Hello, again!

Bap!!

It happened that fast, right on the forearm. That shiny, golden-green winged Japanese beetle and I collided this weekend while I was on a bike ride. I was on the Redbud Trail which goes from I-35, just north of Central, east to almost Augusta on the old rail bed that is mostly along about 17th Street. The tree-lined trail is great for walking, jogging and biking. With plenty of shade and properties along the way with many ornamentals, it’s a great environment for the beetles, as there is a lot to dine on.

I honestly had forgotten about the yearly visitor to our gardens and landscapes. Feeding on leaves, flowers and fruits, they love the warm weather and can persist up to 6 weeks. Unfortunately, they tend to feed in groups, starting at the top of the plant and moving downward leaving a lace-like appearance on the eaten leaves. The topic around the water cooler at the office this week centered around Japanese beetles. Not only my collision, but reports of the hungry beetles eating the flowers of rose of Sharon was discussed.

Controlling these beetles is really pretty easy. A true organic control is to shake the plant, gather up the adult beetles and place in soapy water. If you're not wanting to deal with picking up the insects, or you can’t talk anybody else into doing it for you, Japanese Beetle Traps from Rescue are pretty effective. Containing a natural, season-long attractant, the trap lures the beetles to enter the bag (looking for a mate) where they are unable to escape. The bag has a zip lock bottom for easy disposal.

Chemical controls are safe and effective as well. Spinosad Soap from ferti-lome is a combination of Spinosad and insecticidal soap, creating a product with GREAT contact killing properties. It's really FAST, working within minutes! This is one of the BEST Spider Mite controls and also kills beetles (both Japanese and Colorado potato), nearly on contact. Available in a concentrate, ready to use or spray, there are options for your target area.

Our summer weeds are also starting to thrive with the moisture and cooler weather. I took advantage of the favorable weather conditions recently and controlled broadleaf weeds that were starting in my turf. I recommend using a combination product, like ferti-lome Weed-Out with Crabgrass Control, so both broadleaf and grassy type weeds are controlled.

As always, I encourage you to read, understand and follow the label directions for safe and effective controls. Ask us if you have any questions.

Your friend in the garden,

Marty Johnson
Owner - Johnson's Garden Center