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The Family Plot — August 28, 2014


Hi, I’m Chris Cooper. Welcome to “The Family Plot:
Gardening in the Mid-South.” Thanks for joining us. Every year about this time,
hummingbirds migrate south for the winter. So today, we’re going to give
you a few tips on encouraging the tiny travelers
to visit your yard. And there’s a relatively new
insect pest appearing on crepe myrtles across the south. We’ll tell you what it is and
give you some ideas about how to control it. All of that and more
is just ahead on “The Family Plot: Gardening in
the Mid-South” so stay with us. (female announcer)
This is a production of WKNO-Memphis. Production funding for.. “The Family Plot: Gardening in
the Mid-South” is provided by Good Winds Landscape and Garden
Center, in Germantown since 1943 and continuing to offer its
plants for successful gardening with seven greenhouses
and three acres of plants. Plus, comprehensive
landscape services. [soft music] [theme music] Hi, welcome to
“The Family Plot.” I’m Chris Cooper. Joining me today is
Kristin Lamberson. Kristin is the native
plant specialist at Strawberry Plains
Audobon Center in Holly Springs, Mississippi. And Mitch Robinson is here. He’s also from
Strawberry Plains. He’s the
conservation education manager. And Mister D is
here with us today. Glad to be here. Thanks for joining me. Alright, this is
going to be good. We always have a lot of
positive energy from Kristin. This is going to be real good. Now let’s talk hummingbirds. So, I understand that
hummingbirds are heading south, right? Yeah. For how long? How long are they headed south? Well, usually.. So, you think about they’re
coming from Canada all the way down. So, as they’re coming, it’s kind
of like rolling out the carpet. So, they’re rolling, you know,
coming down and working their way and headed
towards the coast. So, usually, you know, we see
our last hummingbirds usually end of September or mid-October. That can differ. We can have a few
stragglers and stuff. Usually, you know, it
goes on for a while. But we’re in the
thick of it now. This is the thick
of it right now. Mhmm. Okay. So,
Ruby-Throated, other species? Right. Mainly Ruby-Throated. So, really only Ruby-Throated
are the breed east of the Mississippi River. Okay. And you have.. So, right now we have the mature
male which has the red gorges and the mature female. And then, we have the babies. Now we have the immatures now
that are all getting ready to migrate. In the winter, we can
have different species. So, we’ve had a lot
more rufus hummingbirds. They’re a lot more cold hearty. They’re western species. And, um, we’ve had one at
Strawberry Plains but around this Memphis area,
Mid-South area more and more. There are more and more,
um, sightings of that. They actually, the hummingbird
study group comes up and bands those birds when you
see them at your feeder. And then, a couple of years ago,
we had a Calliope hummingbird at Strawberry Plains in the winter,
which is the smallest North American
hummingbird from out west. How small? Well, I don’t know. A hummingbird is.. Maybe it’s about that small. They’re smaller,
sometimes called a bumble bee. But they’re a lot smaller. But a lot of those western
species birds are a little tougher. Like a Rufus I’ve actually
watched at a feeder and take a beak. And it’s beak. And take it and go [ugh] and throw it out. Where the Ruby-Throats
were like you can have it. They’re a lot
more aggressive, so, yeah. How about that? So, if I put out a
hummingbird feeder, I will see some
hummingbirds, won’t I? Well, there’s
never 100% guarantee. But most likely, this would
be the good time to do it. Okay. And, you know, and
everything, you know, the habitat and putting out
plants and having the insects and, you know, the way you
manage your property will always affect that, too. But you’d have a pretty good
shot of seeing a hummingbird. Now I’ve always
wondered this, too. How do the hummingbirds
actually find the feeders? Mhmm. How does that work? Well, they’re attracted. They see the color red. The immatures right
now are really curious. So, they’re going to
check out every bright color. And a lot of times, you’ll
see them on flowers that really aren’t. They’re not getting much out of
it but they’re checking them out or maybe insects. But, um, you know, they
also have what’s called site fidelity. So, that’s why every year at
Strawberry Plains we tend to get more and more hummingbirds
because where they had a positive place to eat or where
there was a good source of food, they’ll come back. Also, breeding grounds, they
tend to come back to that. So, site fidelity
meaning the site itself. They’ll come back
to those places. Okay, that’s pretty neat. So, what do we need to know
about hummingbird feeders? How do we take care
