Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mass Destruction

I have never despised cute furry creatures so much. When the rabbits mowed down all of my beautiful crocuses this year, I let it go. When somebody had a field day in the bean,pea, and melon patches, I let it go. But not this time....this time I am holding a grudge. Here are my discoveries made today out in the garden, the destruction is massive. I feel as though these images should come with a 'WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES TO FOLLOW' sign.

(I know I am being a bit dramatic but in a matter of days I may have had an apple tree and a grape vine destroyed to the point of no return by little teeth. I am desperately hoping this will not be the case.)

OK, first discovery: the Mexican Bean Beetles have arrived.

Secondly: my little vine was further defoliated over the evening. Only a handful of leaves remain. I immediatly wrapped it in row cover and emptied my vacuum canister around the perimeter (dog hair)....I don't know what else to do.

Third discovery: bark stripping (by now I am walking in circles, fuming). Thankfully it is not girdled, but there is a lot of damage here. (Spitzenburg Apple)

Fourth: This is the other tree, thankfully not as severe.
(Liberty Apple)

And the big five: More pest and disease pressure. The Spitzenbug has so many things to fight right now. There is quite a pit of pest damage here, and also some disease which I have yet to pinpoint, a few lesions are visible in this photograph.

The one and only positive discovery- we have cantaloupe blossoms! This is the only vine of any size worth mentioning, and the only one flowering at the moment.

I am so angry with myself for not protecting the tree trunks, but I thought bark eating was a seasonal issue, meaning that as long as they were protected come Fall all would be good. Wrong. I tried an OMRI approved insecticide on the affected tree but it isn't reducing the pest pressure any. I was not yet willing to pull out the 'big guns', but finding the bark damage today has changed that. This evening we will be wrapping the trunks in mesh and spraying some nasty chemicals. I am thinking of having one of us hold up a barrier behind the tree as we spray so as to contain the droplets as much as possible. I will also spray at dusk when fewer beneficials are active. In a day or two I will follow it up with a foliar spray of fish and kelp emulsion and then just keep my fingers crossed that the damage is repairable, and that there will not be more in the future.


Erin said...

I am using neem on mine...apparently everyone thinks no apple ever grew without it, lol! Mine are in containers so it's a little easier to treat due to their small size. I don't have bean beetles, but I did find a Colorado Potato Beetle 2 weeks ago and now have their larvae all over my eggplant. Good Luck to you!

Ruralrose said...

The thing about a mistake or oversight like this is - you will never do it again, it is worth this little heartbreak

i don't have problems with pest, my garden is in a meadow in a forest - but i too, like Erin, use neem oil when i am worried (i have a blog entry about neem on my blog)

great post, love you honesty, peace for all

Kelly said...

I do have some neem on hand. I never sprayed yesterday evening, still trying to hammer down a diagnosis. Webworms are the pests, just not sure on the spots.

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