This Week In Dead Plants And Virulent Pests

Adenanthos sericea ssp sericea died in the last heat wave.  Insufficient water--the roots were all dried out.  The top growth had quadrupled in size since purchase, but the root system had not.
Just a month ago, it was fine:
 Last week's field trip to the Eichler neighborhood forced a stop at a nearby nursery, so another Leucophyllum candidum 'Thunder Cloud' got the Adenanthos spot.  I dug up the soil in a large area, bringing up some of the decomposed sandstone from below.  Sharp drainage!
Good luck, kid.  
  The two out front are doing beautifully.

First flower from the Japanese Anenome, distributed as a freebie at the Portland Fling.  The plant has wandered a bit, coming up here and there and dying off where it had been the previous year.  
It looks like it has Chilli Thrips damage.  Chilli Thrips is a nasty new pest that has appeared in Southern California.  It's ruined most of my roses the past couple of months.  Damaged plant tissue is puckered, browned, and shrunken.



And I thought the drought was bad.  I'm meditating on what to do about this.  I avoid all pesticides except in dire cases.  Is this dire?  

At least the Leucadendrons are not affected.  Oh, such a red as this!
It takes my mind off the roses. 

Comments

  1. Oh, how terrible! Another affliction to strike our roses. I'd never heard of it. Finally got a few blooms but they are very small. Must check for this disease in the morning. It's now 3 am. Thanks for the warning. (This is dire, but I still personally would not use a pesticide. Never have, never will,)

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    1. Yes, I agree. There are plentiful predators in my garden, I am waiting to see if their population increases so as to control the chilli thrips. Natural predators are always best!

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    2. On the other hand, the roses are spotless as far as fungal infections--no foliage disease anywhere. That's something, right?

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  2. In my garden I keep loosing plants due to the heat as well! The latest victim was the'Crocus Rose', so sad!
    Love your silver leaved replacement plant Leucophyllum candidum 'Thunder Cloud', so pretty.
    I am really surprised that the anemone is growing in your garden, I thought we are too hot for anemones.
    Yikes, Chilly Thrips!!! Poor roses, I don't recall having them in my garden, but when they are in yours they are probably not too far away :-(. I have to read up about them, since I just have heard the name but don't know anything else about them. I hope you find a way to deal with them other than using pesticides.
    Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. 'Crocus Rose', I've always wanted that one. How did it do for you before its demise?

      The Japanese Anemome--all they need is afternoon shade and a good amount of water--I have mine in a spot that doesn't drain all that well, and so stays damp. It seems to like it there.

      Supposedly a parasitic wasp is being released in this area to see if it controls the pest, so we'll see what happens there. Believe me, when your roses get chilli thrips, you will know it. :(

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  3. That does seem like a daunting pest. This piece (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/in/in83300.pdf) confirms my guess that minute pirate bugs (Orius insidiosus), the same predator that does a great job on daylily thrips, also can control the chilli thrips. I'd certainly give that a good long try before going to the soil drenches and foliar sprays. Additional benefit: "Because it feeds on aphids, mites, moth eggs and pollen, its population does not decline strongly even if thrips populations are drastically
    reduced. Also there's a nematode that helps: "Thripinema species are entomogenous nematodes which parasitize female thrips and make them incapable of laying eggs, leading to the reduction of thrips populations. In addition, they also reduce food consumption of these thrips, resulting in limited feeding damage."

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    1. I think sometimes a new pest that is really bad at first gets...controlled eventually. That's why I'm reluctant to do anything yet.

      Does adding nematodes to garden soil really work? Or is it just an expensive thing that really only works in the laboratory?

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    2. They definitely have an effect against Japanese beetle grubs, but here at least, that's only a temporary control because the nematodes (different sp. than the anti-chilli thrips kind) are winter killed. So, yes, expensive thing as a long-term control, but a help in knocking back population (which was HUGE this year, so I'm springing for some to put down next month in the soil around their favorite snacks.

      I'm assuming the nematodes that are recommended against the chilli thrips wouldn't be winter-killed in your area, but they might not be nearly so available (and thus more $$) as the anti-Japanese beetle species. Worth poking around to find out, maybe.

      Minute pirate bugs may already there and chowing down; hope so! It will be hard to tolerate that kind of damage to the roses for too long...

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  4. That is one gorgeous plant, that Leucadendron.

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    1. It's a thrill to look at it. It glows. I stare at it whenever I can.

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  5. I never heard about this insect before. But what I understand from the article you linked to it will be not easy to get rid of it. Your red colored flowers are really beautiful.
    Have a wonderful day Hoover Boo.

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    1. It's not an insect of colder climates. A winter chill can be a good thing!

      Thank you Marijke.

