Our Plant Pick-of-the-Week: Princess Flower

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Aug 27, 2015 9:28:20 AM

Our Plant Pick-of-the-Week: Princess Flower

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Princess Flower (Tibouchina urvilleana) is a semi-evergreen shrub native to Brazil. It has velvety medium-green leaves and vivid, electric purple flowers which are well suited to its royal namesake. In our climate it flourishes in the heat of summer, boasting a very long bloom season spring through fall. Given its tropical origins, it's no surprise that Princess Flowers are sensitive when it comes to frost. Hardy to 25-30°F, they must be protected in the winter. This love for heat and cold intolerance make this noble shrub best suited for enclosed courtyards, near pools or in containers.

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Due to our chilly winters, Princess Flower usually only reaches 6-7ft high and wide in the Sacramento area. However, if it is in a protected area where it is particularly happy, it might eventually reach 15ft, making it an ideal candidate to train into a small tree. It's deeply saturated blue-violet blossoms adorned with elegant, curly stamens are irresistible to butterflies, making Princess Flower a wonderful addition to a tropical-themed pollinator garden.  

 

It's Linda's pick-of-the-week because:

"I love how versatile it is, you can prune to shape it any way you want. The velvety foliage tinged with red and those unbelievable purple flowers look so luxurious!"

 

 

 

 

Want to create your own tropical Pollinator Paradise? Here's some inspiration...
 
Canna 'Tropicanna Black'

 

Topics: Tropicals, Shrubs, Container Ideas, Summer, Summer Flowers, Butterflies

Fairy Gardening for Beginners

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Aug 18, 2015 1:59:39 PM

Are you inspired by small spaces? Fairy gardening is a great way to capture the essence of a full-blown garden on a miniature scale and make fun summer containers! 

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When planning your enchanted garden, consider:

Setting

Your planting container or "vessel" is the backdrop of your fairy garden and can inspire certain themes or settings. For example, large shallow bowls give the illusion of a wide, flat landscape. Plant with a low-growing groundcover and a few small flowers to simulate a miniature meadow or prairie. You can even stack pots within larger pots to give a tiered multi-dimensional effect.Tiered_Pot_1-706191-edited Broken pots can be recycled to create an unusual planting vessel with many tiny nooks for adventuring.

For inspiration, check out Fairy Gardens on our Pintrest page. 

Recycled objects such as old teapots, crates and boots can all be transformed into a fairy playground. Be sure to choose a vessel which drains. If you can't put drainage holes in your container, put a layer of rocks at the bottom about 1-2" thick, a layer of charcoal* and be cautious of over-watering. Charcoal and small pebbles can be found in the Specialty Soils section at all of our locations. 

Plants

When selecting plants for your fairy garden, don't just fall for the flowers! Your fairy garden is meant to be appreciated down to the tiniest detail, so be sure to add some plants with interesting foliage color and texture for charming containers.

Check out the 6-pack and mudflat groundcover section of the nursery, which has a great selection of small spreading plants which will fill in quickly.

The following plants are known to be especially appealing to fairies*

Irish or Scotch Moss Elfin Thyme Creeping Wire Vine Creeping Jenny
Pilea Blue or White Star Creeper Australian Violet Dead Nettle
Baby's Tears Hernaria Veronica Australian Astroturf

*Call stores for current availability.

Accessories

The stones, shells, tchotchkies and treasures you nestle into your miniature landscape are like the "hardscape" of the fairy garden. Try getting an assortment of items which fit a theme and placing them in your container before planting. This will help you get an idea of what plants or containers are best suited to your theme. After the plants fill in around the hardscape, it will look well-established like it's been there for years. 

Shroomies_2-843251-editedAccessories are the most exciting aspect of a fairy garden, because they allow you to express your creativity and individual style. 