of those feeders? Right. Um, well, the key is
to take care of them. So, you want a feeder that is
easy to take care of because a lot of people, um, you know. They’ll say well, I’ve had
this hummingbird feeder out all summer long and there’s
no birds coming to it. And you gently, kindly ask
well, when was the last time you cleaned it. And they’re like, well,
in May when I put it out. And so, there’s black thick goo. So, you kind of liken it
to your favorite drink, sweet drink when
you put out there. So, common sense. We haven’t had a
real cold summer. But, you know, you want to
change it every two or three days in the summer if
they’re not drinking it. When you clean it out, you
rinse it out with hot water. And, um, you don’t
have to boil the water. The mixture is four cups water
to one cup regular table sugar. And you can just
use hot tap water. Make it in a gallon jug. Figure out the ratio. Keep that in your refrigerator. There’s a lot more
feeders available now. And I just say get one
that’s easy to clean and easy to maintain. They have more success
with the birds at the feeder. So, that’s most important. Easy to clean, easy to maintain. Okay. Alright, now how about
keeping the ants out? The ants and the bees. The hover around sugar. So, how do we keep those out? Mitch, you can show them how. Yeah, so, this is a
common ant guard. We’ve even seen people make the
top to like an aerosol spray can turned upside down. But basically you put that
on the screen that holds the hummingbird feeder up
and fill it with water. And it keeps ants out but
also, this is pretty cool. You’ll see gold finches and
other bird species coming in just feeding off the water. So, that’s kind of a little
bit more habitat there for them. Okay. And I guess they can purchase
that at any gardening store maybe? Typically, yeah. I mean we sell them, you know,
out at Strawberry Plains at the festival, as well. Yeah, they’re
pretty common place. Another little feature Kristin
was pointing out earlier was these newer feeders have, um,
I don’t know if you would call this like a little nipple coming
off of these flowers that would keep bees out more so
than these older feeders. So, you know, the more and
more people are getting in to hummingbirds and the more common
they seem to be because people are keeping more track of them,
there’s more products coming out. Okay. Well, look, Mitch. Let’s talk about the
Hummingbird Festival. When is it? Where is it? So, it is always the
weekend after Labor Day. So, this year it falls
a little bit earlier. It’s the 5th through
the 7th of September. And so, Friday
through that Sunday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Open all day to the public. We have programs going
on throughout the day, guest speakers coming. We have a kids
tent, wagon rides, guided hikes. Vendors are there so there’s
a variety of nature theme. Different types of
arts and crafts, as well as we have
caterers there serving food. So, it’s kind of a
festival in itself. Wow, sounds like a huge event! Y’all are going
to be pretty busy! It is. We’re busy now. The event itself is
pretty calm for us. It’s the prep getting there. I think it’s really, as Mitch
and I were talking on the way here. It’s really nice
to come out when, you know, there’s not very
many people there to see the hummingbirds now because there
are hundreds of them there now. So, you can, you know, just be
there with a handful of people. But the great thing about the
festival is you have world class speakers and so much to do. And to take advantage of that
while you’re there I think is really an asset. So, why is this
festival so popular? I think part of it is it’s
bringing out a crowd and a part of the population that typically
maybe that would come out to an event like a hummingbird event. Because we cater to, you know,
there’s things for children all the way up to folks that might
be more inclined to some of the more specific sciences that
we kind of hit all different markets. And I think, too, just the
number of hummingbirds that we have coming through, it kind of
is a magical time of year to be at a place like that and see
so much activity going on in addition to all these
fantastic speakers. So, it’s for us, it’s just an
event to really bring folks out that may not come out to
Strawberry Plains on a regular basis and to kind of bridge that
gap in understanding the innate connectness that we
have with nature. Passionate about this! Can’t you see that, Mister D? I can. I’d really like to see
somebody band a hummingbird. I bet you’ve got
to be really fast. You’ve got to be, yeah, fast. And what a good eye. And because we only
have a little time left, Mitch, one more time. Time, place. Yeah, it’s the 5th
through the 7th of September, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. And we will have the hummingbird
