Thugs and Angels in the Garden

Shelly Fredericks tells us how she is dealing with Goutweed in her garden

Christa Bisanz has interplanted her vegetables with marigolds that have successfully reduced the number of thugs in her garden

For our August edition of the newsletter, in lieu of a meeting report, I asked members to share stories about the thugs they were battling in their gardens this summer. I received a couple of interesting responses including an unexpected story about angels in the garden.
Tanya Crowell sent me this:
“Right now in my garden we are very concerned about Gypsy Moths. Having not encountered them before, we were unsure what was eating the oak trees, until there were moths everywhere. An internet search helped us know that the Male moths were in the air while the females were on our trees, laying nests of eggs. We have been scraping off any nests we can reach but there are many all along the underside of branches and most we cannot reach. Hoping for a cold winter to kill as many as possible.”
Marguerite Long also related her experience with Gypsy Moths:
“Our biggest challenge this year was the invasion of Gypsy Moths, the worst we have seen in 40 years on our 25 acres. All of Southern Ontario experienced a record number of caterpillars, it’s reported.   We found the caterpillars in June mainly on our oak and birches, but they riddled my Tricolour beech and paperbark maple as well. We went out each day on a search and destroy mission, trapped and destroyed many hundreds of caterpillars, took the blowtorch to hundreds of chrysalises (not recommended, but we were desperate).  Still the air was thick with moths when the rest hatched. Our country property is too large for us to have much effect on the numbers.
We saw only a few egg masses last year, but this year there are dozens on individual trees, many too high to scrape into soapy water which is the recommended  solution.
I’m not looking forward to next year’s invasion!”
For more information on Gypsy Moths, click on the link below.

Christa Bisanz shared information about the angels in her garden:
“I don’t have any bug stories but;
I have planted a million and one Marigolds, three different sizes.
I started them from seed, very easy to germinate.
The Marigolds are doing a fantastic job at keeping the bugs away.”
Shelly Fredericks tells us how she is dealing with her thug “Goutweed”:
“I live in town and over the past two years I have been aware that Goutweed has taken up residence in my small woodland garden.  I have done little about the invasive weed until this summer.  I will not be daunted by those who say “Move!” or “Sell your house!”  Instead, I am being creative.  After a friend helped me dig a lot of it up by the roots, I put in a flagstone walkway that leads to a bird feeding station.  I made a small patio of sorts with larger flagstone to catch the fallen bird seed for ground feeders.  The walkway has layers of crushed limestone, doubled landscape fabric and thick flagstone.  On either side of the walkway I am also putting down doubled fabric plus three inches of mulch.  I know the Goutweed will pop up around my woodland plants but I will just have to continue to pluck them until they weaken and die off.  For larger areas of Goutweed, it is recommended to cover the area with dark tarps and smother the weeds for two to three years.  But in a smaller space, don’t fret.  It can be controlled.”
My story is about Japanese Beetles:
“I first encountered them on my roses. They burrowed into the blossoms pretty much denuding my rose bushes of blooms. Next I was seeing them on my zinnias, cosmos, apple trees, and more recently on my calla lilies and rose of sharon.
I waged war about a month ago and I have managed to reduce them from dozens a day to finding one every 3 or 4 days.
What did I do? First of all, I made up a solution of 1 cup water, 1/3 cup  rubbing alcohol and 1 tsp of dish soap. Every morning I headed out and   sprayed the beetles when I saw them. The solution killed them almost immediately. I read that I should leave the corpses as they tend to act as a deterent to other beetles.
My second line of defense has been to pour my used coffee grounds, diluted in water around the base of all my effected plants.  I understand that the beetles are attracted to the sweet smell of the blossoms so the coffee tends to set up a rather bitter odour in the area.
I have also read that mulching around the plants helps to deter the beetles from burrowing in for the winter. I have a 2 to 4 inch layer of mulch over all of my gardens.
My hope is that I have made my garden as inhospitable as possible and that the thugs have decided to move elsewhere, hopefully for good. My advice is be vigilant and be persistent!”
This entry was posted in Advice, Invasive Species, Pests & Diseases. Bookmark the permalink.