Start Now To Foil Next Season’s Pests
There is much we can do between now and spring to eliminate or lessen the damage from insects and disease.
We in southern BC are very fortunate to have food-growing expert, author and entymologist Linda Gilkeson, PhD in our midst. She has generously provided the information for this article.(www.lindgilkeson.ca)
TO DO NOW:
- Mulch, mulch, mulch! A clean and tidy garden does not provide habitat for the good guys. Leave the leaves in garden beds as a haven for ground beetles, rove beetles, and bumble bees. The largest mortality for winter moths is actually from ground beetles attacking the cocoons while they are still in the soil.
Very important if you have rabbits around: protect the lower 2-3 feet of trunk on young trees with chicken wire or other tree guards. Bunnies can kill a whole orchard in a winter by ringing the bark.
- Put out safe slug bait containing iron. Slugs are very active in a warm wet winter.
- Rake up, remove and destroy all leaves from your roses if they had black spot this year. Do not compost. Rose hygiene is the best defense.
- Don’t allow potatoes to keep growing in the garden, that’s where late (tomato) blight can overwinter.
- Climbing cutworms are still active on leafy greens. Evening inspection, just after dark with a flashlight, will expose the critters. Pick off and destroy.
- People around Victoria should already have sticky tree bands up on their fruit trees and boulevard trees, especially Garry oak, birch, poplar, maple, willow and other broadleaf trees. If not done already, it is still worth doing asap.
If you do it right now, you can still spray lime sulphur on your pear trees for pear leaf blister mite, which cannot be reached by dormant sprays in winter. Also useful for peach leaf curl.
*** Please note, only do the lime sulphur treatment if you had problems with these diseases last year. There is no benefit at all treating trees that have not been infected.
*** Stay tuned, we’ll write again in early February with an update on what to do while the trees are dormant.