Master Gardener: Pests and other problems in the garden – The News-Messenger


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Now that harvesting season is in full picking, let’s look back to correct any problems to avoid next year.  How about “why is my plant dying?” Here is a list of garden-destroying insects/bugs. Journal the do’s and don’ts for next year.Aphids on every garden vegetable. Cluster of small, soft-bodied insects on buds and growth tips (gray, black, pink, green, red, or yellow in color); sticky secretions may be evident. Leaves are curled. The cure is to spray with contact poison labeled for aphids on vegetables.NEED TO TRANSPLANT A TREE?: Master Gardener: Learn the proper way to transplant trees, shrubsBeetles of various kinds on every vegetable crop can be infested by one or more variety of beetles. You may notice irregularly shaped hole in the leaves, hard-shelled beetles of many colors and sizes. The cure is to pick off by hand or spray with a stomach poison insecticide.Borers can be found on cucumber, melon, pumpkin and squash plants. The growth tips will be wilted, or entire plant will be wilted; small holes in the plant stem at point where the wilting begins will be noticed. You can cut out the borer or destroy entire plant if affected at base of plant. Spray base of plant with suitable stomach poison insecticide in late spring or early summer.Battle the cabbage and corn wormsCabbage worm is found on broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and others. It will look like irregular holes in foliage; you will notice green caterpillars under and on top of leaves. Pick off the caterpillars by hand. Spray with Bacillus thuringiensis — an organic insecticide — or stomach poison.Corn earworm, tomato fruit worm is located on corn, eggplant and pepper tomato plants. Symptoms to notice are corn kernels are eaten to the husks; insides of tomatoes, pepper, and eggplants are eaten; yellow-tan worms found inside. Appling insecticide is recommended for earworms. Remove infested plant debris at the end of the season.Cutworms can be found on cabbage, pepper and tomato plants in the form of the entire plant being wilted or cut off at the base of the plant. Use paper collars, one inch above and one inch below ground level, around stems of transplants for a cure.SCENTS MAKE SENSE: Meet Your Neighbor: Soy candle shop finds its niche in Port ClintonGrubs are found on most vegetables. The plant will have slight wilting. It will grow poorly for no apparent reason – possibly from root damage. Control the adult beetle with a stomach poison and apply soil drench of suitable insecticide.Leaf hoppers are seen on bean, carrot, chayote, cucumber, endive, lettuce, melon, and potato plants with foliage turning yellow and begins to curl; small green-patterned, winged insects will be on undersides of leaves. The cure is to spray off the light infestations with a garden hose. Apply a stomach poison that is labeled for use on vegetables.Leaf miners are found on beet, cabbage, chard, eggplant, lettuce, pepper, squash, and tomato plants. It will be visible with whitish trails on top sides of leaves and microscopic larvae of tiny flying insects. Remove the infected leaves by hand.  Keep the garden weed-free. Remove and destroy infested plants in the fall.Check various plans for root maggotsRoot maggots like cabbage, carrot, radish, spinach, squash and turnip plants. They will wilt the plant; root inspection indicates yellowish, ¼ to 1 ¼-inch wormlike creatures.Discourage the fly from laying eggs near the seedlings by putting shields of plastic or paper 4 inches square around the seedlings. For the heavy infestation, drench soil with insecticide labeled for control of root maggots.Snails and slugs have a magnet for cabbage, carrot, lettuce, tomato, and turnip plants. You will witness a slime trail from plants that have irregular holes in leaves and lower stems. To rid the culprit, remove debris where they hide during the day.  Shallow pans of beer will attract and drown pests. Commercial baits are available.Spider mites are visible on bean, cucumber, eggplant, and tomato plants. There will be yellowing of leaves with a speckled look; fine spider webs on backs of leaves and at point where leaves attach to stem; tiny reddish mites on webs and undersides of leaves. Spray plants with miticide labeled for use on vegetables.Thrips are found on bean, cabbage, carrot, celery, cucumber, melon, onion, pea squash, tomato and turnip plants. It will distort leaf tips and leave white irregular marks on the leaves. Hose off infected areas (insects are nearly invisible to the naked eye). Spray with a contact poison labeled for vegetable garden use.Tomato hornworm infest eggplant, pepper and tomato plants. The 4-inch green and white caterpillar like worm is found on the leaves and fruit of tomatoes and other related plants. It is suggested you remove the worms by hand as they are discovered. Spray with Bacillus thuringienis or stomach poison insecticide.Are you seeing white flies and wireworns?White flies are found on eggplant, pepper, sweet potato, and tomato plants. They are tiny white insects that fly from plant when disturbed. Large infestations will weaken the plant by feeding on undersides of foliage. The light infestations can be sprayed off with a garden hose then spray contact poison labeled for white fly on vegetables.Wireworms like carrot, lettuce, potato, tomato and various other plants. The plant will look poorly grown, yellow, wilted when the hard, one-inch golden worms feed on seeds, roots, and lower stems. To rid them, drench soil with recommended insecticide. Control adults later in the season.Susan La Fountaine is a Master Gardener with the Sandusky and Ottawa County Extension Offices.
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