Sick night blooming jasmine

skye_(Zone 10 - South Florida)September 30, 2011

This poor jasmine -- I planted it a few years ago outside in full sun in S. Fla.'s sandy soil. and it's done great through the years and is now about 8-9 feet high. The landscapers keep triming it (or rather, butchering it) but I tied red ribbons on it so they know not to do that.

For the past few weeks I've noticed the new growth is shriveling and something's eating it but I don't see anything on the leaves and don't now what the culprit is.

What can i spray it with or do for it to save it??

Thanks for any suggestions.

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A good Horticultural oil should do the trick!

If you can't see the buggers, then most likely you have spider mites and they will suffocate. Read the instructions since once a spray needs to be followed by follow ups. Never spray any oil in the heat of the day. As the directions say, very early in the am or late in the afternoon.

I hope you rid of them or what ever they are. You will know for sure if you use a magnifying glass and check the underneath of the leaves.


    Bookmark   October 2, 2011 at 12:40PM
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skye_(Zone 10 - South Florida)

Here are some photos. Can you tell from looking what might be the culprit? It's eaten some of the branches nearly clean!

Here is a link that might be useful: Jasmine Photos

    Bookmark   October 4, 2011 at 7:49PM
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Oh my God. Let me call an expert for this. I hope she helps on this. Give it a little time and she will be by:-)
Can you get a close-up picture of a pest in action?
That is exactly the kind of damage the 'earwigs' in my area leave on mine.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2011 at 8:06PM
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skye_(Zone 10 - South Florida)

I can't see any culprits to get a photo of them in action. By the looks of these leaves, you'd think they'd be wearing tennis shoes, but I have looked it over well and see nothing.

I hope the expert doesn't take too long -- not sure how much time the Jasmine has left.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2011 at 7:06AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I guess that I'm the person Mike was referring to, lol.

This sure looks like caterpillar damage to me and there are several possibilities, sorry to say. A good time to try to find them in action would be well after dark, with a flashlight. You might spray the foliage with the hose a couple of hours before you go on safari, too. That sometimes encourages them to come out (unless, of course, you've already had buckets of rain.)

I really hate to suggest a control measure without knowing just who is doing all of this damage.

As to the wilting...I can't really offer any insight to the reason(s) behind that given the lack of information. Does this occur on ALL of the new growth or just to certain branches? Do the landscapers apply any type of herbicide anywhere near this plant, including pre-emergent to the grass? Has the base of the plant been injured in any way by weed trimmers, mowers, animals? What about rainfall and/or watering practices?

    Bookmark   October 5, 2011 at 12:18PM
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Rhizzo! Yes. Your guess would be right.

In the years since I have been here, you have never disappointed me and that of many others with your expertise and willingness to help!

Thank you for stopping by. I hope you are doing ok:-)


    Bookmark   October 5, 2011 at 2:05PM
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Darn, in a haste to get that posted here at work, I spelled your name wrong Rhizo! Sorry:-(

Mikee. See I did it to


    Bookmark   October 5, 2011 at 2:08PM
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skye_(Zone 10 - South Florida)

Boy, I wish I could be here during the day to get these messages sooner - but I'm stuck in an office; although I truly am grateful to have a job so I'll not complain!!

I will definitely go on safari tonight (and in S. Fla., I'll need full safari gear including a mosquito net on my hat!)

Answers to your questions:

Does this occur on ALL of the new growth or just to certain branches? Pretty much all - but it looks worse toward the top than at the very bottom (closest to the ground), although the whole thing is affected.

Do the landscapers apply any type of herbicide anywhere near this plant, including pre-emergent to the grass? Yes, they spray shrubs and grass, but since I'm not here to see them, I don't know if they do the jasmine or not - I'd say they probably do. They used to trim it whenever they trimmed the rest of the hedges (a discovery made - much to my horror - upon returning home from work), but I've tied some plastic red ribbon on a couple of the branches so they know not to do that.

Has the base of the plant been injured in any way by weed trimmers, mowers, animals? Very possibly, and most probably by weed trimmers; mowers don't get that close; no animals. Perhaps I should put a little edging of some kind around the base.

What about rainfall and/or watering practices? In summer we usually get a good shower most every day but this year has been unusually dry and we had a watering ban for several weeks but I did go out and give it a little drink and a short shower a couple times a week. Now that summer is on its way out and the watering ban is lifted, I water it good about twice a week. Is that too much? Not enough? It has some nice blooms in places but I fear they won't last.

I have just put an areca palm in a big pot out there and it's quite near the jasmine - I don't see any damage on it but perhaps I should move it a little further away until I conquor my jasmine-eating critters!

Lizards wouldn't be the culprits would they? Cause I have a ton of those little guys running around - but I thought they just ate bugs. Perhaps my lizards are vegetarians! (^_^)

One more thing - and I don't know if this bears any significance but some of the branches extend out over my a/c unit and the fan blows upward toward them. I try to keep those branches cut back away from it but I haven't been doing a very good job of that lately - neglecting my duties!

I'm SO glad you're here! Thanks for your help.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2011 at 5:54PM
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skye_(Zone 10 - South Florida)

What a lovely night for a safari -- but not so great for finding any bugs on my jasmine! I'm thinking it must be spider mites -- I saw some webs and little white specs in there. I saw nothing else on it at all. I tried to get some photos but it's a bit windy tonight (which is what makes it such a beautiful night - no mosquitoes!) so it was hard to get a good shot.