Try some of these fun ideas:

  • Use the tiered container set-up to create the appearance of a cascading waterfall.
  • Select some tree seedlings (ask for 'Bonsai Starters'), interplant with moss and finish off with Shroomyz ceramic mushroom stakes to emulate the feel of an ancient forest. 
  • Find some unique succulents and adorn with sand, shells, beach glass and driftwood to create a surreal seascape. 

 

 

More unique gardening inspiration...
  Moon Gardens

Topics: What Can I Plant This Season?, Container Ideas, Fairy Gardening, Shroomyz

Our Plant Pick-of-the-Week: Rain Lily

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Aug 18, 2015 10:50:48 AM

Our Plant Pick-of-the-Week: Rain Lily

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Rain lilies are sometimes known as "fairy lily" and it's easy to see why. These little bulbs emerge as a petite 1x1' mound of grass-like foliage in the spring, where they look lovely nestled among sunny or partly shady borders. Somewhat reminiscent of Crocus, the flowers are small, funnel-shaped, and usually white or yellow. Rain lilies are the epitome of low maintenance, the only thing they require is well-draining soil. They thrive on neglect and will produce flowers in late summer or autumn, usually after rain, hence the name. Extra bonus: they are deer resistant!

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Rain lilies are best used in the landscape as an accent in a border, their tidy growth habit makes them ideal candidates for filling in spaces around taller, summer blooming perennials. Just as the summer perennials are fizzling out, the rain lilies begin to shine, providing the late-summer garden with a pleasant pop of color.

It's Kevin's pick-of-the-week because:

"It's a very easy, low maintenance perennial. The flowers are a nice late summer surprise and the foliage adds textural contrast to a water-wise garden."

 

 

 

 

More beautiful water-wise plant suggestions... Drought Tolerant Plants

Topics: Sacramento Low Water Plants, Flowers, Low Water Plants

Caring for Trees in a Drought

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Aug 12, 2015 4:39:02 PM

Sacramento is the city of trees, boasting one of the largest urban forests in the nation. With mandatory statewide watering restrictions, many people are wondering how they can keep their trees healthy on a limited watering schedule.

The Sacramento Tree Foundation recently launched a new campaign called Save Our Water & Our Trees to bring awareness to the value of continuing to care for and plant trees even in low water years. California has a Mediterranean climate, and our state will continue to cycle through periods of low water. It is more important now than ever that people plant shade trees and nurture their established trees so they may preserve their countless benefits for generations to come. 

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Here are some simple ways to care for trees during low-water years:

  • Trees do best with deep watering, which means very slowly irrigating the soil so that the water percolates down through to where the roots are, as opposed to running off or only saturating the first few inches of soil. To facilitate a slow, deep soaking, try using a drip system with a timer. 
  • Mulching around the tree about 2-3" thick will suppress water-thirsty weeds, cools the soil, and reduces evaporation of water from the soil by up to 70%. To prevent crown rot, be sure to keep the mulch 6" away from the trunk. 
  • If you are planting a new tree or have a tree that is on a slope, try creating a "basin" of raised soil a few feet around the circumference of the trunk so the water is sure to seep down into the root zone where it's needed. 
  • Keep a bucket in the shower to "cold-catch" water as your shower is heating up. You can feel good about using water that would have gone to waste to help save your trees.

Things to avoid:

  • Pruning. Unless you are removing branches that are already dead, refrain from doing any heavy pruning on a stressed tree during the summer. Stressed trees send out chemicals which attract insect pests, and pruning wounds make them even more susceptible to infestations.
  • Fertilizing with Synthetics. Unlike organic fertilizers, synthetics cause trees to push a lot of unsustainable water-thirsty growth. 
  • Watering with Sprinklers. Sprinkler systems put out a lot of water very quickly, which is okay for watering shallow-rooted plants such as turf, but less than ideal for trees.
    Unsure of how to begin? come into any Green Acres Nursery & Supply Garden Solutions department and we'll walk you through the steps of retrofitting your sprinkler system to drip. 

How do I know when to water?

