Insect & Disease Solutions

The best deterrent for insects and disease is keeping your plants healthy and happy. Plants that have been stressed by poor watering practices or other environmental factors are made more susceptible to infestations, fungi, and viruses. If an outbreak occurs in your home or garden, we carry a select assortment of quality fungicides and insecticides to help you control the problem.
Our indoor products are available year-round and our outdoor products are generally available from March to September.


Insects & CrawlersDescription & SymptomsControl

Aphids

Soft bodied insects that suck juices from the plant. Usually green but can also appear black or red. Found in clusters on buds and new growth; infested areas are often sticky. Causes buds to drop, can destroy or deform new growth.Prune out portions that are overrun. Spray with insecticide or insecticidal soap, concentrating on new growth. Repeat 2 to 3 times at 7 day intervals. For outdoor infestations, ladybugs eat aphids! If badly infested, discard plant.

Japanese Beetle

Glossy beetles with metallic wing covers; adults are about the size of a raisin. They eat holes in soft leaves, looking similar to slug damage.Squish and remove on sight! Specialized Japanese beetle traps are also highly effective and lure the beetles in using pheromones.

Earwigs

These common insects tend to stay out of sight but can be found tucked inside flowers, under leaves, and inside cracks and leaf joints. They eat both leaves and flowers.Diatomaceous earth is an excellent control for earwigs. Use as directed and reapply after heavy rain.

Earwigs love cool, damp places; can be caught using a moist rolled up newspaper left in the garden overnight. Shake it out into a pail of soapy water in the morning.

Lily Beetle

These glossy scarlet red beetles have become a common pest for asiatic and hybrid Lilies.Squish the beetles or pick them off the plant and drop them in a bucket of soapy water. Diatomaceous earth can also be effective against lily beetles, especially at the larval stage.

Slugs & Snails

Slugs and snails have earned their reputation as terrible leaf eaters, and are particularly troublesome to hostas. They are night feeders and are often not found at the scene of the crime, but look for their tell-tale trails of slime in the morning.Apply diatomaceous earth or slug and snail bait in the evening around affected plants. Reapply as directed or whenever new damage starts to appear. Reapply after heavy rainfall.

Saucers of beer make an excellent trap for slugs & snails. Thirsty slugs climb into the saucer for a drink and drown in the liquid.

Copper mesh and copper plant collars are also effective barriers against slugs.

Spittle Bug

Spittle bugs are easy to spot on plants. They surround themselves with a frothy wad of protective material that looks very similar to saliva.Remove the infected portion of the plant.

Iris Borer

Iris borers burrow their way into the rhizome or stem of an iris, eating it from the inside out. An infected iris usually presents with yellowing leaves on part or the whole plant, or a flopping stem with a entrance hole at its base.Iris borers must be physically removed from the plant. Stem borers can often be seen inside a backlit stem and stabbed inside the iris. Root borers can be carefully dug out of an unearthed rhizome. Discard the infected portion of the plant if the borer cannot be removed.

Caterpillars

Look for leaves eaten from the outside in, with bite marks along the edges of leaves or petals.Caterpillars usually occupy a host plant one or two at a time, so picking them off individually is often the best strategy.

Please Note: Caterpillars are the larval stage of butterflies. If you enjoy butterflies in your garden, please leave your caterpillars alone!

Spider Mite

A common pest for houseplants. Very tiny mites that live under leaves. They spin fine webs at stem joints and under foliage. Infected leaves will become spotty and yellow, then drop. Very tiny eggs and mites can barely be seen on the underside of leaves.Prune out portions that are badly infected. Spray with indoor insecticide or insecticidal soap, making sure to get the underside of the leaves. Repeat 3 to 4 times at 7 day intervals. If badly infested, discard plant.

Scale

Brown or gray shells that look similar to bark. Can appear on any part of the plant including woody stems. Often sticky patches are found and the plant may turn yellow.Prune out heavily infested portions. Use rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball or  Q-tip and swab off the insects. Spray with a suitable insecticide. Repeat 2 to 3 times at 7 day intervals. Monitor weekly for a month afterwards to protect against further infestation.

Euonymus Scale

These tiny insects look like white dandruff and cover the stems of the affected plant. Plant symptoms include yellow or dropping leaves, and dead stems.Euonymus scale can be very hard to remedy.

