What can we do to prevent leaves of my Hybiscus from being eaten by unknown pests? I am first time user and amazed by the information I can send to resolve my problem. Right now I don't have a picture but will take one after I submit this question.
Hardiness Zone: 9b
Pauus from Palm Harbor, Florida
How to treat your hibiscus for pests really depends on what is eating them. Two common insects that attack hibiscus are aphids and Japanese beetles.
Aphids will generally cause the leaves to become wrinkled and discolored. These small, tear-shaped sap-sucking insects are easy to identify by the sticky honeydew they drop onto the leaves as they feed. Unfortunately, sooty mold fungus then often moves in to grow on the sugary honeydew and covers the leaves in a black coating. This coating prevents the leaves from receiving sun, which inhibits the plant's growth. Aphids are easy to remove by spraying the plants with a strong jet of water several times a day for a period of two to three days. For heavy infestations, use an insecticidal soap until the infestation is under control.
With their metallic blue-green bodies and bronze wing covers, adult Japanese beetles are easy to spot. They tend to feed heavily on the leaves (completely defoliate them), but they will also chew on the buds and flowers. Japanese beetle larvae are fat, white/gray grubs with brown heads, which burrow in the sod. Methods for controlling the adults include picking them off by hand (drop them into a pail of soapy water), and using pheromone traps (available at garden centers). You can also protect plants by covering them with floating row covers or, as a last resort, spraying them with neem. Applying milky spore disease or parasitic nematodes to your lawn will help disrupt their life cycle in the larvae stage.
About The Author: Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com
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