The frequency of watering depends on three main factors: your soil's texture, the tree's species and its age. 

1. Soil Texture 

  • If you have dense clay soil, the particles are very small with little space for the water to move through, meaning that you must water very slowly. However, it also dries out very slowly so it's best to water deeply, yet infrequently.
  • If you have sandy soil, the particles are large and therefore water moves through it rapidly. It will also dry out quickly, so you may need to water more frequently. 
  • If you have loamy soil, the particles are medium-sized and tend to allow water to move through at a moderate pace. This is the ideal soil texture, usually people have combinations of all of the soil textures throughout their yard. 

No matter your soil texture, you should always probe your soil at least 6" down to determine how moist it is at that depth before watering. If the soil is crumbly or hard, add water. If it is sticky or moist, do not water. 

More information about how soil's texture affects your watering needs...  Watering 101

2. Tree Species

If you are planting a new tree, consider planting one that will have low or moderate water use once established. All young trees need regular water to develop a healthy, extensive root system. However, a young tree will only need 10-15 gallons per week, which is negligible when you consider all of the benefits that tree will eventually provide. 

Here are some shade trees which are well adapted to the Sacramento region: 

Small-Medium

  • Crape Myrtles
  • Chinese Pistache 'Keith Davey'
  • Arbutus 'Marina'

Medium-Large

  • Chinese Elm
  • Scarlet Oak
  • Tupelo
  • Ginkgo 'Autumn Gold'
  • Raywood Ash

This is just a small sampling, there are many other trees which are low-water when established that may be the right fit for you. For more information, check out Top 10 Legacy Trees for the Sacramento Region, or come into any Green Acres Nursery & Supply location and we'll help you find what you need. 

3. Tree Age

Young Trees (>5 Years old)

  • Roots are located mostly a few feet around the trunk, to a depth of 12-18"
  • Requires 10-15 gallons of water per week
  • Slowly soak the area around the base of the tree 2-3 times per week with 5 gallons each time

Established Trees (5+ Years old)

  • Roots are located mostly outside of the dripline, or the width of the tree's canopy, to a depth of 1-2'
  • Avoid watering near the trunk, or on the foliage 
  • Expand your watering to accommodate the tree's expanding dripline as it grows

tree_dripline

Best Irrigation Methods

  • A garden hose on a slow trickle
  • A soaker hose
  • Irrigation tubing with drip emitters built in (inline tubing)
  • Micro-spray emitters or any other low-flow drip system
  • Deep Drip Tree watering stakes 

More information on irrigation efficiency and other water-saving tips...  #waterwise

Topics: Tree, Irrigation Tips, Drought Tolerant

Our Plant Pick-of-the-Week: Crocosmia

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Aug 10, 2015 8:55:11 AM

Our Plant Pick-of-the-Week: Crocosmia

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Crocosmia is a perennial from corm (an underground structure like a bulb) which forms an upright clump of bright green sword-like foliage. In summer, this clump is adorned by tall stalks bearing an inflorescence of funnel-shaped flowers that are adored by hummingbirds. The flowers have a tropical feel, but the plant has incredible cold hardiness, tolerating temperatures as low as -20°F.  It offers all the beauty of a bulb such as Gladiolas, but it's foliage stays relatively neat and tidy spring through fall, making this perennial well-suited to any cut-flower garden or perennial border. 

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Reaching about 2-3' tall, Crocosmia will slowly spread over time, resulting in a more impressive show of flowers year after year. Plus, you can divide them in the fall and plant them in other places; it's the plant that keeps on giving!

It's Crissa's pick-of-the-week because:

"The flowers are brilliant and showy. Hummingbirds love them and they're easy to grow!"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more flowers well-suited for bouquets, check out  Grow a Cut Flower Garden

Topics: Cut Flower Garden, Hummingbirds, Bulbs

Dog Days of Summer 2015: Meet the Canine Crusaders

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Aug 7, 2015 11:36:00 AM

 

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Green Acres' 6th Annual Dog Days of Summer event is August 14-16!

