Sunday, June 12, 2011

Apples Attacked

This is Carolina Allspice (Cylycanthus floridus)
A great shrub that I got as a cutting from my Grandmother years ago.
The fig tree is setting a summer crop.
These are the scars left from the female Plum curculio
Some of these fruits might make maturity but most will drop off the tree. Bagging some might give of a partial crop.
Bunnies ate the zinnias and,
feasted on the fall asters.

I had to make another trip to Arizona to help my parents and my wife and son worked hard to keep things going here. They had real hot weather for part of the week making watering a chore with the cold frames full of seedlings and the newly planted tomatoes and flowers in the garden. Then on Saturday rain helped ease the hard work. Thanks to my wife things looked good on my return.
However, we have been attacked - bunnies on one front and Plum curculio of the other front. The rabbits are small enough to still fit through the bottom of the chain link fence and feast. They have eaten most of one sunflower planting, some of the zinnias, and done a real number on the fall asters. For some reason, rabbits really love the taste of fall asters and will eat them to the ground. Every plant in my yard has been eaten on. Luckily for me I have plenty of Cayenne pepper to sprinkle on the plants to try to stop them. The pepper will burn the leaves a bit but will also burn the bunnies too and they will stop feeding. Get the biggest containers you can get and use it to keep the rabbits off young plants till they get established. Most of the asters will recover except for one plant that has been eaten badly but then that plant is in the way of garden expansion so it may be on the way out anyway. I have some replacement zinnias but no sunflowers unless I discover some extra seed and do them again. I have the traps set and will hope to get these pests out of my space ASAP.
The apples on the other hand have been really damaged. Usually I get the fruit into the plastic bags before we have a real bad infestation of Plum curculio but not this year. The degrees days must have really helped these bugs get going. Unfortunately my neighbor has a large apple tree that they do nothing with and so that is a draw for these apple pests and then the pests also come to my trees. Warm days like we had before I left for Arizona help wake up these beetles from hibernation. For the last few years I have been successful in bagging early enough to eliminate any need to spray the trees for this early pest. However, should this happen again next year I may have to resort to some sort of spray to protect my early developing fruits so as to get them to size for bagging.
I will make next weeks entry a complete apple bagging entry and go through the process so you can see how we do this. I do not have a completely organic yard and garden but we do try to use as few pesticides as we can - but being out of town this season only added to the trouble.
Continual close observation is key to preventing problems with critters that want to invade your garden for free food - so you must be on your guard all the time trying to outwit them if possible.
Happy Gardening

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