Aphids can be difficult insects to control. But how much do we really need to control them? This article explores the aphid life cycle and some different ways to reduce their population without using toxic chemicals. Where do we see aphids?     Aphids are sucking insects which feed on fleshy new growth and the undersides of leaves. We look for them at the top of Crape Myrtles where new growth is abundant. We might find them on the flower buds of Tropical Hibiscus, new growth on any species of [...]

By |2023-11-04T12:38:57-05:00November 1st, 2023|Insects, Plants|

Mealy Bugs

Mealy bugs are one nasty insect. You should really familiarize yourself with these destructive, hard to control insects. Catching them early may be your only chance at control.  Finding Mealy bugs any time of the year is unwelcome. If you have a greenhouse, you can depend on them showing up when the plastic goes on and the plants go in. If you find mealy bugs on your plants in late summer/early fall, get to work-you MUST control them before bringing them inside or putting them in a greenhouse for the [...]

By |2023-10-16T15:48:54-05:00October 16th, 2023|Insects|

Lantana Flower Gall Mite

  Have you seen deformed growth at the tips of your Lantana branches this summer? If so, your plant may be infested with a mite called the Lantana Flower Gall Mite.  This microscopic mite breeds inside the developing flower buds, stunting vegetative growth and preventing flowering and seed production. The distorted growth appears as a "witches broom" at the location of the tips of the branches where the flowers usually appear. This mite is destructive to ornamental plantings of Lantana in the landscape and affects the seed availability for birds.  [...]

By |2023-10-17T10:40:17-05:00October 16th, 2023|Uncategorized, Insects, Plants|

Yucca Plant Bugs

Are your Yucca plants looking tired?   Are the leaves lighter in color than usual? If so, they might be infested with Yucca Plant Bugs. These relatives of Stink Bugs and Leaf-footed Bugs have piercing-sucking mouth parts. They feed on the plant by extracting juices from the leaves. The leaf will appear "stippled" with tiny light colored dots. You may see black specks on the leaves, which are the feces of the bug.         Yucca Plant Bugs overwinter as fertilized eggs that have been placed inside the [...]

By |2023-04-17T12:02:53-05:00April 17th, 2023|Insects|

How to Check for Spider Mites On Evergreens

CHECK FOR SPIDER MITES EARLY!!!!!!     Don't wait for your Italian Cypress or other evergreens to turn gray, then completely brown before determining if they have spider mites. By then it will be too late. This is one pest that you want to stay ahead of. If you wait until you see the symptoms, it will likely be too hot to spray. The best time to treat for spider mites on Italian Cypress or other evergreens is in February.              Even if your Cypress [...]

By |2023-02-12T09:08:01-06:00February 12th, 2023|Insects|


Plant galls are fascinating to me. They are all around us, yet we seldom notice them unless they appear in a favorite landscape tree. Plant galls are produced by a variety of organisms which include mites, wasps, midges, thrips, fruit flies, moths, psyllids, and aphids, as well as bacteria and fungi. Most plant galls are not harmful to the host plant, with the exception of some formed by bacteria and fungi. Many plant galls are produced by the host plant in response to the egg laying activity of the insects [...]

By |2023-02-28T08:27:30-06:00October 2nd, 2022|Trees, Insects, Disease|

Squash Bugs

Squash bugs are appearing in numbers now on leaves of squash and related plants such as pumpkins, melons, and cucumbers.     Nymphs hatch from eggs laid on the underside of leaves near the crown of the plant.           Nymphs are green and red, about 1/8” long and appear clustered in groups at first. As they develop into adults through five instars (stages) they disperse themselves on the plants.         Adult Squash bugs are grayish brown, with short orange stripes around the edge [...]

By |2022-04-18T11:58:45-05:00April 18th, 2022|Insects, Vegetable Gardening|

Crape Myrtle Bark Scale

When a customer calls or comes in with black sooty mold on their Crape Myrtle leaves, the first thing we look for is aphids. The second thing we look for is Crape Myrtle Bark Scale. Although this introduced species from China, Japan and Korea is not as common as aphids on Crape Myrtles, we are seeing it more and more frequently in recent years. Like aphids, this scale insect has sucking mouthparts which suck the juices from the plant cells. Since they cannot utilize the “sugars” in the cells, they [...]

By |2022-01-15T12:06:50-06:00August 10th, 2021|Trees, Insects|

Root Knot Nematodes

Root Knot Nematodes (Meloidogyne spp.) are parasitic microscopic worm-like animals that infest plant roots and interfere with the uptake of water and nutrients. Infected plants will appear stunted, they may wilt on hot days even though soil is moist, they may have chlorotic or light green leaves and usually have reduced yields.       The roots will have "knots" on them where the nematode has entered the plant, and the "knots" do not come off easily, as can be seen on this nematode infested potato.         [...]

By |2023-02-28T08:33:07-06:00July 21st, 2021|Fruit & Nuts, Plants, Insects, Disease, Vegetable Gardening|

Borers in Shade Trees

One of the most frequent questions we get at the nursery is about borer holes in tree trunks. Unfortunately, almost everyone wants to know how to “treat” for the borers, not realizing that the presence of borers is just an indication of a larger problem. Wood boring insects include the larvae of various beetles, moths and even a wood boring wasp. Most of these insects lay their eggs on the bark and the hatching larva chew their way into the plant to feed. Most wood boring insects cannot successfully attack [...]

By |2023-10-23T14:14:57-05:00July 7th, 2021|Trees, Insects|

Gummosis in Fruit Trees

Gummosis is a term that refers to the presence of  amber-colored sap oozing from the trunk or branches of a tree. It is important to understand that the term “gummosis” is a symptom, not a cause of a tree ailment. Anything that stresses the tree can be a causal factor. It is necessary to determine the cause of the stress in order to mitigate future damage to the tree. Gummosis has a variety of causes: Environmental stress: Compacted soils, poorly drained soils, light sandy soils, use of weed and feed [...]

By |2022-01-15T12:09:08-06:00July 7th, 2021|Trees, Plants, Insects, Fruit & Nuts, Disease|

Fungus Gnats in Houseplants

Almost all of us have wondered about those little black gnats that seem to come with our houseplants. What are they and how can we get rid of them? Fungus gnats are interesting little insects. The adults, which are what you see flying around and being a nuisance, have not been found to do much of anything but lay eggs in soil. They do not feed on the plants and do not bite, and they only live for about eight days.               Fungus gnat [...]

By |2022-01-15T12:17:05-06:00June 22nd, 2021|Insects, Houseplants|
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