Tips: In the garden this week

Sooooo…

The bug that we said was red spider mite in our March Newsletter is actually a two-spotted mite.

image sourced from bugsforbugs.com.au

Some boffin somewhere has had it under a microscope and apparently it looks a bit more like two spots on a film plate rather than a red spider. It could be that they just quished it a bit hard and now it just looks like two spots in their petri dish.

Garden before the attack of two-spotted mite

Garden after the attack of two-spotted mite

You can see what a devastating effect this tiny creature has on some plants. It seems that along with the breaking of the drought and bumper plant growth, we also have to contend with a bumper season of pests.

There are two approaches that can be taken to rid yourself from this devastating pest; Eco and Chemical.

So first to Eco solutions….. something that we are big on. Eco-neem comes from an extract of the Neem Tree (Azadirachta indica), a tropical tree from north West Asia. The Neem is from the same family as Australia’s only native deciduous tree; the White Cedar (Melia azaderach) and quite similar in looks. The difference is that is has wonderful medicinal properties that have earned it the name “Healing Tree”. It is antifungal, antiviral, can be used as a sedative and even for contraception! Most importantly for us gardeners is the fact that it kills sucking and chewing pests in the garden without killing bees, ladybeetles and other beneficial insects in the garden.

Eco-Neem from Eco Organic Garden

Yates White oil is another natural low toxicity pesticide that made from petroleum oil. It acts by smothering the breathing pores of insects and suffocating them. It is a contact spray so full coverage of affected plants is essential and the oil may need to be reapplied if it rains within 24 hours of spraying.

The two-spotted mite is really quick to reproduce, so a combination of Eco-neem and Yates White Oil needs to be sprayed on affected plants at least once every 5-7 days.

White Oil Insecticide from Yates

And then on to the chemical solutions….

Yates Rose Shield Insect & Disease Spray has the fairly unnatural active ingredients Tau-fluvalinate & myclobutanil which act as both a fungicide and insecticide. When combined with Yates Mavrik, a synthetic pyrethrum based insecticide, it bombs most insect that are attacking the plants. Again, weekly applications will be required to kill the two spotted mite but be careful spray plant that have bees around them because they will probably be killed in the process.

Rose Shield Insect Spray

At this stage, the plant is probably going into shock at this stage because the sap sucking parasites have defoliated most of the leaves. This makes it a good time for gentle liquid feed, compost and is a good opportunity to give plants a hard cut back to re-shape them.

Happy pest massacre every one.