A few questions-aphids, citrus, bottlebrush tree

wildatheartFebruary 25, 2014

Hi there all you helpful Florida gardeners!
I had my winter garden almost completely taken out by aphids. Got all my cabbage, kale, cauliflower, broccoli, and arugula. Never even saw the beets come up. The only things spared were radishes and carrots and onions (planted in other beds). The aphids are now attacking my two year old strawberry plants. I tried a strong garlic soap spray to no avail. I know lady bugs will help, but I still expect some cold snaps up here at night. Can I do lady bugs now?

I want to plant a couple or three citrus trees in the planting spot in front of our front porch. The spot I have picked is right up against a brick wall that gets lots of noon and afternoon sun. Should they be ok there without baking in the summer and freezing in the winter?

Lastly, my bottle brush tree turned very brown wih the freeze and ice we had last month. Leaves are a leather brown color and nothin has changed since the freeze. Is it dead?

I'm actually in 8a, made a mistake in my heading.

Thanks for any info!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Adjust your garden hose nozzle for a strong fine spray and blast the aphids off the plants, they will come back but keep blasting them every few hours and slowly you will end up thinning them out & pissing them off. Right now it is too early for lady bugs, they will only go and hide to finish their hibernating while they wait for summer. If you look close you will see their eyes are half closed and they yawn a lot.
Zone 8A is too cold for citrus without protection, you can grow them in pots if you can drag the pots into the garage during the cold snaps.
Lastly, I have no idea about the bottle brush, never grew it and don't intend to.


    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 8:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you SO much, Lou! I was hoping someone would respond, esp. about the aphids. It is so hard to find good info about what to do when gardening in FL. Gardening sites just tend to assume everyone has four seasons. :/

So ok, blast the aphids off. That's what I will spend my weekend doing. lol.

I had to laugh at the sleepy lady bugs. Never heard that before!

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 11:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I, too, have had my yarden almost completely abolished by aphids⦠due to White Footed Ants (WFA's) this year. I was strolling through looking for advice on what to use to get rid of them. Spraying them off won't work because they're on EVERYTHING and the WFA's keep placing them. Any advice on something I can maybe attach to a hose end sprayer and douse everything? Massey wants $2400 for a year of chemical dumping and I really just want the fire ants and WFA's eradicated. Help?

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 6:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Shear,
Unfortunately I'm just going to have to wait until lady bug season and bring them in. I have a lot of fire ants too--makes me so mad when they chew up my kids' feet when the kids are just trying to enjoy their yard.
I get beneficial nematodes from Arbico Organics (arbicoorganics.com). That helps knock down the fire ants quite a bit. But those can't go down until its warm, like the lady bugs.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 11:31AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'll look into the nematodes. And the ladybugs. How does one know how much to buy? Is it per size of yard or per amount of panic over losing all that hard work?

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 2:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

lol. Arbico explains how much to get.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 3:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If you take your used coffee grounds and re run them through a drip coffee maker and keep doing it until the water looks dark, you can put that into a pump sprayer and spray your plants. It will easily wipe of aphids. If the coffee can be used to kill the Asian scale that has been wiping out our sagos, aphids are a breeze. It even gives the plants a bit of nitrogen as well.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2014 at 9:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

OH, thanks, PlantsMan!
I sprinkled coffee grounds in my summer garden around the tomato plants in an effort to keep the squirrels away, but haven't thought of making a tea out of them.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 6:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Coffee tea will kill all kinds of scales, mealy bugs, aphids, and even spider mites as a direct contact spray. I'm growing 500 species of plants and have about 40K of them and I haven't used anything but tea from Starbuck's used coffee grounds for the last 8 years.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 8:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've had trouble with aphids on my bush field peas and on my pepper plants. The aphids wiped out one crop of peas completely.
One thing that does help keep them off the veggie plants is companion planting with sunflowers. Small ones, big ones, doesn't much matter the variety from what I've found. The ants prefer to herd the aphids onto the sunflowers and the sunflowers are a very hardy plant that can take the massive aphid/ant load without dying.
This was working well for me last season till the squirrels came through and wiped out every. single. sunflower. It was a massacre I tell you. Pretty yellow petals covered the yard. The horror.
But, I'm hoping for better results this season since my hubby laid out rat poison and that took out the squirrels living in our roof too :)

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 3:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

WOW. Plantsman--that is ALOT of plants. Looks like your advice can be trusted as you surely know what you're doing! I took the grounds from my husband's coffee and ran water through it into a bowl. Is that making a tea? He's the only one that drinks coffee, so the grounds don't build up that fast. How often do I do this?

Lol, CrosStitching! I thought the same thing about my beautiful kale, cabbages, and arugula. Beautiful little transplants. Gone. Good tip about the sunflowers! I just bought a pack yesterday, ironically!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 5:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

That IS making tea. Run that same brown water through the coffee make until it is dark, like dark iced tea. Might take 4 times through. You use that as a direct contact spray, so you can do it when you see insects. It does not work this way as a systemic, so more aphids could crawl on your your plants later. I set up a plastic 55 gallon drum and a tube that holds a full silver bag of used coffee grounds. I fill the barrel with water and in 10 days, it steeps into something that I use on all the insects I mentioned before.
Aphids are the big thing on the pepper plants, but I deal more with about 5 different kinds of scales, and sometimes mealy bugs, on the cycads.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 6:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I will do this and keep it in my little garden sprayer that I put the garlic soap water through. I lost my peas last year to aphids but had no problems through the summer on tomatoes, cukes, peppers, nothing. I planted them all with a forest of marigolds, though, so I attributed their relatively pest free life to that.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 8:17PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Mimosa ~ silk tree
I posted a photo on my blog not knowing what this little...
Mango and Lychee Blooms "fried" by the recent Freeze
Just wanted to vent a little to my fellow mango and...
What is your best/favorite ground cover?
I need ground cover ideas. I love to fill in places...
Tomato varieties good from now to early summer?
I am in zone 10A or B—can't quite make out where...
Any Plant Sales?
I live in the Holiday Florida area and I went to a...
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™