banding group there at different stations. So, you can come out. There’s even opportunities for
people to release hummingbirds after they’ve been banded. So, it’s pretty,
pretty fantastic. Wow, I think that’d
be real neat for kids, too, huh? You probably have a
lot of kids out there, as well. All ages. It’s actually a
wonderful family event. It’s really, really cool. Wow, we definitely
appreciate you guys coming on. Thank you. There are a number of gardening
events going on in the next couple of weeks. Here are just a few
that might interest you. [theme music] Alright, Mister D. It’s the crepe
myrtle bark scale. I’m going to let you
take a look at that. You pass that
over to him, Mitch. Appreciate that. Nasty, nasty lookin’. This is what we’re
seeing out in Germantown. Germantown seems to be the
ground zero for these bark scales. Heavy infestation that
we’re seeing out there, as well. Relatively new invasive
pest here in Shelby County. Last year they saw a
lot of it in Little Rock. The year before that, a
little town in Texas. So, they’re here. You know, it looks a
lot like peach scale, which is a scale insect that
can actually kill fruit trees, flowering fruit trees. Where ever the
scale insects feed, it looks like it’s
basically girdling the bark. It’s basically taking. You know, most I’ve
seen sooty mold here. And most of the
time, sooty mold is, uh, caused by honeydew
secreted from soft-bodied scale. This is an armored scale insect. Doesn’t look good at all,
doesn’t look good at all. Yeah, as you well know
scales are sap suckers. So, they pretty much drain
the life out of the plant. So, it’s going to be pretty
tough on those crepe myrtles, no doubt about it. It looks.. What they’re saying is pretty
much going to have to go with a systemic. Yeah, going to have
to go with a systemic. Doctor Hill, who is the
extension etymologist up in Nashville, he and I
talked about this. And he’s saying what you
can do as a home owner, heavy stream of water to knock
off as many of those scales as you possible can. And then follow that
up with a treatment, insecticide treatment. And that product is Bayer
Advance Tree and Shrub Protect and Feed. It contains the active
ingredient Imidacloprid. Alright. So, systemic. You just pour it in. Follow the label on that. Yes. A while for it to take effect. Yes. And here again, we don’t know
that much about it because it is new to this area. So, we’re tracking it. They’re probably going to
come down at some point to do, uh, you know, do
some research about it. And then we’ll have more
information for the home owners. Bur right now,
that’s where we are. A lot of these armored scales
have several generations per year. So, this could be bad. And it killed. It can kill the
plant, I understand. Yes sir. Eventually it will. Possible some benefit from a
heavy dormant oil application during the winter time maybe. Maybe. They tried that in Little Rock. Didn’t have too much success. So, that’s why we try to gather
as much information as we can here to help the homeowners out. So, yeah. So, be on the lookout. But again, Germantown is
where I’ve been the past week, you know, just
confirming these bark scales. They are out there. So, you can give our
office a call at 752-1207. I’ll be more than happy to come
out and verify that for you. It’s nasty lookin’. Yeah and do be careful when
you bring in plants from other places. That’s probably how it got here. Alright. Now, we’re talking
about invasive pests, Mister D. What about stink bugs? Stink bugs? Yeah, they can be bad. I’m not sure that they.. I don’t know whether they’re
native to this area or not. I think they probably are. But they’re one of the worst
pests that we have nowadays in agronomic crops. They’re a problem in ponds. They’re a problem in soy beans. They’re a problem in cotton. They’re very strong fliers. They’re very strong insects. They’re hard to kill. You have to have a pretty
strong insecticide to kill them. They’re very strong fliers so
you can wipe out a population in your area and they can
fly in from other areas. Many times they’re
when a crop is harvested, especially the
wheat crop in June. That’s when we harvest wheat. Many times they’re in that
wheat when you harvest that. All of them will move next
door to the soy bean crop or something like that. So, that can be a problem. I do have some insecticides
listed to control them. They have piercing
sucking mouth parts. So, they will
actually pierce the fruit, the little cotton bowl
or the soy bean pod. They pierce the fruit. The pecan, the peaches and
apples and all those kinds of things. They secrete a substance in to
the fruit and then they suck it out. And that’s where
they secrete that, inject that substance. It causes a bad
place in the fruit. Not harmful. I mean it won’t kill you. That little spot on the
