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Garden Guru: Summer bugs

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Photo: FLLewis/Media City G -- Garden Guru Emilio "Elmo" Telles at the Armstrong Garden Centers in Glendale August 4, 2012

Photo: FLLewis/Media City G -- Garden Guru Emilio "Elmo" Telles at the Armstrong Garden Centers in Glendale August 4, 2012

Lately, I have had customers and my neighbors inquiring about patches in their lawns looking “dry” or spreading patches. The answer: Grubs, which are an “alien” looking fat white worm, are eating at the roots. There are a few organic forces you can use against them and they will go away easily and are environmentally friendly — organic is particularly good (read safe)  if you have pets and kids running around the lawn.

Then again,  the problem with lawn brown patches can be attributed to fungal/bacteria diseases, which also attack the lawn and can be treated with a lawn fungicide. Best bet is to take in a sample to lawn patch to your nursery so the problem can be analyzed, therefore, you’ll buy the right product  for the problem.

Here’s the trick for bringing in a sample! Use an empty soup can( open on both ends(of course!) and press down and get a cutting of where the grass is green and where it is “yellowing” out. That way the garden expert at your nursery,  scan see if it’s bugs like those darn grubs,or maybe even flea beetles, or cinch bugs.

When I take my Danica (Golden Retriever doggie) for a walk I notice problems and offer advice to neighbors and get props for the advice! As for bedding plant problems, I’ll cut this part short —-on your flowers and shrubs the damage was  probably done late Spring and whatever deformities on the foliage and flowers you have now will not have critters loafing around, they have packed their bags and left.  Still in the past several weeks,  I have had a few customers come into Armstrong’s with some persistent aphids and whiteflies on their hibiscus still, which is surprising in this heat.

At this time of year, you might notice holes on the leaves of roses, petunias, marigolds, ..etc. Those are from little caterpillars that are now moths that are fluttering away when you drive up your driveway! Notice the curling leave on the citrus and roses that you can’t see . Bugs? Yes.  Damage already done.

Notice the tiny  “spidery webs” on your bedding plants? Here’s the deal. Get a white piece of notebook paper and rub the bottom of the leaf and see if any tiny bugs are moving.If they are, that means those pesky spider mites are on the move. But I doubt they might-be (no pun intended!).

Spring damage on your plants might already have been done so don’t waste your gas money, your plants will be fine. But if you see any buggers let your local nursery expert take a look and see what EXACTLY is wrong before you spend money better spent on other gardening needs.

Any questions, let me know.


Emilio “Elmo” Telles is a garden expert at Armstrong Garden Centers 5816 San Fernando Road, Glendale  91202.

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