You can water them daily or you can spray insecticidal soap, which does not cause insecticide resistance. Apply insecticidal soap as often as recommended on the label for a few weeks, making sure to get good coverage on the undersides of the leaves. Spray in the evening or early in the morning, as insecticidal soap can burn leaves if temperatures are high while the spray is wet.

My garden is having the worst year of its life! I’ve been gardening for years and never had so many problems. Any ideas why?

It has been a difficult year in the garden for many of us. From the start, we had challenges.

In early May, it looked like we could start our summer gardens, so we did. And then very cold weather passed, more than once, causing cold wounds to tender plants. Some plants have rebounded, some have died, and some remain stunted or struggling.

Once the cold spells passed for good, we had a fairly short spring before the heat arrived.

As we have already discussed, extreme heat can also cause problems for plants. Poor fruit set, slower growth and more pests than usual are just some of the problems our gardens have experienced.

With all the struggles in our yards and gardens this year, new gardeners and even some experienced gardeners are learning a few lessons to use in years to come. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Keep an eye on the forecast. Check the 10-day or even five-day forecast before you plant, but be prepared for surprises. Don’t rush your transplants into the garden if you can’t protect them from cold nights.
  • Each neighborhood, even individual yards, can have warmer or cooler microclimates than expected. Don’t expect the temperature in your own garden to match the forecast perfectly.
  • Be prepared with cold weather protection for tender plants if nighttime lows are expected to drop below 40.
  • Have things on hand to help your plants cope with the extreme heat – mulch to help keep the soil a little cooler and 20% to 40% shade cloth to cool the foliage a few degrees . You may have to shop online to get what you need, but there are plenty of options available.
  • When ordering your garden seeds, choose heat-resistant varieties. There are heat-tolerant varieties for most of our popular vegetables. Start browsing the catalogs in January for the best selections.
  • Take notes on what happened this year and what worked and didn’t work for you in your garden and landscape. This will help you be proactive and avoid surprises in your garden next year.

Don’t abandon your gardens; we will all make a fresh start in 2023!



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