Quantcast
         
 
 

     

           

     TX Organic Research Center

 

 

CURRENT MOON
 
Gnats, Spider Mites, Bamboo Mites, Tree Wrapping
March 08, 2002
By Howard Garrett

Q. How do I organically control spider mites on indoor plants? – D.M., Dallas
A. Cover the potting soil with a thin layer of horticultural cornmeal and spray the foliage with seaweed or natural products that contain seaweed. Dr. T.L. Senn at Clemson University proved years ago that seaweed is an effective control of spider mites, whiteflies and other insect pests.

Q. I have a terrible problem with little black gnats in my house plants. I used the horticultural cornmeal. It helped for a few days, but they came back. Should I keep applying the cornmeal? It seems to cause the soil to form a crust on the surface when I water. Does this mean I have used too much? How much should I use? Also, should I put a tablespoon of baking soda per gallon of water when I water these plants to get rid of fungus in the soil? – A.C., Dallas
A. Sounds like you used too much. The cornmeal should be a light coating on the soil and gently worked in. Cutting back on the watering is the long-term solution. Interior plants should be near wilt before adding more water. The cornmeal will be all the fertilizer the plants need for at least a month. Instead of baking soda use an ounce of apple cider vinegar per gallon of water.

Q. I have recently purchased three bamboo plants Phyllostachys pubescens moso and have been informed that I should treat them for bamboo mites. The recommended treatment according to the bamboo seller is either Isotox or Orthene’s systemic poison. In researching on the internet I’ve stumbled upon the American Bamboo Society. Their recommendations are using an insecticidal soap such as Safer or Talstar-10 wettable powder. I wonder if garlic/pepper tea with other additives would be effective without harming the environment or me? Do you have any suggestions or educated guess you can offer? – D.F., Dallas
A. All these recommendations except for Safer soap are irresponsible. They are toxic materials that will kill more beneficials than pests. The soap just wouldn’t work very well. Assuming your plants have mites in the first place, seaweed drench and foliar spray is probably all that’s needed. All bamboos respond to organic fertilizers and healthy soil.

Q. I’ve been told that my new red oak trees need to have paper wrap applied to the trunks to prevent borers. Is there any way to avoid having to do that? It really looks bad. – E.L., Dallas
A. The way to avoid that ridiculous advice is just ignore it. No competent arborist recommends wrapping paper, gauze, burlap or anything else around the trunks of trees. Not only does the artificial covering not benefit the tree from an insect control standpoint, it doesn’t help in any way. On the contrary, wrapping tree trunks causing injury. It gives insects and disease pathogens a nice dark, protected place to hang out. When the wrapping is removed, the trunk will resemble your finger when a bandage has been left on too long. I have planted many thousands of trees since 1970 and none of them have had their trunks wrapped.

By the way – those same misguided folks will also recommend staking and thinning out newly planted trees. Two more bad ideas.
 
Archive

   01 Howard Garrett Newsletter Organic Fly Control Final TEST
   A burning question on lawns
   A Monster's Growing Under Our Deck!
   About oak sprouts
   After exposing tree’s root flare, leave it alone
   Ailing from harsh summer, crabapple needs treatment
   Amount of tilling, not method, is what matters.
   An organic option to control the fleas
   An unwelcome bug is eating ornamental plants
   Antique, container roses are sweeter
   Any way to help heal injured tree?
   Apple and pear trees need little pruning
   Are gnats hanging out on your houseplants? There's hope
   Are mushrooms bad for my yard?
   Are tree galls troublesome?
   Asps won't hurt plants 9-01-2006
   Attracting Birds To The Garden, Composting, Sprayers
   Azalea beds may be incorrectly done
   Baby talc marches against ants
   Bag the worm problem to save tree
   Bald cypress roots expose themselves.
   Bamboo, the imperialist threat
   Bees like these plants.
 
 
 
Printable Version | Back to Top

 
Unique Lighting of Texas
 
Azomite
 
Spriggs Brothers
 

H A N N A H ' S    M A R K E T P L A C E

Send this website to a friend Make this website your home page