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Calvin Finch: How to kill the pests eating your winter garden in San Antonio

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You probably have fruit bushes or shrubs corresponding to hollies and euonymus, likelihood is good they’re infested with scale bugs, which suck juices from the crops they infest.

A heavy infestation of scale in your peach or satsuma bushes can imply a decreased crop and a weakened plant. The latter interprets to decreased drought tolerance and extra susceptibility to plant ailments and different bugs. To maintain crops sturdy and productive, you will need to management scale bugs.

One of many distinctive traits of scale is that the bugs exist beneath a protecting calcium coating. That signifies that a traditional spray of insecticide corresponding to malathion or spinosad that might management aphids and different sucking bugs doesn’t work.

Management scale by making use of dormant or horticultural oil, which coats the calcium cowl and finally suffocates the size insect inside its shell.

Now could be the time to use these oils. Look ahead to a two-day interval when the temperatures are forecast to remain above 45 levels. Any colder and the spray won’t work.

The stems and trunks with scale clearly want a beneficiant spray, but additionally apply it on any leaves and leaf stems which have scale. The response won’t be speedy, however inside a number of weeks, you need to discover that the size will probably be comparatively straightforward to scrape off together with your fingernail. That signifies that a lot of the size has been killed.


Don’t wait too lengthy into the season to spray dormant oil, as it could actually injure some annual flowers, fruit blooms and new foliage. Spray earlier than these are available. For extra data, intently overview the label.

In the event you planted spinach transplants earlier in December, you’re in all probability experiencing an infestation by cucumber beetles. They resemble ladybugs besides they’re gentle inexperienced with black spots. They eat holes in spinach, turnip and chard foliage.

If the harm to these greens is extreme, they are often sprayed with malathion. Spinosad or one of many different natural pesticides additionally could present some management.

If the harm shouldn’t be extreme and you’ll tolerate it, keep away from an insecticide and go forward and eat the greens with the holes. Doing with out insecticide will imply the ladybugs sharing the greens with the beetles will even survive.

Cabbage loopers feed in a linear path from the sting of the leaf towards its rib, and you’ll see the harm on broccoli, cauliflower and collards. Use a Bt product corresponding to Thuricide, Bi-Worm Killer or Dipel to manage them. The product is derived from a bacterium, and it rapidly ends feeding and causes terminal constipation within the caterpillars.

Caterpillars are the one organism that it impacts, and solely those who devour the sprayed foliage. A single spray is simply poisonous (efficient) for 5 to seven days.

A snail in the garden

A Bt software appears to be best if the container has solely been open two years or much less and in the event you add a teaspoon of dish detergent corresponding to Daybreak to every gallon of resolution.

The chilly climate appears to have decreased slug and snail exercise besides on primula, pansies, cyclamen and lettuce. The simplest technique to shield these low-growing snail favorites is to use a slug and snail bait each two weeks. Each chemical and natural baits work nicely. Observe label directions.

Beer traps are one other efficient slug and snail therapy. Sink a sturdy plastic cup into the soil so its prime is stage with the floor and fill it midway with beer. The slugs and snails will make a suicidal leap into the beer.

Slugs and snails are usually not fussy, so the beer might be cheap, heat and even stale and it’ll work.

Calvin Finch is a retired Texas A&M horticulturist. calvinrfinch@gmail.com

This week

within the backyard

 The chilly, dry climate means birds will respect further meals and water. Provide them with seed and suet, and set up at the least one birdbath. The bonus for gardeners is getting to watch many species and particular person birds.

 It is a wonderful time to plant shade bushes and shrubs. Shield newly planted shrubs and bushes from harm by deer with a sturdy fence across the newly positioned crops.

 Onion transplants planted now in a row 2 inches aside might be harvested as inexperienced onions. Depart each third onion within the floor to develop a full bulb by Could. Fertilize them at planting with 10 cups of slow-release garden fertilizer for each 100 sq. toes of backyard mattress.

 Use leaves that drop as gas for the compost pile and mulch within the shrub border. They profit the garden if allowed to decompose the place they fall. Pace up decomposition by mowing the leaves on the garden.

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