Prune out heavily infested portions. Treat with dormant oil spray in April. Use as directed.

Grubs

Grubs are the larval stage of beetles. They are active in the soil in early spring and fall and eat the roots of lawn grass, leaving yellow and brown patches that can show up months later.Beneficial nematodes are a natural predator of white grubs and have proven a great biological control. Simply mix with water and apply to the area when weather conditions are right. Apply nematodes in spring or early fall. (Sorry we no longer carry Nematodes). Visit Natural Insect Control at www.natural-insect-control.com

Leafminer

Leafminers eat meandering paths through the insides of the leaf structure. They are pests of many garden plants, particularly columbines.Remove affected leaves as needed. Leafminers can also be squished if spotted munching inside a leaf.

Cutworm

These brown caterpillars feed on new transplants and tender seedlings, often cutting them right off at the soil level.Cutworm collars provide a physical barrier when plants are young and vulnerable. They can be purchased or made by cutting the top 2″ off of old plastic drinking cups or yogurt containers. Remove the collars as your plants mature.

Fungus Gnats

Adults are like tiny fruit flies that come out of the soil when watering. Larvae can be found in the soil. These insects cause little to no harm to mature plants and are considered more of a nuisance. However, they can be harmful to seedlings. Fungus gnats could also be a sign of overwatering.Check plant roots and if rotting, change your watering habits.  Yellow sticky cards also help to catch these flies.

Whitefly

Tiny white insects that fly irratically. Causes yellow leaves and leaf drop. Tiny white eggs can be found on the underside of leaves, or flying insects spotted when the plant is disturbed.Prune out portions that are overrun. Spray the underside of the leaves with insecticide or insecticidal soap. Do this 2 to 5 times at 5 to 7 day intervals.

Yellow sticky cards also work as a trap.

Mealy Bug

Small cottony masses which conceal insects and eggs. Insects are usually spotted under leaves or at stem joints.Use rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball or  Q-tip and swab off the insect, then spray with insecticide. Repeat 2 to 3 times at 7 day intervals. Monitor weekly for up to a month afterwards.

Plant DiseasesDescription & SymptomsControl

Powdery Mildew

A fine white powder on leaves. Mildew will eventually cover the leaves on the whole plant and it will die if untreated.Improve air circulation. Use a fungicide labeled for mildew control.

Rust

A fungal infestation that attacks some garden plants, especially hollyhocks. Rusty brown patches appear on the leaves which eventually brown completely and die.Remove infected leaves immediately. Treat symptomatic plants with fungicide, use as directed. Many gardeners treat susceptible plants with a fungicide regularly as a preventative measure.

Black Spot

A fungal infection commonly seen in roses. Black spots appear on leaves which eventually yellow and drop.Remove infected leaves immediately. Treat plants with a fungicide spray, use as directed.

Aster Yellows

A virus that affects many perennials such as echinaceas, rudbekias, and shasta daisies. Infected plants develop deformed and misshapen flowers that are often small, green and asymetrical.There is no known cure for aster yellows. Destroy infected plants immediately. Aster yellows is highly contagious between plants; sterilize shears and tools to avoid contamination.

Bigger CrittersDescription & SymptomsControl

Rabbits

As cute as they are, rabbits are well known for eating plants in flowerbeds and vegetable gardens.Blood meal makes a great deterrent against rabbits, who are warned off by the smell. Pour a perimeter line around the area you want to protect. Remember to refresh after rain. Most effective before the rabbits discover your garden as a tasty food source. Bitter tasting sprays are also available for
non-edible plants.

Deer

Hungry deer can eat through a large patch of garden very quickly.

Footprints are often a tell-tale sign that deer have been through your garden.
Fencing is a popular strategy for coping with deer. Blood meal can also be an effective deterrent; read about using blood meal above in our section on controls for rabbits. Foul tasting sprays can also help protect your ornamental plantings.

Squirrels

Squirrels love to dig up tasty bulbs and add them to their fall stock. They can also dig up planter pots and hanging baskets.Hen manure is a great fertilizer and squirrels don’t like the smell. Sprinkle it around your bulb plantings to help keep them away. Blood Meal and bitter tasting sprays are also available for your non-edible plants.

Dogs & Cats

Our furry friends can wreak havoc by digging, running, chewing, and peeing their way through the garden.Plants not destined for the dinner table can be treated with a distasteful spray that offends a pet’s sensitive nose and causes them to stay clear.

