Top 10 Answers - Controls

Flower Tree Nursery
Top 10 Questions - Controls
Saturday, March 10, 2012 with Kristen Smith (L & L Nursery Supply)
Notes from all of us at The Flower Tree: Many of the questions on this sheet are provided because it is what gardeners come in to the garden center and ask us about. We will always make every effort however to assist you in understanding that many of the bugs that you are concerned about are actually quite harmless and there is no real good reason to kill them off. If they do no harm ~ they do good, helping to recycle organic matter and other insect bodies. Leave them alone; do not use something to kill them. Please let us help you to identify them if possible before using any controls. If you do choose to use controls after identifying we will always recommend the most effective organic method to you. (Resources at bottom)

1.  How can I use Diatomaceous Earth in my garden? What is it used for?
Used for crawling insects only. Needs to stay dry for effectiveness, works like shards of glass when dry to cut and expose insects. ALWAYS use gloves and mask when applying. Even though it is organic, you don’t want to breathe it in or use it on a windy day. Safer brand is advertised for ants and cockroaches and other "crawling insects

2.  Safer vs. Dr. Earth Insect Spray?
            Both are organic…
Safer: soap, contains fatty acids, contact spray, good caterpillar killer, works for killing aphids, don’t want to spray during day (9am-6pm for summer temperatures) like water can damage plants with too much sun exposure.
Dr. Earth: contact spray that works GREAT for aphids, want to do 3 sprays at 5 day intervals (best plan for most organic treatments) – important that aphids are present when begin spraying due to “contact” components… will spray and kill aphids on first spray as well as new eggs present during following sprays, NEVER SPRAY from around 9am to 6pm in the summer temperatures – this is an oil based spray that will burn plants. Dr. Earth has been reformulated and each year has been altered to best suit treating while damaging plants.

3.  Neem vs. Spinosad? What insects will they work on?
Both are pesticides that do not kill on contact, they must be eaten by the insect to work.
Neem: non injurious to beneficial bugs & works on most others, oil does not suffocate – it is an insect growth regulator, Neem is ingested either through chewing on the plant or through piercing components of the product, Neem is not a poison but binds to receptors in the mouth- will not kill instantly takes about 2-3 days, do not use at 85 degrees & above because it is an oil….
Spinosad: a bacteria that must be consumed, also binds to receptors and kills the infected within a day or two, works well most leaf chewing insects but not on aphids, whitefly, scale, and all other sucking insects- recommended for spider mites & thrips, leaf miner, hornworms, & caterpillars, effective on small insects.
IMPORTANT REMINDER: will not see bugs die on contact, so do not flood, populations will reduce over time (1-3 days for infected insects to die)

4.  Can I mix a pre-emergent with a fertilizer and use a hand or push spreader?
            NO. There are different rates of application, as specified by the label. Altering these rates that have been carefully studied could possibly inactivate certain materials making it less effective, or harming the plant. Using the same spreader for different products can cause death or harm.

5.  What is the most effective Varmint control?
Look at it as a “shared space”. Use fencing, repellents, and vibrations through the ground for those that live in the earth, and other methods possibly recommended by others with the same problem. Be creative to find new things that work and if something stops working try something new. Not all Varmints have a sure fire way to get rid of them but do what works best to for your situation to fix the problem but remember that they need a home too so maybe it is just necessary to find a working compromise.

6.  What can be used to break up clay soils and how do they work?
Organic material! Compost, clippings, liquid thrive, seaweed extract, Dr. Earth Vegetable fertilizer. Liquid thrive contains high percentages of Calcium used to take salt out of the soil as does Foxfarm Sledgehammer. When breaking up soil and composting it is important to make sure to replenish the nitrogen in the soil for the plants to grow. Dr. Earth Life is an all-purpose fertilizer and a good source of nitrogen. Seaweed extract along with other fertilizers and nitrogen replenishing products are readily available to keep your soil at a plant supporting level.

7.  Why should I use a dormant spray, when is it too late?
January to Mid-March is the best time to use dormant spray. All Seasons spray by Bonide is a good dormant spray and is like “buying insurance”. Best to plan usage around problems and spray 3 times, once again, at 5 day intervals.

8.  What can I use that is safe in my vegetable garden? (squash bugs and hornworms)
**SEE #4** Discussed above in number four Spinosad is a good source of insecticide for hornworms, etc.
NOTE: Seven is a common product used but is a strong chemical that is harmful to all bugs, not just the ones you are hoping to get rid of.

9.  How effective is Tomato Blossom Set? Could I use anything else?
The tomato blossom set is more effective when sprayed multiple times rather than all at once because will use what they need and the rest will be wasted. Products high in calcium promote fruit growth. Dr. Earth Veggie #5 also good to use and best to bring in good bugs by planting perennial flowers that will do their job in pollinating plants.

10.  What is the difference between Roundup and Remuda? Explain how to use with a pre-emergent.
            Remuda is better value, it is important to check concentration/strength of product (may be cheaper because even though same size, weaker concentration). Remember that “ready to use products” are more diluted than the “mix it yourself” products. Remedua is a glyphosate product and is 41%.