Insect/Disease Update

>> Friday, September 19, 2008

With the change in the weather, there seems to be a decrease in the insect activity in my neck of the woods, except for the bees that is. I have several shrubs that they are going crazy over. Buddleia Black Knight and Caryopteris Dark Knight and Caryopteris Sunshine Blue.

In the latest Small Fruits and Vegetables IPM Advisory from Utah State University, trap counts of most insect pests in field monitoring sites were at zero this week except for beet armyworm.
Beet armyworm mainly attack cool-season crops like lettuce, spinach, broccoli, etc. They also attack peppers. So if you see fine strands of silk begin looking for this little pest because it can defoliate your plants.
Here's the adult. USDA Agricultural Research Service has a good description of its characteristics and life cycle here.

Cucumber beetles continue to feed on cucumbers, melons and squashes. Since the day length shortens and nights are getting cooler, they will begin looking for places to overwinter, such as under plant debris (clean up the area), in cracks and crevices of wood, etc. Signs of their presence includes chewed leaves, stems and blossoms, and scars on fruit rind. Cucumber beetles can also spread squash mosaic virus. The virus is only spread by the feeding beetle, or by infected seed, not from plant to plant. Symptoms are distorted, blistered leaves with light green/dark green mosaic pattern. Fruit can be distorted and have a mottled pattern on the rind.

I recently began harvesting pumpkins, these are Orange Smoothie, to enjoy them as pie and other deserts. The only thing that really bothers them this time of year is powdery mildew. It won’t directly affect the fruit but a bad infestation can cause a stem to weaken. If you have more self control than I did and are not going to harvest for awhile, consider an application of powdery mildew control.

The best control I have found is a baking soda wash:

1t baking soda, 1 quart water, a few drops of mild liquid soap, not detergent, or light vegetable oil to help the baking soda stick. Optional: add 1t light horticultural oil.

It is also a pretty good treatment for black-spot on roses.

Also, if you feel up to it, you can remove a few leaves to improve air circulation. Overhead watering, especially late in the day, helps to spread this fungus so try to water early in the day and if at all possible water beneath the leaves. I know it isn’t always easy to do so, so just make up some baking soda wash next time you need it.

Hope you are all enjoying the cooler nights and getting the garden all cleaned up for next year. Even though we still have a lot of gardening left this year, time flits by before you know it.


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