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  6. Oh no! Chili thrips sound nasty and I know you have a lot of roses - they probably think they've entered heaven. Can you erect any kind of barrier over the unaffected roses? BTW, I tried your Bt suggestion on the tent caterpillars attacking my perennial lupine. The miserable critters are gone but it appears it was too late to save the plant. I also just lost my practically new Leucadendron galpinii - I put it where I had the Adenanthos I'd lost before but provided extra water this time. No go. I'm going to dig the spot up to see if it tells me anything - maybe the roots of the nearby Agapanthus are a problem or the soil's an issue.

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    1. Ah, bummer, sorry to hear you lost L. galpinii. I too have a couple of spots in the yard that manage to kill everything.

      I've stopped dead-heading the roses--the thrips only attack the tender new growth. I'm sort of blue about roses right now, especially after seeing how spectacular they were in Portland.

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  7. Sorry for your losses. That adenanthos looked very nice. But the leucophyllum should be much more forgiving of underwatering.

    Hooray for the leucadendrons!

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    1. Thanks. Long term I think the Leucophyllum will be happier.

      The red on that Leucadendron is just awesome!

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  8. At least "Chili Thrips" sounds kind of fun (even though it's not). "Rose Rosette Disease" doesn't even have a fun name. Are all roses doomed?

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    1. We do not have Rose Rosette here (yet). That is far worse than Chili Thrips. I hope roses are not doomed!

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    2. One of the most depressing aspects of the chilli thrips is that they also help spread plant viruses if present; that makes them even more of a nightmare for commercial/monoculture growers of their favored crops.

      May RRV never spread to the west coast!

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  9. Yikes! Chilli thrips is new to me too – on your rose it looks similar to mildew in the first stage, just like some of my poor roses look like right now after 6 weeks without a drop of rain. I sprayed with an organic treatment for mildew last night but it isn’t very effective – the best thing is to get cooler weather and proper rain – soon – I hope I caught the mildew in time and I am crossing my fingers that it will help.
    No doubt we will be battling Chilli thrips eventually over here too, most of the pests seem to spread to us. I had Hemerocallis gall midge for the first time this spring and I have almost given up growing fuchsias now thanks to Fuchsia Gall Mite, a completely unknown pest just a few years ago here in Britain.

    As for nematodes, I have tried only one type – for vine weevils and it took a few attempts to get it right. They require a constant wet soil/compost so there is no point applying it in the summer as pots and containers dry out during the day before being watered again in the evening (in my garden at least). I wasted good money before realising how important this point was. I assume this goes for all nematodes so the key is to apply in the spring and autumn when the soil is easier to keep moist. Some nematodes are sensitive to low soil temperatures too, so for vine weevil nematodes they have to be applied on soil above 5 degrees C (41F) – not really a problem in my garden but further north over here it means not between November and April. I try to apply the nematodes twice a year and will continue as long as I have hundreds of pots and containers – eventually I hope to get rid of my pot ghetto but that seems to be a long-term project.
    Good luck with your battle!

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    1. Tropical to subtropical pest, so let us hope it does not affect the UK. The long drought here has put a serious dent in Fuchsia Gall Mite, but it will be back with the rains, if the drought ever ends.

      Thank you for that helpful information on nematode treatment. That is an important point about the moisture. Yes, those pot ghettos--I have that problem myself, and no excuse of having moved!

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  10. Even the Huntington rose garden has begun spraying for the chili thrips, which you know has to be killing Tom Carruth, who has labored valiantly for four years to keep that garden spray- and chemical-free. They tried pirate bugs, which is supposed to be a natural antagonist to the thrips, for months before throwing in the towel. You may face a similar choice.

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    1. Thanks for the update on what the Huntington is doing. I hate having to resort to pesticide as there are so many beneficial bugs in the garden--the thrips have just out-multiplied them. It upsets the balance in The Force.

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    2. The thing you have going for you vs. Huntington is that your roses are outnumbered by other plants, so there's a fighting chance for your pirate bugs. Very sobering info from Diana, and it must be crushing indeed for Mr. Carruth.

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    3. Nell may be right on that. And the Herb Garden right next door to the Rose Garden just exacerbates the opportunity for problems. Just don't get the pirate bugs in the little paper tea-bag hangers - those bugs are protected by some kind of bran, which attracts rats and squirrels, for whom it is just a Hometown Buffet. The bugs don't come off well in the destruction. The Huntington hung about 1,000 of these around the garden and most of them were ripped to shreds by the critters. If you're going to buy some (they are expensive), get the bugs only and apply them directly to your plants. Also, you may have to apply them two or three times.

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    4. More really helpful, detailed information. Thank you, Diana!!

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  11. This post could have been a real downer but you were kind enough to include some beautiful stuff to ease the pain.

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    1. Had to! I was depressed enough. Those gorgeous roses in the Portland International Rose Test Garden were both glorious and a rebuke.

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  12. oh, not another pest! Now we know who'll be the winner as climate change gains momentum. I'm expecting my adenanthos to pull that same trick any day now. It didn't get much water all summer.

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    1. Did you see that chart in the NYT? By the end of the century, summers in LA will be like summers in Phoenix. Yikes.

      Do me a favor and go water your Adenanthos. It will make me feel better.

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