riobrazos2
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Grandview, Texas

Re: Jardine en Tejas ~ 2012

2 Jan '13 8:16 pm
Good-bye, good-bye 2012. You were predominantly angst and pain with a smattering of brights, I shall miss you not.

Haven't posted much this year. It is rather hard to be upbeat and post anything when you have failed, yet again. And this is after all, the premier garden blog. Three years running. No garden. It is hard to perceive this year to be worse than 2011 with no rain, but. My poor, beloved tatty garden has lost more this year to the grasshopper horde than anything the other two years. Two thirds of my cherished iris: gone. All of the amaryllis: gone. Six more roses: dead. All of last fall's new daylilies: dead. New iris ordered last fall, seven out of twelve: dead. Both double rose of Sharon: touch and go. And. It is not like you can rally, excited to buy new roses, iris or anything else that is a late spring, summer, fall plant. They will be back, in force. Will be prepared to kill them while they are small, but question how successful that will turn out. So this year was one of massive garden depression. Even my flower beds are hideous, I let weeds and grass take over in hopes the grasshoppers would eat them instead.

Am not sure how things will go, three years older, dodgey knees, prone to being laid low by rheumatoid arthritis for long lengths of time. How much longer will I get to garden at all??

Moosey, you asked about what grasshoppers do. Well. Walk out to your garden and do more than wince when you look. No roses, not one leaf, bud, full-blown blooming rose anywhere. Anywhere. Yes, all five hundred plus in dire shape as summer proceeds, and they also chew the branches and stems. No leaves or flowers of daylilies, iris, azaleas, not sure about rhododendrons -the flowers and buds definitely gone. All of your ornamental grasses, the leaves on your hazelnut orchard, etc., etc., etc. New Zealand natives might fare better, but they would have chewed-on places. Chrysanthemums are supposedly safe, but as they devour everything else, they get chewed on too, but not to the point of dying. Grasshopper knees? Am more than sure you would come to despise them, too.

b.

gordonf
Happy Collector
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Lillooet, BC, Canada

Re: Jardine en Tejas ~ 2012

3 Jan '13 6:58 pm
Oh brother, Riobrazos - I sure DO hope 2013 is better for you! Maybe you might try a garden of succulents. Perhaps the grasshoppers wouldn't like them so much, and they have beautiful flowers. In fact< I'm envious of gardeners who can leave them out all winter! here, it's too wet in winter for most of them.

The plague that hits us here in BC from time to time (mainly in the Interior) is caterpillars. They slowly eat their way across the country over a period of about 3 years or so before they finally die out. Then about 7 years later they return. Once they've passed by, there's a swath about half a mile wide of denuded broad-leafed plants. Smaller ones die while trees eventually grow a second crop of much smaller leaves late in the summer. I used to paint my treasured trees with systemic pesticide but that's not allowed any more. Luckily, here on Vancouver Island, I've never seen a large outbreak of the little pests!

All the best in 2013 to you and everyone else at Moosey's!

-gordonf

riobrazos2
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Grandview, Texas

Re: Jardine en Tejas ~ 2012

4 Jan '13 5:04 pm
Thank you, Gordon, for the commiseration. I haven't as much luck as you with succulents, am still in awe of the cacti you have merrily growing on your roof! I do manage ice plants very well, and you are so right, their flowers are a delight. The grasshoppers didn't like them, but would still chew thru stems. I've only had a few winters that they survived. I usually root cuttings late in the summer so they are well established by winter and do not mind a sunny windowsill. It's tricky here, as we are just enough north to play havoc with them if we have real winter weather. The week before Christmas it was in the high seventies, so that would be the mid-twenties for you. Then we had a Siberian front come all the way across just for us! Temperatures dropped like a rock and are still cold for here. Some of the wind chills ranged from -2 to -12 degrees Celsius.

Do you know what kind of caterpillars they are? What they do to the trees sounds all to familiar, at least for fruit trees. The second set of leaves are so small, you worry about how the tree will do.

Have you found a new home that interests you? I imagine it will be easier hunting in the spring. You live in such a beautiful area.

The very best to you and yours, including those of the chlorophyll persuasion, in the New Year!!


b.

gordonf
Happy Collector
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Lillooet, BC, Canada

Re: Jardine en Tejas ~ 2012

4 Jan '13 8:07 pm
They're called, "Tent Caterpillars" because they make tent-like webs in the trees where the young ones hatch. As soon as they're large enough, they all come out of their "tent" and proceed to eat their way across country until they're old enough to reproduce, when they make new tents and lay their eggs, which stay there all winter until it's time to hatch in spring. Then the cycle begins again.