After pulling up the photos on my computer, I couldn't even tell where the alleged subject of the photo was, so I'm afraid they won't tell you much but I'll post them anyway - I've marked one where I think I see a web. There also seems to be a little fuzzy ball on a couple of them - not a clue what that is! I see little white spots on the leaves but not sure if it's mites.
Also, notice the first photo is one that I took yesterday showing the tree top - don't they look like spider webs on the right between those branches?

Wish I could have gotten better photos tonight but trying to hold the branch still and the flashlight so I could see what I was taking a picture of -- well, it just wasn't a real easy thing to do. I hope you can tell me something to do to save my tree! Thank you so much for your help - I truly appreciate it.

BTW - I looked inside the blossoms while I was out there. They are just such a delightful little flower with a shining star inside . . . and if anyone has missed this little gem - shine a flashlight inside the flower at night after they've opened - it sparkles like a tiny diamond, surrounded by fragile little white pedals -- so beautiful!

    Bookmark   October 5, 2011 at 11:56PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Skye, I do see some spider mites walking along their little trapeze wires. It's a little difficult to make out what's going on with the new growth, but it could very well be involvement with the mites. (Do you have aphids?) Spider mites can cause wilting, leaf curl, and all kinds of symptoms.

Can't tell what the fuzzy things are. Are they firmly attached to the leaves, or do you think they might be mobile? Are they perfectly round? Maybe you can remove one of them, still attached to the leaf, and take a really good picture.

I asked about herbicide because lots of 'innocent' plants are injured with the careless use of those chemicals. The stuff doesn't actually have to get ON the plants in order for damage to occur. Some soil applied products can be absorbed by the roots and woody shrubs and trees that are planted quite a distance from where the chemical was applied!

Lizards? Send some my way! Of course, I don't know for certain what kinds you may have down there, but when I lived in SC we had lots of those wonderful little green anoles.

By the way, I still think you have caterpillars lurking in there. Small green ones. With big appetites.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2011 at 4:39PM
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skye_(Zone 10 - South Florida)

Hi rhizo,

I'm glad you can see all that because I sure didn't! Can you tell me what would be best to get rid of the spider mites and the caterpillars? Organic would be nice if it will work - but I obviously want it to work well so if that's going to require chemicals then so be it.

Aphids? I don't know if I have them or not? What do they look like? I didn't so well on identifying the caterpillars and spider mites, so I'm pretty sure I'd be equally inept when it comes to detecting aphids.

I really hate to seem so ignorant on the subject but planting an occassional plant is about the extent of my gardening. When I planted this Jasmine, I had no idea it would get this big - it was only about 2 feet high - or less, when I bought it and it just shot up in no time at all! It was indeed a pleasant surprise!

As for the little round fuzzy things - I only saw them in the photo -- I didn't actually seem them on the tree -- I'll have to go out again tonight and see if I can see them.

I don't know which species of lizards I have - just your normal basic everyday S. Fla. fast ones. I recently put up scalloped concrete edging around about a 18 sq. ft. area and put down pebble stones and stepping stones -- the lizards seem to think I've built them a new playground! The geckos on the other hand, seem to like the front yard better - except one. Every day he comes around and sits by the patio door and stares at me - like he wants to chat!

Let me know what you think would be the best remedy for my pest issues, ok?

Thanks again for your help! I'll have to clip this thread so I can remember you next time I need some help! Hope that's okay with you!

    Bookmark   October 6, 2011 at 8:01PM
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skye_(Zone 10 - South Florida)

OK - Today I went out to trim the jasmine and looked at everything close up - I definitely have spider mites (saw a big brown one on the bottom of one of the leaves that looks just like this photo).

And the other night when I was out there I saw an aphid - just didn't know what it was, but I googled it and sure nuf -- this is what I saw.

I took a photo of it but the wind was blowing too much so it was just a blur.

Still haven't seen any caterpillars though.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2011 at 12:44PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

skye, spider mites are almost microscopically small. Too small to be seen easily with the naked eye. They CAN be seen, but barely. Most would find them easier to look at with an inexpensive magnifying glass. That picture looks more like a tick than a spider mite. I see the webs all over the new growth on your plant and some individuals on the webs, made visible by the reflections.

The winged insect is an aphid. Though usually without wings, some generations are born with a pair of wings in order to be able to move from a plant that is too crowded. Look for clusters of the unwinged aphids on the tender growth of plants.

These pests do all of their damage by sucking plant juices from cells. They do not eat the leaves. You still haven't found the culprit doing the chewing. Some of those little cookie cutter bites from the edges look like they could be the work of leaf cutter bees. Little notches could be from weevils.

BUT! I still want to see a better picture of the fuzzy thing!

    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 12:32PM
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skye_(Zone 10 - South Florida)

Last weekend, I pruned it down considerably and sprayed with soapy water using Fels Naptha. I checked it again last night and found another one of those bugs in the first picture, but they certainly aren't microscopic! I got that photo on the web when I googled spider mites images.

It has some new growth already that looks healthy. I sprayed again with the soapy water but I may have to go with a chemical spray if it doesn't do the trick. Unless you have any other suggestions, I guess I'll just wait a few days and see what happens. Do you think I should fertilize or hold off on that?

As for the fuzzy things -- I never could see them even while I was pruning I kept looking for them but they apparently only showed on the photo! Go figure! Perhaps they're apparitions, i.e., ghost mites! :)

I'll post back here and let you know my progress.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2011 at 6:23AM
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skye_(Zone 10 - South Florida)

Update: After the pruning and the new growth started coming in beautifully, the culprits are back. This time I can see the caterpillers on them. Can you tell me the best way to get rid of them??

I wonder why this is happening suddenly. I've had that plant for several years with no problems at all and now it seems every imaginable pest is trying to destroy it!

    Bookmark   November 2, 2011 at 7:47AM
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