Monday, July 30, 2012

Die, Chrysanthemum Lace Bug

It was bad last year, but this year it's epic. Lace bugs sucking leaf juices everywhere--and they make relatively quick work of even massive sunflower leaves, so asters, coneflowers, and goldenrods are goners. I'm not going to spray, which is the advised treatment. Sunflowers are annuals, so why bother (they just look ugly as the bugs work their way from bottom to top), but the other plants "should" come back fine next year. Of course, will they actually grow bigger or be stunted?

Click to expand and see the micro demons

That's the gorgeous blue leaf of Rudbeckia maxima

An aster 100% defoliated & trying to regrow

Grey-headed coneflower. Poof.
Corthucha marmorata adults can overwinter, and a female might lay hundreds of eggs. My aster count will be lower this year as a result of this insect, and couple this with genista moth larvae defoliating baptisia in days, and aster yellows forcing me to rip out most of my E. purpurea--and the freaking 100 degree heat and no rain for 5-6 weeks--this summer blows. The only satisifaction I get is walking by the sunflowers and whacking the leaves to see lace bugs fly off like dust, only to settle back down like volcanic ash.

But I should say, the garden is handling the drought fairly well. The lawn isn't. But I need $500 to replace the front lawn with buffalo grass and clumps of side oats grama for a nice shortgrass look, which isn't happening unless the serviceberry I can't save starts sprouting benjamins.


Gaia Gardener: said...

Ah, wouldn't a money tree be a nice solution?! Sorry to hear about your lace bugs. I've got them too, particularly on my aromatic asters. The bad news is that they look horrible; the good news is that I've had them before and they go on to bloom their heads off anyway. Here's hoping for lots of ladybug larvae to suddenly hatch out and take care of them for both of us.

Benjamin Vogt said...

One of my asters looks REALLY stunted this year, but maybe that's the drought. the aphids have just appeared in milkweed, so the lady bugs should be coming soon, but it's been a quiet insect year, especially for predators. no moisture hurts everyone.