Garden Pests and Diseases

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It’s nearly the end of May, and garden pests and diseases are rife!

Red Lily Beetle (pictured above):

A crafty blighter  –  you go to pick it off your prized lily and it drops to the ground invisible!  They land upside down blending into the soil,perfect camouflage!  The answer is to out smart them, place a hand with a piece of paper towel under the leaves, tap the plant and catch them. Don’t forget the ones that hide in the growing tip of the plant. I’m sorry but the best way to eradicate them is to place on the path and use your shoe.

Greenfly/ Black fly or Aphids:

Common Aphid Infestation

Common Aphid Infestation

Plenty around to say the least. Please don’t spray insecticides willy nilly. Masses of birds and insects feed on them. All the Tit family-blue, great, coal, long-tailed etc feed their babies on green fly/blackfly and so do House sparrows with flies and caterpillars. Trim off the curled ends of new growth on fruit trees with secateurs – keep sharp and clean. Do the same with broad beans.  Hosing down plants with water on a fine jet also works well – not so powerful to damage the plants and flowers.

I watched bumblebees climbing into curled up leaves on my cordon apple trees, they were sucking the sap ingested by the aphids – this is mainly sugars and water, which are excreted as a sticky substance called honeydew. This was something I hadn’t seen before! Ladybirds and their grubs love eating aphids as well as lacewing larvae.

Ladybug and flower on a green background

Ladybird

Organic insecticides based on fatty acids,rape seed oil or based on pyrethrum work on the aphids.

Slugs and Snails:

Slug and snail

Slug and snail

The perennial problem. Let me know what works for you.  Do you leave them for hedgehogs, frogs and toads?  Do you use soot, copper tape, salt, beer traps, slug gone, sluggo, slug pellets, pick them up and put them in a bucket or nematodes?

Caterpillars:
The best way is prevention. Covering your valuable seedlings with fine netting called enviromesh. This prevents cabbage white butterflies, moths and beetles getting at your plants.

What other bugs are troubling you? Vine weevil?

Let me know, by leaving me a comment below ….

 

Peter Mills
Gardening Editor

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Peter Mills

I love everything to do with natural history, wildlife, biodiversity and of course horticulture - basically the big outdoors. I grew up with very good teachers namely my parents and my French grandfather who was a superb grower of vegetables. At Hadlow College I studied a three year OND in Horticulture. I had a market stall selling plants. Went onto wholesaling house plants to florists and garden centres across southern England. In 1986 I joined Clandon Park Garden Centre as manager. Whilst there I started my career as a gardening radio presenter with the BBC Southern Counties Radio. This continued for 15 years, building up valuable contacts with the RHS Wisley, live broadcasts from Chelsea & Hampton Court Flower shows, South of England & Surrey County shows etc. Since 1998 I have been self-employed, working as a Head Gardener and in private gardens . Through the RHS Advisory Department at Wisley I advise on horticultural problems in members gardens, including pest & disease problems, lawn-care advice, pruning of wisterias, fruit trees, roses, wildlife gardening, growing fruit & vegetables, creating wildflower meadows, identifying plants and control of pernicious weeds. Autumn 2016 finds me at the Autumn Flower Show 6-8 of September at RHS Wisley and Taste of Autumn Sunday 23rd of October. Sunday 11th of September I am cycling from London to Brighton for Perennial ( Gardeners Benevolent Fund) who helped me when I broke my leg badly in 2014. Had the plate removed in February this year. My Just Giving page is http://www.justgiving.com/Peter-Mills14 Perennial is a Fabulous Charity who help anyone working in horticulture. I didn't think I would need their help at the age of 52! They were brilliant and helped us as a family. It's my turn to repay their help and others too! John Ambrose and I have raised over £ 2000.00 thank you all. I am an extremely lucky guy who loves what I do and the trade called Horticulture!

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jon-paul
20th Jun 2014
0
Thanks for voting!
hi peter, i am growing beans and the flowers around (foxgloves and other white flowers) have many black aphids with ants farming them, so far i am resisting cutting down and removing these as they are concentrating on the flowers and not my precious runner beans, in a way they are sacrificial. question is should i cut down foxgloves and kill all aphids to stop them spreading or leave them and just manage the aphids i find on my beans? also, how to attract aphid predators as don't want to use chemicals? thanks, JP
Peter Mills
21st Jun 2014
0
Thanks for voting!
Hi JP,
You will find the ladybirds and lacewings, will arrive, they take a little more time to build up numbers. With the weather like this it won't take long. As the foxgloves main stem finishes flowering, cut this back to small side shoots. You should end up with secondary flowers,so the black fly should stay put. You can use Vitax Organic Pest and Disease control,if the problem persists. Let me know how you get on.
Regards Peter.
jon-paul
19th Jul 2014
0
Thanks for voting!
i kept an eye on the black aphids and removed them by hand mostly from the runner beans. seems to have worked as they are now steady cropping. seen a few predators mooching about too. i have noticed that when they flowered there were loads of small shiny black beetles slightly bigger than aphids in the flowers. are these pests?
thanks for the advice !
JP
derek harthen
28th May 2014
0
Thanks for voting!
hi peter my sons garden seems to have a sort of ear wig come beetle which is adeep red come burgundy colour invading his soil any ideas what i could do thanks
peter mills
28th May 2014
0
Thanks for voting!
Hi Derek, The bugs sound like Wireworm. Not good news. They feed on a lot of root vegetables -potatoes, beetroot, carrots, onions etc. Wireworms are the larvae of Click Beetle. Found in uncultivated ground- old pasture ,over grown gardens. Where possible leave bare earth and keep turning the soil over so the birds feed on them. Most soil insecticides are now banned. You can put black plastic over the soil- this brings them to the surface- then you uncover for the birds .Regards Peter
Glyn Conway
28th May 2014
0
Thanks for voting!
Having finally got to grips with the slugs and snails on my large hosta bed largely through the methods already mentioned, I was horrified to discover this week that vine weevils are now moving in for the kill. Never associated them with hostas before.
peter mills
28th May 2014
0
Thanks for voting!
Hi Glyn, I have had great success with Nemasys Vine Weevil Killer.
Not cheap but it works. Use around Fuchsias and Strawberry plants, Hydrangeas, Camellias, Heuchera. Regards Peter
jackie seaton
27th May 2014
0
Thanks for voting!
I am using Nemaslug for the first time this year in my garden and am pleased with the results so far. Crops that would have been decimated in previous years appear to be thriving undamaged. I did notice that they started to return a bit just before my second consignment arrived.

I am also using enviromesh over my whole small plot to try and combat cabbage whites, pigeons and cats. That too seems to be doing its job well, although I think it does ever so slightly squash the seedlings. I have taken it off for a few days and they have all sproinged gratefully up, but I will put it back on the brassicas at least, to keep them safe as I lost almost a whole crop of purple sprouting brocolli to caterpillars last year. I wonder, though, if the enviromesh might have contributed to the powdery mildew that attacked the courgettes. I sprayed with Vitax organic fatty acid which seems to have controlled it, but think I'll leave them in the open from now on.
janice maine
27th May 2014
0
Thanks for voting!
Any advice for greenfly I was told soapy water but the leaves have fallen o my roses
Peter Mills
27th May 2014
0
Thanks for voting!
Hi Janice,
A weak mixture of washing up liquid does work. Leaves might have been scorched. Given some rose fertiliser they will regrow.
Regards Peter.

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