It is that time of the summer when walking through your garden is a new discovery every day. Alongside newly blossoming flowers, you may be finding some unwelcome surprises through as well. Holes in your leaves, along with plants that may appear to be disappearing altogether. Strange creatures seem to have taken up residence as well. Here are some things you may be finding in your garden at this time.
Spider Mite : Wondering why your foliage suddenly has a bronzy finish, or looks dull and grey? Notice the small mites spinning tiny webs between leaves. These are spider mites! Spider mite damage peaks in July and August. They feed on the sap of the plant and the plant can die as a result. Lady bugs are a natural predator of the spider mite, so seeing these in your garden should be welcomed!
Tomato Hornworms: One of the largest predatory worms seen in Connecticut, the tomato Hornworm is an uninvited house guest. He will feed on the leaves and the new stems of the tomato plant, and during this time of year, you may even see them eating the tomatoes themselves! Handpicking them off of your plants is really the best solution! Note: tomato hornworms are the caterpillar stage of the Sphinx Moth, an important pollinator in the garden!
Aphid: The most diverse of all of the garden pests, there are more than 4000 species of aphid and come in almost every color you can imagine. Not only does the aphid suck sap from the plants, but their saliva is toxic to plants as well. Decreased growth rates, and stunting are what is most readily noticed. The real concern is virus: many aphids are virus vessels for viruses that can kill plants. So, though they may be little, they can pack a punch. For organic solutions, you can treat with Captain Jack's Dead Bug Brew or an Insecticidal Soap trying to avoid any flowers. For another organic solution, blast those little guys with a high powered hose to remove them from your plants.
Downy Mildew: So you are walking through your garden noticing that one of your plants looks to be covered with yellow dots. Underneath the leaves is a bluish/silver mass. This is downy mildew. Almost taxonomically identical a fungus, downy mildew works systemically going through the plant in every part. Treat with a fungicide. Organic options include a Copper Funcicide Spray or Fungus Pharm.
Powdery Mildew: Powdery mildew has the appearance that your plant's foliage and even stems have been lightly covered in a pale powder. Powdery Mildew is a fungus and will destroy the foliage if left untreated. The worst foliage should be removed, while Copper Fungicide, a homemade solution or many of the Pharms solutions can be sprayed on the plant as a treatment. As a preventative, Copper Fungicide should be sprayed once per week throughout the season.
Japanese Beetle: The Japanese Beetle is perhaps one of the most irritating pest in the garden. Little kills them other than the hands of a human and a cup of soapy water. At this point in the season, their damage is evident. by random holes in the foliage of your plants, this is the mark of a Japanese Beetle. You can use Captain Jack's Dead Bug Brew , or you can hand-pick them and drop into soapy cup of water.
For more information, read our full blog post on identifying and preventing Japanese Beetles. ->
Praying Mantis: As we round out the summer, the last of the praying mantis' are hatching for the season and feeding on the bugs in your garden! A majestic looking creature, the praying mantis commands respect through not only its size, but its stealth for hunting! These guys are good, be sure to keep them in your garden.