Preventing infestation questions

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Preventing infestation questions

Post  Cordon on Sat Nov 28, 2009 8:23 pm

Every spring my elms and quince start out doing just great, then out of nowhere they are attacked by hordes of aphids and leaf hoppers. I'm able to respond to the infestations, but does anyone have any advice on preventing them in the first place? By the time I'm able to curtail the invasion, significant damage has been done to the young shoots and extending branches.

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Preventing Infestation

Post  bonsaisr on Sat Nov 28, 2009 8:34 pm

Normally it is not recommended, but in a situation where you expect it every year, try a preventive spray with a systemic, like Bayer's or Orthenex just before you expect the invasion.
Iris

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Re: Preventing infestation questions

Post  JimLewis on Mon Nov 30, 2009 9:11 pm

I have to strongly disagree with Iris here. Virtually all pesticides available to the homeowner in the USA (and I hope most other areas) have extremely brief persistence levels. Hence, if the critters aren't present, you're wasting money and messing up the environment (and probably killing a LOT of good bugs that help you keep the bad ones in check).

Any poison that hangs around longer than 24 hours is killing too many other beneficial insects too.

Professional applicators have access to more potent stuff, but you don't really want that on your trees -- and pets and kids -- do you?

If you can, keep your trees outdoors. You will have many fewer bug problems. If that is not possible, don't crowd your trees on the shelves. Don't allow the canopies to touch. Clean up dead leaves and spilled soil immediately. Keep an oscillating fan blowing over your trees (ceiling fans don't work half as well). Inspect your trees daily; when you see a known bad bug remove it my hand -- thumbs and forefingers are great for squishing bugs!

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Preventing Infestation

Post  bonsaisr on Mon Nov 30, 2009 10:01 pm

JimLewis wrote:Virtually all pesticides available to the homeowner in the USA (and I hope most other areas) have extremely brief persistence levels.
The two insecticides I mentioned are systemic. They will remain effective within the plant for several weeks. Read the label to tell exactly how long. Of course, since this has happened every year, you should be able to time the application pretty accurately. Since the insecticide remains inside the plant tissue, it should only harm insects that are trying to eat the plant. Since you are in California and we are on the East Coast, I suggest you contact your county extension agent for information appropriate to your area.
Iris

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Preventing Infestation

Post  bonsaisr on Tue Dec 01, 2009 9:11 pm

This is the answer I got from the extension agent at the State University of NY College of Environmental Science & Forestry. She is a professional entomologist.
Technically you both are (right). There are elements of truth in the argument that preventative spraying of a systemic will harm both the environment and beneficials. Certainly some (insecticide) will escape into the environment. I am unaware of any studies that demonstrate drastic damages. There have been studies which show or imply that beneficials which feed on treated plant parts, i.e. pollen, flowers, nectar etc., can be harmed or killed. I tend, however, to come down leaning on your side of the argument. The use of systemics does allow much more specific targeting of the insecticide and does limit the impacts to beneficials which would certainly be more seriously harmed by a broad spectrum insecticide. I also agree that it is important to knock the population down quickly. Low populations are much more easily dealt with using less intrusive control methods.
Kim Adams
Extension Specialist
125 Illick Hall
SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry
1 Forestry Dr.
Syracuse, NY 13210
(315) 470-6751
(315) 470-6934 (FX)
kbadams@esf.edu

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Re: Preventing infestation questions

Post  Kev Bailey on Tue Dec 01, 2009 9:47 pm

Oh, but squishing them with your fingers is much more fun! Wink

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preventing infestations...

Post  BoNZai on Thu Dec 17, 2009 1:19 am

prevention is better then cure, which is in most cases is; pesticides.

Any presence of pests or diseases tells you that the plant is not in ballance. The word 'disease' is actually 'dis-ease'

In the case of the aphid infestation; they are attracted to the plant because it has too much nitrogen on board.

Aphids are gross nitrogen feeders. The reason they excist is that we feed our plants nitrogenous fertilizer.

