Greengirls Helen Yarmoska, Nicole Hvidsten, Martha Buns, Connie Nelson, Kim Palmer and Mary Jane Smetanka are dishin' the dirt from the back-yard garden and beyond. Whether you're a greenthumb or greenhorn, they're eager to learn from your mishaps, mistakes - and most importantly, your sweet successes - all growing season long.
What a beautiful rose. And what pretty beetles! And this is what the pretty beetles do to gorgeous roses....
Master gardeners around the state are reporting that the Japanese beetles are back. They were terrible last year. No one knows if their numbers will be as big this summer, but you should be braced.
Japanese beetles love roses. They also ravenously eat the leaves of grape vines, hollyhocks and linden trees. I know someone who removed a Virginia creeper vine from a trellis because she couldn’t sit in the vine’s shade last year without the beetles dropping on her.
While in my experience the beetles seem to eat almost anything, one way to try to combat the bugs is to avoid the plants they love. Here’s an interesting link from Iowa State University:
One way not to cope is to go bonkers with the chemicals. Many of the pesticides that are effective against the beetles also kill pollinating insects, so you are no friend to the garden if you nuke the beetles and kill the bees. And while beetle traps are popular, research has shown that though they do kill the pests they also act as a magnet that lures even more beetles to your yard for a good meal.
For some non-toxic revenge, go out into the garden early in the morning when the beetles aren’t very active and knock them into a bucket of soapy water, where they’ll drown. A friend shakes her grape vine while the bugs are still drowsy in the morning and gets her satisfaction by stomping on the beetles that drop to the ground.
Here’s advice from University of Minnesota Extension on how to cope with the beetles.
What can I say? Be careful out there, gardeners, and good luck!
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