Milder winters and wet summers may seem like a blessing to many, longer growing seasons and a readily available source of life-giving water encourages many of our trees and perennials to grow faster, flower earlier and appear to outperform previous colder growing seasons. Take heed and be warned softer stems, temperate growing conditions also mean that many of our garden pests are allowed to spread unchecked by sub-zero temperatures, therefore overwintering just below the soil surface or in cracks of trees and shrubs or even beneath the warm leaf litter.
Let’s take the vine weevil, for example, they have become a major garden pest, largely due to the use of peat-based composts and the major distribution of infected plant material and growing mediums from garden retailers and professional growers. Having created the ideal growing environment for this persistent nocturnal adult bettle and it’s root-feeding larvae, it takes some real determination and perseverance from the keen-eyed gardener to eradicate a vine weevil attack.
Identifying a colony of vine weevil in your own garden in the early stages of development is crucial to your success and it is important that you stay alert for tell-tale signs of an active vine weevil population. Early infestation manifest itself as curved tears or bites in young leaves of some of susceptible garden perennials and shrubs. Checking the following list of plants in your garden regularly for symptoms of vine weevil attack will help you keep one step ahead of this hard crusted battle and its root-feeding larvae.
Young Yew trees (Taxus baccata) often look of colour and ragged edges to the leaves indicate adults feeding in the vicinity. New growth from evergreen Euonymus can easily become prey to adult beetles and the roots are susceptible to attack. Cotoneaster, Bergina, Heuchera and Tiarella to name just a few all appear to be vulnerable to attack from vine weevil.
Cultural control of pests must always be the first plan of attack, gone are the days when simply reaching for the latest chemical application are long past and therefore ill advised. Instead, take a combined cultural and biological approach to minimise the damage caused by an attack from vine weevil in your garden soil, vegetable beds, pots and containers.
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