organic soil drench for insects prior to planting?

luvpatch2February 27, 2012

Hi! I have a large flower bed that this winter something destroyed half my violas in the bed. Overnight the whole plant would die and was able to be lifted up like something had destroyed the roots. I have pulled all that out and now want to prepare the bed for spring planting. Is there something organic that I could drench the soil with would prevent that from happening to my spring plants? Thanks so much for any help!

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What do you see, when you dig up the area? For just a few plants, I would suspect gophers or moles.

How is the drainage in that bed? Have you previously had successful plantings in same area?

Without knowing just why the plants died, would be hard to know what preventive measures would be needed.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 4:32PM
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This is a common problem here in the south. Can't tell you what causes it; maybe voles/moles. But I do know how to stop it. I keep an old plastic watering can just for this purpose which I fill to the top with water and then stir 3 tablespoons of castor oil using a long stick because this is a gooey mess. Plant the plants and water them in with the contents of the watering can. Repeat watering once more a week later. Tough to convince gardeners to use this method, but when they do they are pleased with the results.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 10:20PM
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Voles, not moles, will eat plant roots so if the plants died overnight most likely it was voles. Any soil drench that might be effective against soil dwelling insects will also kill off the Soil Food Web necessary to grow the plants you have. Insects will not devour plant roots that quickly, anyway.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 6:35AM
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If these are young plants the problem might be cutworms. Using any kind of systemic poison without identifying the problem is not compatible with good organic practice, and likely a waste of time and money.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 7:27AM
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