Help with Fukien Tea and aphids.

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Help with Fukien Tea and aphids.

Post  SamC on Mon Nov 02, 2015 10:06 pm

Hello all. I have a Fukien Tea I purchased early in the spring. I have had (and lost one previously), so I am watching this one like a hawk.

Yesterday I noticed what I thought was a shed insect skin on a leaf, and sure enough, once I got my loupe out I saw it was in fact a shed skin...and much to my disgust I found tiny pale green aphids attached to many of the "stems" that terminate in flower buds.

I think they are too small and probably already in numbers too great for "manual removal" to be anything save for an exercise in wasting time.

My previous Fukien Tea tree survived into spring, but was infested by aphids, scale and spider mites. I used several pesticides, but either my efforts came too late, or the plant reacts badly too one of the chemicals. I am wondering if anyone could advise me if there are any pesticides to absolutely not use on a Fukien Tea tree?

My current plan is to rinse the tree under a good stream of water, and then apply Liquid Seven. I am also considering starting to use a systemic pesticide, as in my experience if there is a bonsai that is a "pest magnet", Fukien Tea trees must rate up there with the best. I am certain the water stream will do no harm, but will wait for feedback for further treatment suggestions. TIA!

SamC
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Re: Help with Fukien Tea and aphids.

Post  JimLewis on Tue Nov 03, 2015 2:55 pm

Try a houseplant spray that contains pyrethrins.  Sevin is overkill. 

Where and how and with what are you keeping this tree?  Did you spray it once BEFORE you brought it indoors?

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Re: Help with Fukien Tea and aphids.

Post  augustine on Tue Nov 03, 2015 3:02 pm

Listen to Jim's good advice.

I have one additional comment. Place the plant under the shower head and give it a thorough cleaning every week or two.

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Re: Help with Fukien Tea and aphids.

Post  JimLewis on Tue Nov 03, 2015 4:53 pm

augustine wrote:Listen to Jim's good advice.

I have one additional comment. Place the plant under the shower head and give it a thorough cleaning every week or two.

Good!

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Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: Help with Fukien Tea and aphids.

Post  SamC on Wed Nov 04, 2015 6:37 am

Sorry for the delay... will try to reply sequentially.

I think a pyrethrin based spray is possibly the only pesticide I may not have...found out the hard way it kills Crassula sp. as good as Round-Up. I have just been extremely wary of it since...(and yes, I later did more research and found out that succulents are just freaking touchy about most pesticides). But, what is safe for aphids on a Fukien Tea was the heart of my reaching out to this community on this subject. (And many thanks).

I did not spray it with water before I brought it in, as that occurred rather in a rush to prevent it from being exposed to quite sudden near freezing temperatures. I did set in in my "quarantine area", and did give it a look over and didn't notice any hints of a problem. Actually it was still in my quarantine area when I found that it was in fact infested.

As I stated in my initial post, I went through with my intent and used our shower to give the plant a good rinsing. Using the "pulse" setting under fairly low pressure did WONDERS ( heh! ). Afterwards I found only a couple aphids, so I know there are more, but their numbers have been drastically reduced.

I can definitely get some pyrethrin based spray, now that I have been advised it is safe for use on Fukien Tea. I just didn't want to assume that X was okay and kill off another Fukien Tea needlessly.

I definitely like "less in more" and using the right tool for the job. Liquid Sevin has become part of my tool kit because it does take care of the scale problems I occasionally encounter.

I love Fukien Tea for the nearly year around blooms, but this one hasn't set a single berry...but that may be a question for another post.

Again, thanks for your replies!

SamC
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Re: Help with Fukien Tea and aphids.

Post  John Quinn on Thu Nov 05, 2015 1:55 am

I have had good results on a number of species using Spectracide Immunox Plus. It is available as a ready to use spray or aerosol can. You can buy small quantities for spot jobs. The active ingredients are myclobutanil (disease control) and permethrin (insect control). Purists will argue against using a combination product for a single purpose. I have a number of azaleas which have had lace bugs in the past and this is well tolerated. I have used it on some tropicals but read somewhere once that Japanese maples don't like permethrins. It is available at Home Depot.

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Re: Help with Fukien Tea and aphids.

Post  Norma on Thu Nov 05, 2015 9:57 pm

Hi Sam, I've been growing bonsai since the early 90's and have tried almost everything but have found the best for tropicals is a homemade mixture of water, rubbing alcohol and liquid dish soap. I just throw it together but you could use 1-2 cups water, 1 tablespoon alcohol, and 1 tablespoon green liquid dish soap. I like the green soap because I know what's in the spray bottle at a glance. Check your bonsai for bugs each time you water or at least once a week.
My son owned a Fukien Tea that finally was done in by bugs and chemicals....wish I'd learned the above recipe earlier. Also since our climate tends to be hard on our trees in the winter , humidity and air circulation are necessary! And finally when a new member to bonsai asks about the Fukien Tea , I equate growing Fukien's to a greenhouse's worst nightmare!

Good luck and hope you can stop the bugs!!
Norma

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Re: Help with Fukien Tea and aphids.

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