2 Problems - Bugs and Blooms

melissa520June 13, 2010

Hi all. I have two current problems with my hydrangeas. This afternoon I discovered a bunch of earwigs hiding in some of the leaf folds. I am a newbie gardener - are these helpful or hurtful bugs? If hurtful - any recommendations for treatment? Second - I have a row of hydrangeas which is a mix of endless summers and another mophead type (3 of each). They were planted the fall of 2008 so this is their second summer. Last summer they were absolutely covered in blooms. This year, most only have three or 4 buds. Any ideas what is up? Thanks in advance for any and all advice!

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Earwigs are "good guys" predators that feed off aphids, mites and other insects. They eat during the night and hide in damaged leaf tissues during the day. Should they get out of control, you can apply some insecticidal soap.

Hard to tell about the bloomage problem though. On a new plant, I would not worry about blooms on years 1 and 2. They are going through transplant shock and take 1-2 years to get established in the garden. But the fact that the problem happened with several varieties indicates that it could have been weather related. For example, temperatures zig zagging during winter could have confused the plants and killed off the blooms. ES's blooms that normally open in early Spring would have been zapped but the plant should still rebloom later this month or next. It would be odd if it does not.

To minimize the effects of weather on hydrangeas, consider these suggestions: do not overfertilize (too much nitrigen makes hydrangeas produce dark green leaves only and can cause cold weather to kill flower buds); feed them once in June with 1 cup of cottonseed meal or compost or manure for the whole year; do not fertilize after June; do not prune mopheads that bloom in old wood only after June; maintain 3-4" of mulch after the drip line; to rule out pruning problems, do not prune until the plants begin to improve (deadheading spent blooms is ok though); water during dry winters when the soil does not freeze; always make sure that the plants are winter hardy (including the unknown variety).

ES should be hardy in Zone 5 but some people here report blooming problems in Zone 5 so some winter protection MAY be useful if this problem persists.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 1:53AM
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Keep an eye on those ear wigs especially at night when they are active! I had an earwig infestation and they ate most of my flowers as well as my leaves. I tried the commercial stuff which got me no where then tried using dawn dish soap mixed in with water and spray all my plants with that and it worked. Best part is it was cheap! I had to go out with a flash light at two am to see them all over as they hid during the day time. This also worked on spiders and aphids.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2010 at 2:15AM
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