 

Dog Days of Summer is not just a sneaky way to lure you and your dog into the nursery so we can pamper your adorable furry friends. It's also our way of showing some love to the local animal organizations! These hard-working, dedicated people improve our lives through the training, rescuing, fostering, and caring for dogs all over the Sacramento Area, so stop by one of our four locations August 14-16 to say 'Hi'!

 

 Alpha K9 

Alpha K9 provides highly trained PTSD service dogs to veterans, first responders, and battered women and children for minimal cost or free.

Find out about their service/working dog program and basic obedience & behavior modification courses.

Saturday 8/15 at Sacramento from 10-2
Sunday 8/16 at Folsom from 10-2

 

Front Street Animal Shelter was established as the city pound in 1859, and is now one of the region's leaders in saving animals. Their mission is to save the lives of homeless pets, facilitate adoptions and continue to decrease the number of pets who are euthanized in the Sacramento region.  

Meet their special dogs, available for adoption, as well as information on volunteering, foster opportunities, low-cost spray & neuter, and low-cost vaccination clinics. 

Friday 8/14 at Elk Grove from 11-2

 

Happy Tails Animal Sanctuary 

Happy Tails Animal Sanctuary is a no-kill animal rescue organization, dedicated to improving the lives of homeless and abused animals throughout the Sacramento area. 

Learn about volunteer opportunities and their adoption and rescue programs and meet some foster dogs!

Saturday, 8/15 at Sacramento from 10-2

 

NorCal Cocker Rescue 

NorCal Cocker Rescue saves Cocker Spaniels from being euthanized at shelters all over Northern California. Meet lovable dogs available for adoption, and grab some volunteer information. 

Saturday 8/15 at Roseville from 11-2

 

Sacramento SPCA 

The Sacramento SPCA is here to foster a loving and compassionate community for animals and people by providing assistance, creating lifelong relationships and saving lives.

Find your match with dogs available for adoption, and learn about the various programs provided by the shelter. 

Saturday 8/15 at Sacramento from 10-2

 

Sacramento Independent Animal Rescuers (SIAR) 

SIAR is a nonprofit animal rescue whose focus is to aid stray, abandoned and neglected animals. Once healthy, their mission is to place these animals in loving, responsible homes.

Check out the information about their organization and dog supplies offered for donations. 

Saturday 8/15 at Roseville from 10-2

 

Elk Grove PD Animal Services 

The City of Elk Grove's Animal Services department provides field coverage seven days a week to help stray, neglected and abused animals. They educate about responsible pet ownership and reduce animal overpopulation.

Visit with several dogs who are available for adoption, as well as information about low-cost spay and neuter, low-cost vaccination programs, and dog behavioral classes. 

As an added bonus, they will be offering free microchipping to anyone and free pet licensing to Elk Grove residents at their booth during the event!

Saturday 8/15 at Elk Grove from 10-2
Sunday 8/16 at Elk Grove from 10-2

 

Be sure to check our our Dog Days event and support these paw-sitively wonderful people!

Do you think your pooch is the cutest? Enter our Dog Days of Summer Photo Contest for a chance to win a $100 Green Acres Gift card or a $50 donation to the animal charity of your choosing!

#DogDaysSnapshot

 

And come out to one of our nurseries on Saturday, August 15 from 10-2 and get a free photo shoot with your furry friend at our Krazy Kanine Photo Booth

Or come check out at Big Green Egg demo at our Elk Grove location on Saturday August 15th & Sunday, August 16th!

August Events

Topics: Summer, Green Acres Events, Dog Friendly

Pest SOS: 12 Most Common Summer Pests Part 3

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Jul 31, 2015 6:09:51 PM

Pest SOS: Top 12 Summer Pests faced by Sacramento Gardeners
Part Three

Pest SOS: Part One  &  Pest SOS: Part Two 

Don't see what ails ye? Find more garden solutions in our blog:

Stink Bugs

Stink_bug_credit-765795-editedDescription: Approximately half-inch-long grayish brown shield-shaped bugs.

