Looks like another hot week in Oklahoma, so you may not be spending much time out enjoying your landscape. However, summer insect problems can sneak in quickly, and if not taken care of promptly, can damage trees and shrubs. So do be on the lookout for these.
Crepe Myrtles can sometimes have 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, Viburnum, and others. If the population becomes too high, they can cause yellowing and distortion of leave, and greatly harm the health of plants. Aphids will secrete a sweet sticky substance called Honeydew, which then drips down everywhere, and causes black sooty mold to form on leaves, which further affect plant health and beauty.
Aphids do have natural predators, such as ladybugs, which will help with control. Insecticidal soaps are safe to apply and can be effective by smothering the aphids. Applying a systemic insecticide such as Imidacloprid early in the season is a very effective and safe way to control plant-sucking insects such as Aphids, which kills them as they feed on plants later in the season. Spraying especially the underneath side of leaves with a high-pressure stream of water can help knock the Aphids off leaves.
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. Mites and Scale are other insect problems found in late summer, and these can be sprayed off somewhat with high pressure water, or rubbed off the branches in the case of Scale. If there is a problem occurring now, pruning out small damaged areas may be in order. We can help at LawnAmerica 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 are important cultural practices for the overall health of your plants. Azaleas need to be pruned back now before mid-August, before they set their buds in the fall. If they’ve not been fertilized, that can be done also before mid-August. And with the recent summer rains, which have been nice for lawns and landscapes, this can help increase insect populations. Mosquitoes especially will also be increasing, and LawnAmerica can help with this also with our Buzz Off Mosquito Control Program.