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.
The invasion has landed -- and is devouring our landscapes. I'm talking Japanese beetles, those voracious pests that make their presence all-too-known in mid-July.
A few months ago, there was some speculation in the plant world that this could be a worse-than-usual year for Japanese beetles because of the early spring and mild winter. Now that they're here and munching, that definitely seems to be the case, at least in my yard.
Japanese beetles started invading my space a few years ago, right after I planted a little contorted filbert tree. In no time at all, it was covered with beetles who turned its leaves into lace doilies. I'm pesticide-averse, so I didn't do much those first few growing seasons. Besides, the beetles were so enamored of the filbert tree that they largely avoided my few rose bushes.
This year, it's another story. The beetles are munching all over my yard, and it isn't pretty. In addition to the filbert tree, they've decimated my roses and a patch of Virginia creeper. I even found a few on canna in pots on my second-story deck, a refuge they've never invaded before.
I knocked those beetles into a pan of hot soapy water, then threw them down the garbage disposal. But the battalions of beetles below, in my garden, would take full-time surveillance to combat manually.
We did try an application of milky spore to the bare patch in my lawn where the beetles appear to be laying their eggs and spawning their larvae. But that will take several seasons to have any impact on the beetle population, I'm told.
I don't want to go the pesticide route, but I may weaken.
The University of Minnesota Extension Service has a lot of good information about Japanese beetles on its website, http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/horticulture/dg7664.html
What's going on in your yard re: Japanese beetles? Worse than usual? About the same? Or do they leave you alone?
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