By Diane Frisco

The Mandarin Garden Club’s Dogwood Circle May meeting featured Justin Williams of Williams Plant Nursery and Randall Wilsey, of Randall Wilsey Inc. Design Build Landscape and Lighting, addressing common garden pests and diseases.

Williams spoke more from the viewpoint of a professional nurseryman and he frequently recommended pesticides such as Heritage, Pageant and Banner Maxx. Wilsey pointed out that these tend to be very expensive and toxic for home gardeners and spoke highly of Bayer’s 3-in-1 treatments as well as chemicals with longer kill periods. He also advocated horticultural oils, orthene and even Roundup for certain situations.

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A few interesting tips were shared:

Rust on flax lilies: Cut down to the ground and fertilize.

Entomosporion leaf spot on Indian Hawthorns: Prevention is best — good sun, good air flow, light soil. While older varieties are the most susceptible, Wilsey recommended not planting any at all.

In general for fungal diseases: Keep the foliage dry, don’t over-saturate the soil, fertilize plants and keep them healthy, and keep plants for the sun out of the shade.

Aphids: These pests go for tender growth; trim this off and dispose of the bugs, knock them off with the hose, use horticultural oils or orthene. They don’t damage the plant much but the sooty mold from their droppings is unsightly.

Scale insects: Put coffee grounds around sago palms. The non-flying males have to crawl across the grounds and coffee disrupts their nervous systems. Spray brewed coffee to get the flying females.

Grasshoppers: Orthene, when they are young. Older ones can

be hand-picked and relocated.

Surfactants: Add a drop of dish soap to sprays such as Roundup so that they stick to surfaces better. Treat lawns with Tide granular soap in a spreader to help water penetrate better.

The Mandarin Garden Club is located at 2892 Loretto Road. Visit for more information.

Diane Frisco is a member of the Mandarin Garden Club.

Photo courtesy Diane Frisco

Justin Williams and Randall Wilsey spoke to the Dogwood Circle in May.


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