systemic insect control

anita55(zone 6 NY)September 20, 2009

If I use this type of product on a shrub that has berries in the fall will it harm the birds that might eat them? Thanks.

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Systemic pesticides should not be used on edibles. This would apply to food for wildlife, as well as humans.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2009 at 10:24AM
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anita55(zone 6 NY)

Hi Rhizo, so what should I use on my viburnums that would stop the decimation?

    Bookmark   September 21, 2009 at 11:02AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

come on anita .... you are in denial ...

its late sept .... the leaves are going to fall off in a few weeks.. do you really think you need systemic chemicals.. i doubt the plant could even pump it up the shrub into the leaves .... before the leaves fall off ...

first.. what decimation .... what bug.. how is it damaging your shrubs LONG TERM health ... and why is your first thought to go nuclear???

second .. relax.. the snow will be flying soon enough.. and all your bug nightmares will be gone ... lol

its just to late in the season to be using any chemicals.. IMHO ...


    Bookmark   September 21, 2009 at 4:42PM
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anita55(zone 6 NY)

Hi Ken, To me Denial is just a river in Africa. I wasn't talking about NOW. I'm planning for next year. Isn't that what gardeners do? The leaves are pretty well eaten, I'm not sure by what. We do have Japanese beetles, and I have seen ants which could indicate aphids. I was hoping for low maintainance when I bought these but I guess that was just a dream. thanks for the helpful input.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2009 at 10:33PM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

I think first you need to find out what is eating the leaves. Then you can make an educated decision about what to use.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2009 at 6:13AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

planning for next year



how about this plan...

throw away all your chemicals RIGHT NOW...

and let the bugs have at it next year ...

i bet that NOTHING will die because of the bugs ..


    Bookmark   September 22, 2009 at 8:35AM
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Ken's view may be expressed a bit extremely but it's pretty much right on......very few insects do enough damage to mortally affect plants. It is almost entirely cosmetic in nature. It helps to develop some tolerance for this. Nature is seldom the idealized, perfect pristine environment, except from a distance. I often suggest to my clients to observe the "10 foot rule" - if the problem is not obvious from a distance of 10 feet away, then it's not really a 'problem' at all :-)

The issue with employing pesticides, like the systemic and even many organic preparations, is that they disrupt the activities of natural predators, like the birds, toads and beneficial insects. However, there are ways of addressing insect issues that will have minimal impact on the environment......but first you need to know specifically what the problem species is. Japanese beetles can be addressed with milky spore; other types of larvae can be controlled with beneficial nematodes; pruning out damaged portions and removal of egg sacks (especially in fall) will help to control Viburnum leaf beetle or you can use Tanglefoot or other barrier type controls. And keeping your plants as healthy as possible will help a lot - avoid over-fertilizing, provide adequate watering and good soil and site conditions, proper spacing and use a soil-protecting mulch. Plants that are stressed for whatever reason tend to be much more appealling to insects than those that are not.

FWIW, aphids don't eat plant foliage - they are sucking insects that extract plant juices resulting in sometimes deformed or contorted foliage but no holes.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2009 at 10:42AM
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anita55(zone 6 NY)

Now gardengal, that was a thoughtful and educational post. I thought for a moment that I had posted on the organic gardening forum by accident after Ken's "funny" reply to me. I do try to do things the natural way. We applied milky spore to the lawn and do try to avoid chemicals. I pick off the JB, snails, etc by hand when I see them on any of my plants. I have a beautiful, natural butterfly and bee garden so I am very aware of nonchemical means of control. I am, however, concerned about these plants because 2 of the don't seem to be growing properly. Two of them were bought from the same nursery and were in good health and pest free when I brought them home. I planted them in May of 2007 so this is their second summmer. They were eaten last summer too, and I sprayed with insecticidal soap and removed the parts of the plant that didn't look good. This year I haven't had the time to keep an eye on them and doing yard chores now I notice that the leaves are eaten, my guess would be JB; maybe something is wrong that is stressing them besides the bugs. I appreciate your thoughtful reply to my question. I will try to post a photo so you can look at the condition of these plants and give me your opinion of what might be going on. I am open to useful suggestions :) thanks

    Bookmark   September 22, 2009 at 1:35PM
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anita55(zone 6 NY)

Hi here are some photos of the viburnum dentatums that i'm concerned about. They are on the edge of the woods, spaced about 8-10 feet apart. The one in the middle is doing much better than its counterpart on the left. I bought them together and they were about the same size. The one to the right is a Blue Muffin, which I think is a smaller plant anyway but still not growing well. I found a curled leaf with a worm of some kind inside on the left hand shrub. I tried to photograph it for you. The leaves don't look like JB have been at them. Different kind of holes, IMO. We also have deer visitors who may be browsing them. I did NOT mulch them this year. We had several crises in our lives which took me away from my garden but I did weed around them several times. They have not been fed either. Any diagnosis, suggestions?

To the far left with the white tag and then the bigger shrub in the center. wild berry brambles and canadian clearweed is mostly what's around them. These shrubs were the same size when I bought them.

Again the larger shrub in the middle and to the right of the ferns is the blue muffin. Was very small when I bought it but still doesn't seem to be thriving.

This is the one in the middle that seems to be doing better than the others

This the shrub to the far left

CRITTER in the curled leaf.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2009 at 2:49PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I'd suggest you try neem oil to prevent the beetles and caterpillars from feeding. It also works as something of a growth regulator for pest insects that feed on foliage or plant juices.

Most of the damage looks like that of viburnum beetles, the adults and larvae both feed on foliage. The larvae are somewhat caterpiller-ish looking and can be observed in large gangs. At that stage, a strong spray of plain water can knock them down. Insecticidal soap would be helpful.

The caterpillar pictured is familiar to me, but I can't come up with the name at present. Doesn't really matter. Remove any you find.

Viburnum beetles overwinter as eggs. The adult beetle creates a slit in the bark and will deposit her eggs. This is usually done on the youngest (terminal) twigs. Pruning, to remove the eggs, in the late fall or winter is considered an important aspect of control.

I've found a good website with images of the twig damage so that you can learn what to look for when you get busy with your pruners!

Here is a link that might be useful: Click here

    Bookmark   September 24, 2009 at 1:48PM
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anita55(zone 6 NY)

Rhizo thank you so much. I was afraid that this is what it was. I have inspected the plants and I do see where the eggs are deposited. I guess I'll wait until the leaves have fallen and get out my clippers. I have heard of Neem oil and will get some. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2009 at 3:31PM
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Thanks, rhizo, for contributing that advice :-) The damage looked like Viburnum leaf beetle to me also but since they are an extremely uncommon pest in my area (thankfully!), I was reluctant to confirm that.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2009 at 9:29AM
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anita55(zone 6 NY)

Hi Gardengal, I have now read reports that they are in the lower part of New York, New York City, even. And it appears that this is one pest that can indeed kill the plant. I will be after them now and see if I can get them healthy and keep them that way.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2009 at 12:58PM
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