Mealy bugs and gritty mix

briana_2006December 30, 2012

Hello all -

In addition to the benefits of the gritty mix in terms of drainage and providing air to the rootzone, I understand the gritty mix does not support the environment needed for fungus gnats to survive as do peat based soils.

I was wondering if this applies to other typical pests such as mealybugs.

I haven't yet switched everything over to the gritty mix and so I have a couple of plants with mealy bugs. After I remove them by washing, spraying etc and switch to gritty mix will the problem of mealy bugs be a memory?

Also, after I screen turface MVP (50 lbs) through 1/8 inch insect screen roughly how much of the material should I expect to dispose of because it goes through the screen -- enough to fill a quart container? -- when I screen it seems as though a lot goes through -- it also seems when I think I am about done and nothing more is coming out -- if I shake the material more -- stil more material exits the screen?

Once I screen out the fines in the 50 lbs of turface and screen the fines out of the granite (50 lbs gran-i-grit grower) and the fir bark -- how much total mix should I expect to end up with in terms of quarts or cubic feet?

Thanks,
Brian

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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

Gritty mix will not keep mealy bugs away. I made the mistake of buying a small variegated jade from a big box store, and realized a few weeks later that I had introduced mealies to my collection of cacti and succulents at the office, all of which were growing nicely in gritty mix. I brought them under control with systemic imidicloprid. I don't use that outdoors because it kills bees. An organic method of controlling a light mealy bug attack is to clean them off with a Q-tip soaked in alcohol and then to spread used coffee grounds on the surface of the potting mix.

Others can address your questions about screening. I use insect screen to screen turface and don't lose much of it.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 6:39PM
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calistoga_al

Insect screens are usually less than 1/16 inch openings. Using a 1/8 inch you will lose too much of your Turface. The reason for screening is to get out the fine dust like material. Al

    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 10:55AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

One + of using soils that promote healthy root systems is the fact that healthier plants are better able to resist insect and disease, but there is no guarantee that a healthy plant will be immune to insect/disease predation.

I too, use a spray from Bayer with imidacloprid in it for most insect infestations other than mites (has to be sprayed outdoors). I also use a soil drench with imidacloprid, but the spray works better. I don't like the granular vehicles that carry imidacloprid (Merit/Marathon/Dragon) because they filter down into the soil, and I've repeatedly seen evidence of weakened root systems whenever I've used it.

I too, use aluminum insect screen to remove the fines from Turface, grit, and the prescreened fir bark (1/8-1/4) I use.

Al

    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 12:20PM
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jodik_gw

I use either a spray or a systemic as a means of prevention. Bugs will still be attracted to the plants, but there's less chance of harm or mass infestation because of the more inorganic environment, and the better health of the roots, thereby the plants, themselves. Even so, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 1:48PM
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