Damage: Stink bugs have sucking mouth parts which they use to feed on fruit, leaving indentations or discolored spots behind. 

Common Hosts: A large variety of fruits and vegetables. 

Prevention

  • Eliminate weeds- Stink bugs overwinter on weeds, so eliminating weeds in your landscape will eliminate their main food source in the winter and keep populations down. 

Control: Planting a variety of flowers which bloom during all seasons to help attract natural predators such as green lacewings, assassin bugs and damsel bugs. Chemical controls are generally not very effective against Stink Bugs. 


 

Whitefly

Description: Extremely small (~1mm) white flying insects. Whitefly_credit-849077-edited

Damage: Whiteflies have sucking mouth parts which they use to suck the juices out of a plant's foliage. Damage appears as many small pale-colored dots on the foliage known as 'stippling'. Occasionally leaves will look crisp or dried up, and may fall off completely. They also leave behind a sticky excrement which can cause sooty mold on the leaves.

Common Hosts: Almost all plants are susceptible, some species prefer specific hosts. They breed almost year-round in California. 

Prevention

  • Attract Benficials- Planting a variety of flowers which bloom at all times during the year will attract natural enemies of whiteflies, such as Ladybugs and Green Lacewings. 
  • Reflective Mulch- Whiteflies can become confused when plants are mulched with a reflective material. 

Control: Insecticidal soaps and Neem oil can be an effective method of smothering the insects to keep populations down, however it is difficult to completely eradicate whiteflies by this method alone. Sticky traps placed near the affected area can also help reduce populations, be sure to replace them often. 


 

Yellowjackets

Yellowjacket_credit-936077-editedDescription: Medium-sized flying insects with segmented torsos and yellow and black stripes. They are distinguished from bees by their aggressive behavior and hairless bodies. 

Damage: Yellowjackets, as well as many other species of social wasps, can be considered both a beneficial insect and a pest. If aggravated, they can sting people or animals. 

Common Hosts: In early summer, they usually seek out sources of protein and feed on other insects, making them beneficial. In the late summer, they are attracted to sugar and can become a nuisance by feeding on dropped fruit, picnics, pet food and trash cans.

Prevention

  • Sanitation- If you see a nest beginning to form, eliminate it with chemical sprays as soon as possible before it gets too large. Also clean up dropped fruit, seal trash cans to eliminate their food sources. 

Control: Pheremone-based traps are the most effective method against yellowjacket infestations. Be sure to replace the lure, and empty the traps frequently. Chemical sprays applied to the nests can be effective, but take caution to wear protective gear, as agitated wasps are particularly aggressive. 


 

Budworm

Description: Small (1mm-1cm) caterpillars, can be variable in color ranging from green to brown. Budworm_credit-999059-edited

Damage: Small holes in flower buds, occasionally tiny black excrement that resembles poppy seeds is present. 

Common Hosts: Geraniums, petunias and many agricultural crops such as tobacco and cotton. 

Prevention

  • Attract Beneficials- Natural predators of budworms include big-eyed bugs and several egg parasites are good methods of control. To keep them in your garden, practice IPM. 
  • Hand-picking- Budworms can be hard to control by chemical methods because they tend to hide inside the flower buds and be difficult to reach. 

Control: Bacillus thuringiensis or B.T. is a natural bacteria which is toxic to all types of caterpillars. Unfortunately, the caterpillars must consume it in order to perish, so the damage will continue for awhile after treatment. 