When I was a kid, my Dad used to burn the tents in the fruit trees with a torch, but he couldn't do that to ALL the trees, so I really don't think it slowed them down much, but at least it protected the apple and plum trees! Maybe with all the banning of pesticides we'll have to go back to that technique!

As for moving, I've found 2 possibilities, but just now almost nothing is moving here, so unless I can sell my current home, I don't have the money for a new one. Time will tell! There is supposed to be a five-year building boom here beginning in March, with a big new hospital, several large seniors' homes and a $1.3B power station starting up, as well as several smaller commercial projects. Maybe things will pick up then.

While I can't plan precisely, I'm not about to give up on my hobby, so I just seeded two kinds of bananas that are supposed to be hardy here along with 2 gingers, a carex from N.Z. and some white agapanthus seeds. We'll see how they do. Wish me luck!

-gordonf

Kerole
A Gardener of Disrepair
User avatar
Taupaki, New Zealand

Re: Jardine en Tejas ~ 2012

7 Jan '13 8:29 am
Oh B how hideous! I've seen the results of mass hopper action on TV. Ghastly. :(

This may seem stupid, but can you net areas of your garden, until the plague passes? It would look unattractive but the plants may at least become established under the netting until such time as the beasties are gone.

gordonf
Happy Collector
User avatar
Lillooet, BC, Canada

Re: Jardine en Tejas ~ 2012

7 Jan '13 11:02 am
I don't think anyone thought of using netting, but the little devils stay around for several weeks and move on fairly slowly, so I don't know how practical that would be. oddly enough, I don't remember them eating flowers or veggies, just all the leaves from trees and taller shrubs! I don't think the caterpillars are nearly as destructive as grasshoppers.

riobrazos2
member
User avatar
Grandview, Texas

Re: Jardine en Tejas ~ 2012

7 Jan '13 3:38 pm
Have been scheming all winter. We have such persistent, strong winds, have thought of making cages of hardware cloth (that stiff wire stuff forming little squares) and covering that with some sort of netting that will have to have small openings. Maybe even a low number shade cloth.

Nola bait will kill them while little, and have commenced buying it, because it is going to take muy mucho (very much.) Unfortunately, theses guys don't move on, they just keep eating and then mating until frost. I am encouraged that the farmer that rents the L-shaped twenty acres around us did not plant wheat this winter. Everything was fine until they harvested the wheat and we were inundated with grasshoppers. However, unless he has treated the field, his corn (that is what I assume he will plant) will really be daunted to get tall enough. Everyone here has said, "Oh, just plant cabbage." Well. Everything not a flowerbed and our field could be planted in cabbage and I daresay it would disappear in a month, if it lasted that long. I reckon those folks have never been drowning in grasshoppers. I worry about the pasture, but our land rolls down to our pond, thus I don't want to spray bad chemicals. We have a very cheerful frog population! So, haven't given up, must protect what's left! And then there could be a secret weapon . . . guinea hens!

Gordon, we seem to get web worms only in pecan and fruit trees in Texas. I have been known to tightly wrap a newspaper wand, light it, and at a moderate pace move it around the webs.

Well, dear folk, am really going to try not to let it get me down as badly this year. I thank you for your thoughts!

b.

Kerole
A Gardener of Disrepair
User avatar
Taupaki, New Zealand

Re: Jardine en Tejas ~ 2012

7 Jan '13 3:54 pm
Hear hear to Guniea hens!! We are looking at getting some, not to quieten a pest problem but because they're so cool looking. I have had them before and they're very cool. A little noisy sometimes, but cool.

gordonf
Happy Collector
User avatar
Lillooet, BC, Canada

Re: Jardine en Tejas ~ 2012

7 Jan '13 4:10 pm
Love, love guinea hens! The only time I've ever been up close and friendly with them was when I was working at a guest farm as a kid. We boys all slept in a cabin and the hens always woke us up in the mornings! Luckily, they're VERY loud and persistent, because you probably know how late teenage boys can sleep! needless to say, we were never late for work!!

The method you remember for getting rid of the caterpillars is the same my Dad and I used on them! Have you thought about putting up mosquito netting over prized plants? Good luck this year! :D

MacFlax
member
Canberra, Australia

Re: Jardine en Tejas ~ 2012

8 Jan '13 1:20 am
Oh Bonny. I read your 2 January post and didn't know what to say, I couldn't even bring myself to try to remember my password so I lurked miserably.:-( Sending you big (((hugs))) and I hope this year is an improvement.
Does mesh work for grasshoppers? I saw some covered veggie gardens last year but they call it bird mesh so I suppose that's what it's designed for. Would the mosquito netting Gordon mentions be strong enough to use in the same way I wonder.

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