protecting persimmon grafts from psylids
I've noticed lots of these little gnat-like insects on my persimmon grafts since I started trying (with very minimal success) to graft more persimmons last year, but I never thought much about them until just the last few days. I just read the following on Edible Landscaping's webpage:
"In midsummer there is a small insect that looks like a large gnat (psylid) at 1/8" long, that will suck on newly emerging leaves. Their cycle is approximately 1 month. I've never seen them set back an outdoor tree and in the fall their damage is not really noticeable. If they are alarming they can be controlled with sprays. Since they ar soft bodied a soap spray can be effective."
The "newly emerging leaves" stage is how far most of my grafts make it before they lose vigor and finally dry up and die. These psylids may not be my main problem with grafts failing, but at this point I want to do everything I can to improve, so I want to see what I can do to deal with them. Should I take floating row cover material and make a little net around each scion? Will that affect temperature any (i.e. it won't cause the graft to overheat, will it)? Do I need to find a way to suspend it above and away from the new growth or is it okay if it rests directly on the new growth? (The psylids won't cause damage through the material, will they?)
I'd mostly like to find a way to graft onto wild seedlings I already have growing all over my place (i.e. outdoors/in the field), but another thought is to keep potted grafts indoors until they're a little further along. I wouldn't be able to give them hardly any direct light if I kept them indoors, but maybe light wouldn't be all that important at first.