fruit won’t actually hurt you. But it’s just
unsightly and it causes.. Many times it will cause
the fruit to be distorted. If it’s very small, if it’s a
very small cotton bowl or a very, very small fruit, it’ll
cause the plant to throw it off. Okay. So it negatively
affects your yield. But stink bug control. See what we’ve got here. Several things. And this will also control the
leaf-footed bug which is the bug that’s in the same insect order. A larger bug, long. It’s got the, looks like the
structures on their back leaf like a leaf on the back leg. But carbaryl is listed. Cyfluthrin, bifenthrin,
esfenvalerate and permethrin. As always, follow the label
directions when you apply this product. What about Japanese beetles? Japanese beetles? Those things can congregate
around plant material like nothing. They can and they, you know, one
of the worst problems with the Japanese beetle is
not what you see. The adult phase is
not the only problem. They’re also the larval stage
is a grub worm that feeds on the roots of your turf grass and
your ornamentals and things like that. But, uh, you can treat with
the Japanese beetle with, uh, Merit, Marathon. That’s the systemic materials
we were talking about with the crepe myrtles earlier. Discus, Sevin, Tempo,
Decathlon, Tempo S-C Ultra, Talstar and Scimitar. Have to go with a weekly
application to control the adults. They skeletonize leaves. It’s really easy to see
the damage from the Japanese beetles. And they can. I’ve not heard of them
actually killing a plant. But a very heavy infestation can
pretty much take the leaves out. And if the leaves aren’t
present this time of the year, photosynthesis this time of
the year is extremely important because from now until frost,
those plants are storing up energy for next year. Perennials really need their
foliage to be maintained for the rest of the year. And quickly, Kristin, Mitch,
do y’all have any problems with Japanese beetles, stink bugs
that you may know of out at Strawberry Plains? No, you know, when you were
talking about stink bugs, I was thinking, um, that were
you kind of more talking about the big business
crops of the home owner. Because I have stink bugs at my
place and I have fruit and it’s not an issue. Well, it’s a problem with
many vegetable producers. Tomatoes. If you’re growing tomatoes
sometimes it’s a problem and other vegetables. But it is a very severe problem
out in with agronomic crops. And they are. Those crops are scouted. And they have
economic thresholds. When they reach a certain
level, they will treat with an insecticide unless
they reach a limit. But it’s a problem
with homeowners, too, in any case. And when you use a systemic,
does that affect so to say a honeybee or other pollinators
coming to that plant? Does it affect? I can tell you this. There’s a lot of research that’s
going on about that right now. So, we’ll wait until that
research comes out and we’ll definitely get that
information to our homeowners. But that’s a good question. And then, we’re going to
move on to our Q and A session. Y’all jump right in
with us, alright? Here’s our first viewer e-mail. It is from Bill. He writes: I have a
new crepe myrtle. Very healthy looking. It’s six foot tall now
is heading for 20 feet. But pesky new branches keep
coming out at the soil level. I cut them off and
then three weeks or so, they’ve grown up again. And I have to cut
them off again. I sure would like
for that to stop, he says. Mister Bill, do you
know what those are? They’re suckers. Yeah, little sprouts. You know, they’re right there at
the base of your crepe myrtles, which sucker heavily because I
have a lot of crepe myrtles at home. What you need to do is cut them
off as close as you can to the trunk of that tree. If you leave a
stalk, it’s coming back. Okay. So, as close as you
can, cut them off. Now I know some
of the nurseries. And I’ve used
this product before. It’s something called Sucker
Stopper that you can pick up and sprout inhibitors that you can
pick up at specialty nurseries. Does it stop
those little suckers? It stops those little suckers. I’ve used it before. So, it does stop
those little suckers. Mitch puts that in his coffee. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Does it work? That’s basically a
plant growth regulator. I think its naphthalene acidic
acid is what that product is. But I’ve never used it. I’m out there anyway and I
just keep pruning them off. I have one that’s
blooming right now. It’s a little sucker about
that tall and it’s got a pretty little crepe myrtle bloom on it. I’m going to make a
bouquet out of that. I’ve used it before in the past. I don’t use it now. I go out there and, you know,
cut those suckers back and be just fine. Here’s our next question. I like this one. How do I keep
birds off my tomatoes? My plants are pretty tall. You know, if you really