Want to learn more about seasonally relevant garden topics? 
Subscribe to E-Newsletter

Topics: Pest Prevention, Beneficial Insects

Our Plant Pick-of-the-Week: Penstemon 'Margarita BOP'

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Jul 30, 2015 5:45:00 PM

Our Plant Pick-of-the-Week: Penstemon 'Margarita BOP'
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Penstemon 'Margarita BOP' is distinctly different from other varieties of Penstemon, even at first glance. That's because atop it's compact 2' x 2' mound of foliage are dozens of flowers, which may be sky blue, or iridescent violet, or somewhere in between. This California native perennial was a chance discovery by Las Pilitas Nursery sometime in the early 80's when the workers noticed that this little Penstemon which sprung up on it's own was flourishing despite never being watered, fertilized or tended to. Las Pilitas Nursery is located in Santa Margarita California, and the 'BOP' stands for Back of Porch where the original specimen thrived for over a decade, until it was accidentally smothered by cement. 
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Rarely in the garden, do you find a plant that manages to look so good with little maintenance. So 'Margarita BOP' is truly a treasure. If it's ethereal blue-violet flowers don't entice you, maybe the fact that it is drought tolerant, thrives in full sun, and attracts hummingbirds, just might. 

It's McKenna's Pick-of-the-Week because:

"It's an easy-to-grow perennial that comes back strong every year! The flower color is spectacular, and I'm impressed by how it blooms all summer without a lot of water."

 

 

 

 

 







Are you crazy for California natives? Learn more about the best California natives for the Sacramento valley.  

Our Favorite Natives

 

For more ideas on how to re-vamp your yard to be more water wise, check out our Drought Tolerant Plant List.

Topics: Native Plants, Waterwise, Sacramento Low Water Plants, What Can I Plant This Season?, Flowers in the Heat, Low Water Plants, Sacramento Gardening, Summer, Drought Tolerant

Our Plant Pick-of-the-Week: Euphorbia

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Jul 24, 2015 6:00:00 PM

Our Plant Pick-of-the-Week: Euphorbia
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Euphorbia (sometimes known as Spurge) is sort of a perennial jack-of-all-trades. Many people know that it's water-wise, bears peculiar flowers and displays striking foliage color. However, did you know that it's also evergreen, disliked by deer and gophers and thrives in full sun to partial shade? Euphorbia is one of the largest and most diverse genus of flowering plants in the world, it comes in many shapes and forms. Even the popular Christmas houseplant, Poinsettia, is a part of the Euphorbia family! With all of these wonderful traits, it's no wonder that Euphorbia has been a choice plant for nurseries in recent years, with more and more varieties in every color imaginable showing up each season.
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It grows happily in our Mediterranean climate, and with so few pests to worry about, Euphorbia requires very little effort to maintain. Although it benefits from the occasional boost of organic fertilizer and light pruning in late winter-early spring, this laid-back perennial will astound you with it's ability to perform in even the most neglectful gardener's yard. Although some varieties are frost-tender succulents, the garden-hardy varieties pictured above, 'Ascot Rainbow', 'Glacier Blue' & 'Blackbird' will tolerate temperatures as low as 10°F. 
It's Nick's plant pick-of-the-week because:

 

"Euphorbia has attractive foliage all year-round! Plus, it's drought tolerant, full sun, deer resistant and low maintenance. What's not to love?"

 

 

 

 

 

 
To learn more about plants that are disliked by deer, check out our Top Water-Wise & Deer Resistant Plants for Sacramento Gardeners 

For more easy-going perennials...

Drought Tolerant Plants

Topics: Waterwise, Sacramento Low Water Plants, Flowers in the Heat, Flowers for Hot Weather, Summer Garden, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant

Pest SOS: 12 Most Common Summer Pests Part 2

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Jul 23, 2015 1:08:14 PM

Pest SOS: Top 12 Summer Pests faced by Sacramento Gardeners

Part Two

If you are battling pests in your garden this summer, check out part one of our Pest SOS series here.

Earwigs

Description: Approximately half inch dark brown/black bugs with a segmented torso and pinchers.Earwig_credit-927705-edited-999039-edited

Damage: Earwigs have chewing mouth parts which can cause irregular holes from feeding on soft new growth, seedlings and fruit. They also feed on other small, soft-bodied insects such as aphids, and can be considered a beneficial insect. 

