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View Diary: Introduction to Ecological Gardening Pt. IV: Basic Garden Ecology 3- Layers (55 comments)

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  •  I probably won't be able to solve that problem. (1+ / 0-)
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    So many of our favorite domesticated species have had so many of their genes bred out that they no longer can survive without intense effort on our part. The burden shifts to the intervenor- when we choose to cultivate a certain plant (or even animals, look at dogs) they can become overbred and lose much of their vitality.

    That said, increasing the number of beneficial organisms so that you will have a population of predators waiting on the wings for Japanese beetles may help. Then there are more natural methods of dealing with problem insects. I'll get into that in the biocide diary.

    We'll see what I can put together and hopefully something will work.

    •  I have used suphur, diatomaceous earth, (2+ / 0-)
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      FinchJ, Ice Blue

      pyrethrins and copper. They have been mildly effective, but ultimately the beautiful but noxious beetles swarm in numbers that have overcome anything I have thrown at them. It would appear that I would have to be at the ready every few hours if I really wanted to get rid of them.

      The bed has been enriched with compost, compost tea, worm casting tea, and lightened with sand and humus for drainage because the soil in that bed had lots of clay. The few roses that still bloom without massive attention are the ones I now pay attention to.

      What is left I call the Survivor garden. I agree that native species and ancient strains are preferable to cultivate. However, when I see some of my roses in full bloom, their beauty always inspires me to want to keep them going.

      Another thing to try would be beneficial insects. That I haven't tried. I haven't been certain about using sacrificial bugs to beautify my plants because I didn't know if they would munch my pests and perish, or if they could live their lives out and reproduce, which I would prefer. I really don't like killing bugs, even the beetles, or using fragile insects as predators.

      What to do! This is the time of year to decide, and I'm going to study your approach to gardening as we want to do more vegetable gardening this year. I like the idea of using a more natural habitat to reduce watering.

      The Republican Party is a nationwide hate group. ~ lyvwyr101

      by 4Freedom on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 06:30:34 AM PST

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      •  Beneficial insects are attracted when (2+ / 0-)
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        FishOutofWater, 4Freedom

        their prey is available. They will stay when their other requirements are met: do they need nectar or pollen at other stages of life? Do they have a proper over wintering site? Is there insect friendly access to water?

        By providing the niche requirements for beneficials, they will be waiting for their prey to reproduce to sufficient numbers so that they can begin breeding. If we intervene and keep their prey low, say by hand picking or using some kind of insecticide, then they will not provide us with benefits. Herbivore populations need to get towards "out of control" before we see our beneficials begin to combat them to our liking. Typically, they are slower growing and reproduce less often than "the bad guys."

        For Japanese beetles, someone recommends:

        Another great natural enemy is the Spring Tiphia wasp, which was imported into America from China to control the beetles. The female wasp goes into the soil and lays her eggs right on Japanese beetle grubs, killing up to 85 percent of the grubs in a lawn. Sounds way better than poisonous chemical insecticides! Plant forsythia, peonies, and firethorn to attract these beneficial wasps.

        It takes time, but building good habitat for others will help us in the end!

        •  I have some gorgeous big, fat pink peonies, (1+ / 0-)
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          haven't had much luck with forsythia, and will have to look up firethorn because I'm not aware of that plant.

          Thanks for the suggestions. Will do some more digging into this.

          The Republican Party is a nationwide hate group. ~ lyvwyr101

          by 4Freedom on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 11:59:46 AM PST

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