Bring the plant back into ballance and the infestation will disappear to a degree that it can be managed without chemical intervention

Lower the nitrate fertiliser (N) and increase the phosphate (P)

In bonsai culture, every tree/plant has different requirements/preferences and it will tell you when it is in 'dis-ease'.
Aphids are one way of telling that things are out of ballance

hope this helps

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Preventing Infestation

Post  bonsaisr on Thu Dec 17, 2009 2:09 am

Where did you get this idea? Has it been published in a peer reviewed journal?
Iris

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preventing infestations...

Post  BoNZai on Thu Dec 17, 2009 8:43 pm

Have a look at the work from Phill Callahan PhD and Arden Andersen PhD

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Re: Preventing infestation questions

Post  Kev Bailey on Thu Dec 17, 2009 9:14 pm

BoNZai wrote:Have a look at the work from Phill Callahan PhD and Arden Andersen PhD


Looks like they have done some very interesting if occasionally quirky research.

Arden Andersen showed how high sugar and mineral levels in soil gave immunity to soil bacteria, stopping insect and fungal attacks. Anatomy Of Life and Energy in Agriculture, Arden Andersen, Paperback. ISBN 091131119X. Publisher: Acres USA

If you don't believe me about the quirky, take a look at this http://froebuck.home.texas.net/newpage3.htm

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Re: Preventing infestation questions

Post  JimLewis on Thu Dec 17, 2009 9:32 pm

The answer, Iris, is "NO."

"Cleanliness is next to Godliness" might well be the best preventative medicine for your bonsai tables an the trees that sit upon them.

Please don't delve into mystical new age blather and expect to have healthy bonsai. It just will not happen.

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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: Preventing infestation questions

Post  bonsaisr on Thu Dec 17, 2009 9:52 pm

JimLewis wrote:
Please don't delve into mystical new age blather and expect to have healthy bonsai. It just will not happen.
Just as true of people.
Iris

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Re: Preventing infestation questions

Post  timatkinson on Fri Dec 18, 2009 4:50 am

My garden maples, hellebores, misc ferns, fruit orchard trees and other native plants/trees as well as potted deck plants and of course bonsai are all susceptible to annual heavy aphid infestations where I live. I cannot say that the native soils are high in nitrogen content...I've tested to be sure. The redwoods are quite efficient at sequestering available nitrogen to make me believe that too much nitrogen contributes to my heavy aphid infestations on plants in the ground and bonsai. It's more likely that the tender juicy growing tips are just too delectable to the bugs, especially during our mild and wet springs. So I use systemic insecticides. No choice. If I didn't I wouldn't be able to grow much of anything. If I find minor localized infestations after the spring flush I bring in live lady bugs which will stick around to feast on the aphids as long as they (the aphids) persist...but it takes time for the colony of beetles to figure out that lunch is waiting for them. I don't believe that my (minor) use of systemics has hurt the lady bugs that I later bring in. Yes the insecticides can be improperly handled. In one of my past lives I was a licensed pest operator and pesticide applicator. The caveat is always to read the labels, read the labels, read the labels and then follow them exactly. I do believe there are growers who can use an integrated pest management plan successfully, but with my local conditions I am not one of them. I wish I could. Regards.

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Re: Preventing infestation questions

Post  NeilDellinger on Tue Dec 22, 2009 11:14 am

I keep my quince away from my other trees. The aphids love the base of the flower buds. I also adopt a routine that starts with a systemic, but also incorporates a weekly cycle of a stiff water jet, and then a does of ivory dish soap and oil. I usually rotate as follows I only really use the systemic every 4 weeks or so. Make sure you know the lifecycle of the aphid or leaf hopper also. I get those big blue potato leaf hoppers, then the katydids later in the season., My biggest problem in controlling aphids is in making life tough for the damn ants that farm them.

Acephate, water jet, soapy oil spray, malthion (if necessary), soapy oil, acephate etc......Weekly rotation.

It worked last year and I had a monsterous attack of them. I think they may be aliens Smile

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