Common Hosts: corn, berries, stone fruits, flowers, and the seedlings of all types of plants. 

Prevention:

  • Sanitation- Earwigs tend to congregate in cool, moist places during the day and come out to feed at night. Avoid creating a pleasant environment for them by cleaning up dropped fruit, eliminating debris piles and using a drip system rather than spray irrigation to eliminate excess moisture. 
  • Traps- Create a trap for earwigs using a rolled-up newspaper, placed low to the ground near the plants which are being damaged. In the morning, dump the earwigs which have congregated in the newspaper into a bucket of soapy water. 

Control: Baits such as Sluggo Plus are an effective method of control. Begin surrounding the host plants with bait as soon as the fruit begins to ripen, or just as the seedlings sprout. Reapply often for best results. 

 


 

Harlequin Bugs

Description: Harlequin bugs are a type of stink bug with a shield-shaped black body and red markings. 

Harlequin_credit-070357-editedDamage: All types of stink bugs have sucking mouth parts which they use to bite off plant tissue and suck out the juices, leaving discolored blotches behind. 

Common Hosts: All plants. They are especially fond of plants in the mustard family when other food sources are unavailable. 

Prevention: Eliminate Weeds. All stink bugs feed on weeds in the winter. Eliminating weeds as a food source will help keep populations down. 

Control: Stink bugs are hard to control, as most pesticides are not very effective against them. Most pest control programs recommend attracting natural predators to your garden, such as green lacewings, damsel bugs, assasin bugs, spiders and minute pirate bugs to name a few.

For more information on attracting beneficials to the garden...

Attracting Beneficials

 

 


 

Leafminer

Leafminer_credit-157112-edited

Description: Leafminer larvae are small yellowish maggots, the adults are striped black and yellow flies which resemble syrphid flies. 

Damage: Adults lay their eggs on the leaves, where they burrow under the surface and chew tunnels through the leaf tissue. The damage is usually superficial and rarely fatal to the plant. 

Common Hosts: Almost all plants, including many varieties of vegetables and flowers. 

Leafminer_damage_credit-202656-edited

 

 


Prevention

  • Cultural care- Keeping your plants healthy will prevent them from becoming stressed and exuding chemicals which attract opportunistic pests. Prune off any leaves which show leafminer damage to prevent them from spreading. 
  • Attracting Beneficials- Leafminers can usually be controlled by their natural predators, so planting a variety of flowers which bloom during all seasons to attract beneficial insects can be an effective method of prevention.

Control: Spraying plants with an organic spinosad-based insecticide such as Captain Jack's Dead Bug Brew is usually enough to deter them, and it is safe to use on edibles. 


 

Voles

Vole_credit-508197-editedDescription: Brown fuzzy rodents that resemble small rats. They breed profusely and populations will fluctuate cyclically, sometimes skyrocketing when conditions are favorable. 

Damage: Chewing on leaves and roots of herbaceous plants and the bark of trees. They can even 'girdle' a tree by chewing around the entire circumference of the trunk and preventing the flow of water and nutrients, killing the tree. 

Common Hosts: Grasses, herbaceous plants, woody plants, bulbs and tubers. 

 

 

Prevention:

  • Sanitation- By removing dense overgrown groundcovers, you eliminate some of their coverage forcing them out into the open where they are more exposed to predators.
  • Exclusion- Using chicken wire or metal fencing to keep them out of landscaped areas. They can still burrow in occasionally, but the fencing will help keep some out. Metal barriers are also a good way of protecting the lower trunk of trees or the roots of young plants. 

Control: Repellents such as Mole Max, when combined with the above methods of prevention, can be very effective. Burrow fumigants are usually not effective, as voles tend to create shallow tunnels with many entrances exposed to air. 

 

Topics: Pest Prevention, Beneficial Insects

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