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Hey I know it’s hot outside, and you probably are not spending much time out enjoying your landscape. However, summer insect problems can sneak in quickly, and if not taken care of promptly, can wreak havoc on your trees and shrubs.

I inspected my Crepe Myrtles recently, and discovered aphids on the underneath side of the leaves, which are fairly common on these shrubs in the Tulsa and Oklahoma area. Aphids are very tiny soft-bodied insects which suck the sap from the underneath side of leaves of certain plants such as Crepe Myrtles, Ash trees, Roses, and others. If the population becomes too high, they can cause yellowing and distortion of leave, and greatly harm the health of plants. Aphids also secrete a sweet sticky substance called Honeydew, which then drips down everywhere, and causes black sooty mold to form on leave, which further affect plant health and beauty.

Aphids have natural predators, such as ladybugs, which can help with control. Insecticidal soaps are safe to apply and can be effective by smothering the aphids. Applying a systemic insecticide such as Imidacloprid earlier in the season is a very effective and safe way to control plant-sucking insects such as Aphids, by killing them as they feed on plants later in the season.

Other summertime insect problems such as bagworms growing on certain conifers, lacebugs on Azaleas, and mites infecting burning bushes can all be controlled with effective scouting and application of insect control products. And again, the best way to control them is often with an application of a systemic insecticide into the soil before the insects begin to feed. If there is a problem occurring now, pruning out small damaged areas may be in order. LawnAmerica can also help with our Tree & Shrub Program, which provides annual services on ornamentals to help combat these insect infestations and certain ornamental plant diseases from occurring.

And as with all plant issues, proper planting, irrigation, fertilization, and pruning of plants is also so very important for the overall health of your plants. Azaleas for example need to be pruned back now, before they set their buds in the fall. They should be fertilized now if not done so since their flowers were finished last spring. So while the summer heat may be sending folks indoors more into the cool air conditioning, don’t neglect your ornamental plants, as they may just need a little love also!

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