want to keep them off, bird netting. A physical barrier is the only
way you can positively keep them off. There are other
things that you can do. You can use the owl. You know, have you an owl
out there or a rubber snake. Get you a rubber snake
draped over your tomato plant. With either of these, you’ve
got to move them around because birds aren’t stupid. Pretty soon they figure
out that they’re not real. But if you move them
around and move the owl around, that will possibly
give you some relief. A Jack Russell that yaps a lot,
you might stake him out there and bark at him or
something like that. Alright. Close your eyes. [laughter] Here’s the next question. What is the best way
to get rid of wasps? They are hovering
around my home. Probably the best way is to go
to your lawn and garden center and buy a wasp and hornet spray. And spray that. Put that up there. It gets up under the eaves of
your house and things like that. It’s got some residual
activity so it’ll stay a while. But they’re looking for
a place to build a nest. They’re looking for cover. And in the wasp and
hornet materials, I think the active ingredients
are mostly pyrethroids I believe is what we have. I think I’ve
actually got a, yeah. Bee and wasp killer aerosol is
what the Red Book 2014 says. Beta cyfluthrin R-T-U. You can also use dust if it’s
down around in window seals and things like that where
you could put a dust. The dusts that are recommended
are the deltamethrin, which is a pyrethroid, and
then carbaryl apicide is one. And then there are traps like
yellow jacket traps also have some activity with wasps. I wouldn’t want to
mess with those. Do y’all have any
problems with wasps? You know, well, I
mean, sometimes, you know, if you move a plant
there might be a nest where my pots are. But I always try to remember
that wasps are predators. And so, they’re a part of that
food chain and they’re eating other insects or
feeding their young insects, you know, their
larvae and stuff. So, you know, if you can
coexist with these guys, you know, it’s better in the
bigger picture than probably, you know, doing an
arsenal of sprays. If you can coexist but I totally
understand being around where human activity is. Coexist. There you go. Maybe, you know, you
can go with a high hose, you know, a high
pressure hose to spray out. And maybe they’ll eventually
recollinate somewhere else. Okay. Or they come right after you. Right for you! You got to run fast. Sounds like you might have
some experience with them. I have, yeah. We’re going to get to
this last question quickly. My cucumber vine
suddenly wilted and died. Mister D, what would
be happening with that? Wilt. Sounds like bacteria wilt to me. Or there’s a couple of
wilts that cucumbers get. Bacteria wilt and
then fusarium wilt. And a good way to tell the
difference is take the stem of the plant. And these usually go
down like overnight almost. They go down very quickly. But you can take pruning shears. Cut you off a limb
and then cut it again. Touch it together. And if there’s any
stringing that’s occurring, like a gooey string
that’s occurring, it’s probably bacteria wilt. Bacteria wilt is probably
more common in this area. But if that’s the problem,
you need to control what the cucumber beetle transmits,
the bacteria wilt organism. And you need to do a good job of
controlling the cucumber beetle. They actually
carry the, you know, bacteria in their
digestive system. And so they don’t.. The adult cucumber beetle does
not do a lot of damage to the cucumber vine except
transmitting disease. So, to control the
cucumber beetle, carbaryl,
bifentrhin, esfenvalerate, malathion, permethrin are the
products that are recommended in the Red Book 2014. So, make sure you control
cucumber beetles and the cucumber. If you have a wilted down
plant, get it out of there. Yes, so, practice
good sanitation, good crop rotation. You’ll be fine. Alright, Kristin,
Mitch, Mister D, thanks for being here. Thank you! Remember, we love
to hear from you. Send us a letter or an e-mail
with your gardening questions. Send your e-mail to
familyplot-at-WKNO-dot-org. The mailing address
is Family Plot 7151 Cherry Farms road
Cordova, Tennessee 38016. You can also follow us
on Facebook and Twitter. That’s all we
have time for today. Thanks for watching. I’m Chris Cooper. Be sure to join
us next time for “The Family Plot:
Gardening in the Mid-South.” Be safe! [theme music] (female announcer)
Production funding for.. “The Family Plot: Gardening in
the Mid-South” is provided by Good Winds Landscape and Garden
Center, in Germantown since 1943 and continuing to offer its
plants for successful gardening with seven greenhouses
and three acres of plants. Plus, comprehensive
landscape services. CLOSED CAPTIONING
PROVIDED BY WKNO-MEMPHIS.

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