Squash Vine Borers

I don’t know about you, but I consider squash vine borers one of my garden’s worst enemies! Just when my squash vines are beginning to produce well, they suddenly go limp and die! Luckily, there IS something we can do to prevent or minimize the damage from this pesky insect. Understanding the life cycle of any pest is key to its management. The squash vine borer adult is a small wasp-like “clear-wing” moth with a reddish-orange abdomen. The adult moths emerge from their pupating stage in the soil in late [...]

By | 2018-04-18T21:43:55+00:00 April 18th, 2018|Insects|

Scarlet Laurel Bug on Texas Mountain Laurel

Some of you may have noticed an exceptionally large outbreak of the Scarlet Laurel Bugs on the new growth of your Texas Mountain Laurels this year. This scarlet red bug with a central black wing area feeds on new growth, blooms and seed pods. In addition to having piercing/sucking mouthparts, the female of this species inserts eggs in to plant tissue with a bladelike ovipositor, causing further damage to foliage on your trees. Scarlet Laurel Bugs are “True Bugs”, meaning they are in the Order Hemiptera, and are related to [...]

By | 2018-04-12T14:23:43+00:00 April 12th, 2018|Insects|

Spider Mites on Italian Cypress

Treat Italian Cypress NOW! I’ve often mentioned that we have these “windows” for controlling insects and diseases on plants. For those of you who have Italian Cypress planted in your landscape, don’t miss this opportunity to apply dormant oil to prevent spider mites from infesting your plants this spring. I have had great success with one application of All-Season’s Spray Oil in February on Italian Cypress to suppress this damaging insect which often shows up in March. There are a few guidelines to go by for successful results: Temperatures must [...]

By | 2018-02-07T00:50:11+00:00 February 7th, 2018|Insects|

Cabbage Loopers

Keep those Loopers off your cabbage! If you have ever grown members of the Crucifer family, such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, radish or turnip, you have probably experienced the wrath of one of three hungry caterpillars. The Cabbage Looper, the Imported Cabbageworm and the larvae of the Diamondback Moth can all make your beautiful vegetable leaves look like Swiss cheese! Imported Cabbageworms adults are probably the most conspicuous of the three. They appear as a white to yellowish butterfly flitting about the garden laying their eggs on your plants! [...]

By | 2018-01-15T14:01:22+00:00 January 15th, 2018|Insects|

Twig Girdlers

I came out one morning and my driveway was covered in the tips of the branches from my enormous Cedar tree. (Actually, what we call a Cedar in Central Texas is really an Ashe Juniper.) I picked up one of the fallen branch tips. It was about 3-4” long.  I examined the cut end of the twig. Yep. I could see the smoothly chewed groove that caused the twig to fall. It was Twig Girdler damage, all right! Twig Girdlers are small beetles that may cause disfiguring damage to many [...]

By | 2017-11-06T16:45:44+00:00 November 6th, 2017|Insects|

My Lawn is ALIVE!

Soooooo many calls the past two weeks about “creepy crawlies” on lawn grasses! What is going on, and what can we do about it? Many lawns were visited a month or so ago by hoards of 1-inch-wide tan or mottled gray moths. The moths laid eggs and the Armyworms have hatched! The rains last month gave these pests the conditions they needed to reproduce and cause rapid damage to lawns. Typically, these Armyworm larvae feed and are most active at night and on overcast days. In daylight, they will hide [...]

By | 2017-10-18T13:06:34+00:00 October 18th, 2017|Insects|

Midges are a Nuisance!

There are a lot of perks that come with living near a lake or pond, especially in Texas. But in addition to swimming and boating, your summers might include large populations of mosquito-looking insects hatching in hordes! They infiltrate your outdoor spaces, fly in your mouth and up your nose, turn your patio into a dark mess of squashed bugs, hover around your porch lights, and generally cause a huge nuisance! Aquatic midges, also known as non-biting midges, are related to flies but look like mosquitoes. Females lay their eggs [...]

By | 2017-08-24T13:10:43+00:00 August 24th, 2017|Insects|

Planting for Butterflies

Working in a nursery certainly has its advantages. When the butterflies are out in force, it is a show-stopping display! Most of you know that butterflies have less specific “nectar” plants for the adult butterflies and more specific “food” plants for the caterpillars. It is interesting that the adults will often scope out where to lay their eggs while they are feeding on nectar. For this reason, it is helpful to have some of the “food” plants nearby when planting your nectar garden. An example of a “food” plant for [...]

By | 2017-08-09T11:56:04+00:00 August 9th, 2017|Insects|

Lacebug Damage on Lantanas

Watch for Lacebug damage on Lantanas! The leaves will appear “bleached-out”, and there will be black specks on the back of the leaves. Damage usually appears in July and August. Cut these plants back pretty hard and then fertilize them. When new growth appears, protect the new foliage by spraying with a product labeled for lacebugs. Come consult our knowledgeable nursery staff for recommendations on appropriate fertilizers and insecticides. Spots on the back of Lantana leaves caused by lacebugs. Lacebugs on the back of lantana leaves. [...]

By | 2017-08-01T14:06:08+00:00 August 1st, 2017|Insects|

Crape Myrtle Aphids

It’s funny, we don’t always get the question “How do I control aphids on my Crape Myrtles?” More often, we are asked, “Why are my Crape Myrtle leaves black?” or, “What is dripping on my car from the Crape Myrtle trees?”  Both of these questions refer to an infestation of an insect called a Crape Myrtle aphid. Yes, they actually are named after the tree. That, in itself, tells us something. It is one of the most common pests of Crape Myrtles in the United States. Apparently it was introduce [...]

By | 2017-05-30T14:36:26+00:00 May 30th, 2017|Insects|

Insects in the Vegetable Garden

Do You Have Insects in the Vegetable Garden? As the temperatures warm, insects become more of problem in the home garden. We are seeing stink bugs hatching from their eggs, spider mites sucking sap from plant cells, and caterpillars munching on our crops! Stink bugs are most easily controlled when they have just hatched and are in the “nymph” stage. Actually, they are most easily controlled when they are eggs, and you can simply pick them off the leaf and place in a can of soapy water! The eggs are [...]

By | 2017-07-17T08:22:54+00:00 May 25th, 2017|Insects, Uncategorized|

Tree Borers

Tree Borers Many tree boring insects are attracted to weakened, damaged, dying or dead plants. They are referred to as “secondary invaders” because they attack a plant only after it has been weakened by stress or injury. Wood boring insects that attack living, healthy trees are known as “primary invaders”, and may eventually kill trees. It is important to differentiate the two when implementing borer control methods. Borer infestations usually go unnoticed until the tree shows external signs of damage, such as browning leaves or dying branches. The holes on [...]

By | 2017-05-08T10:40:16+00:00 April 4th, 2017|Insects, Trees|