Joe White, special on The Times

Published 10:19 am CT June 4, 2021


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Shreveport times

Apart from the Arctic explosion at the beginning of the year, spring was rather wet and mild and this condition seems to continue here into June.

Such weather bodes well for many of our pests, namely insects, diseases and weeds. I also deal with raccoons, possums and deer. Not all insects are harmful to our landscapes and gardens, so learn which are the “good guys” and let them work for you.

While plant diseases are generally not as common and harmful in the usually drier summer months, it is inadvisable to ignore them.

More: Joe White: June’s Joys and Jobs for Gardeners

There are basically three types of diseases. We can fight fungal diseases with chemicals. Chemicals can also fight bacterial diseases, but different species than those we use for fungal problems. Viral diseases do not respond to chemicals, so choosing plants with genetically resistant viral traits is our only way to solve this problem. Bacterial disease is generally not a problem unless we have a lot of wet weather.

The other big pest problem we’re likely to encounter is weeds. Fortunately, we also have chemicals to control this pest, but not everyone is comfortable using these products and selected products cannot be used anywhere a weed invasion occurs.

Pre-emergence herbicides must be applied to bare soil so that they will come into contact with the weed seedlings as they emerge from the soil. Post-emergence herbicides must be applied directly to the weeds. With the latter species, nearby “good” plants must be protected from spraying.

Individuals choosing chemical pesticides as their primary method of controlling various pests should follow these general guidelines:

Use fresh after opening, most pesticides have a shelf life of only one year and some may not last longer than six months. It’s also important to store them in a cool place.

Make sure they match the pest you want to control. Use appropriate insecticides only on insects, etc. Use fungicides only on fungal diseases.

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Do applications thoroughly and frequently until the pest is eliminated. Be sure to spray the undersides of the leaves.

Use the exact amount of product printed on the container. Many gardeners and homeowners often use more pesticides than necessary, which is no more effective than the amount stated on the label and which increases costs as more pesticides may need to be purchased to get the job done.

Joe W. White is a retired gardener at LSU AgCenter.

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