Cultural IssuesDescription & SymptomsControl

Over-Watering


Rotting roots, usually from watering too frequently or leaving a plant to sit in water. An over-watered plant will wilt even though the soil is wet. Leaves may turn yellow and start dropping or turn black or brown. Above ground symptoms can look similar to underwatering. Plant stems may become brown and decayed. Roots become slimy, black, mushy, and hollowed.Place the plant in a warm dry area, out of its pot on a stack of newspapers to leech the excess water out of the soil. Don’t water if wet; instead mist the foliage. Some plants will never revive depending on the severity of the root rot.

Under-Watering



Dry roots, usually from infrequent watering or watering with an insufficient volume of water. Plants will wilt and hang limp and soil will be dry. Leaf edges may brown. Above ground symptoms appear similar to overwatering. Roots will appear flaky and dehydrated.Soak the soil very well to revive and drain excess water away. Some plants may never come back fully.
 

Nutrient Imbalances

Nutrient imbalances can have a variety of symptoms, some of which are illustrated on the left. Different plants will have different cultural needs. Simple soil test kits are widely available to help evaluate levels in your garden. For more extensive analysis, contact a professional laboratory.Mineral deficiencies are usually easily remedied once diagnosed. Fertilizing with a well-balanced plant food or amending the soil with compost, triple mix, or manure is often the solution.

pH Imbalances

Poor plant performance and slow or distorted growth can be symptomatic of soil pH imbalance.

Soil pH imbalances can make it difficult for plants to absorb certain trace minerals they need to maintain good health.

Different plants have different preferences as to their pH levels.

Moss and mushroom growth are common signs of acidic soil.
Alkaline soil can be treated with a soil acidying fertilizer.

Acidic soil can take more time to correct, but horticultural lime is very effective for sweetening the soil.

Use these products as directed.

Soft Water Damage

Machine softened water contains salts which build up in the soil, causing damage to the plant. Excessive brown or black tips on the leaves are the first sign of salt accumulation. Naturally soft water is safe to use for watering.Flush the soil out several times with untreated water. Allow the plant to dry out as much as possible without causing dehydration. Then water with untreated water only. Some plants may never recover from soft water damage.

Good BugsUsesWhen to ApplyHow to Use

Ladybugs

Use as a control for aphids.JuneSet out purchased ladybugs in June. Use as directed.

Ladybugs can also be attracted to your garden with Achillea (Yarrow), Lobularia (Alyssum), Dill, Fennel, Carrots, Marigolds (Tagetes), and Parsley.

Praying Mantis

Feed on a wide variety of pests. Praying Mantis will eat almost anything!JuneSet out purchased praying mantis nests in June. Hang the nests as directed at the prescribed height and spacing.

Nematodes

Use as a control for white grubs.June & September

Nematodes must be refrigerated until they are applied.
Grubs are the larval stage of beetles; nematodes must be applied when the beetles are in grub form (spring & fall). To use nematodes, mix them with water and apply to the affected area. Nematodes are best applied on an overcast day.

Bees

Great pollinators for the vegetable garden!Attract bees with their favorite annual and perennial flowers in spring and summer.Attract bees to your garden using Nepeta (Catmint), Agastache (Anise Hyssop), Echinacea (Coneflower), Monarda (Bee Balm), Centaurea (Cornflower), Borage, Calamentha (Calamint), Sedums, Lantana, Heliotrope, Sunflowers, Cosmos, and Dahlias.

Lacewings

Lacewings feed on aphids, cabbage worms, whiteflies, scale, thrips and mealy bugs among others.Attract lacewings with their favourite annuals and perennials in spring and summer.Attract lacewings to your garden using Achillea (Yarrow), Lobularia (Alyssum), Borage, Dill, Cilantro, Cosmos, Fennel, Helianthus (False Sunflower), and Coreopsis.

Hoverflies

Hoverflies feed on aphids, mealy bugs, and others.Attract hoverflies with their favourite annuals and perennials in spring and summer.Attract hoverflies using Achillea (Yarrow), Ajuga (Carpet Bugle), Lobularia (Alyssum), Dill, Lavender, Lobelia, Lemon Balm, Monarda (Bee Balm), Mints, Sedum, Thyme, and Zinnias.

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