Friday, May 27, 2011

Wilt Virus Deadly to Tomato Plants

There are many plant diseases that make growing tomatoes a challenge in the southeast. One of the worst is tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV). First found in our area in the mid 1990’s, this disease is different from most tomato diseases because it is caused by a virus rather than a fungus or bacteria. In addition, unlike most viruses, TSWV kills the plants it infects and it has started showing up on tomato plants in our area in the past few weeks.

The upper leaves of plants infected with tomato spotted wilt virus often develop unusual brown or purple markings that may look like spots or lines. There is no way to treat infected plants, which should be removed from the garden as soon as symptoms develop. This disease can be prevented by planting resistant varieties like 'Crista' and 'Amelia'.

Learn more about recognizing and managing this disease! Read the rest of the story on the Pender Cooperative Extension website:

Friday, May 20, 2011

Good Bug, Bad Bug

Recognize this common beneficial insect? This is an immature ladybug feeding on an aphid. In a few weeks, it will form a cocoon then emerge as the more readily recognized red and black beetle.Learn more about beneficial insects and managing pests naturally at a free class, Thursday, May 26, 10am - noon at the Surf City Community Center!

There are all kinds of insects in this world. Some of them eat plants, others feed on nectar, a few feed on blood, and then there are the bugs that eat each other. Officially known as beneficial insects, these good bugs help keep plant damaging insects under control naturally. They are definitely something you want in your garden. Luckily, creating a yard that beneficial insects will want to call home is simple and inexpensive. To find out how, click here,, to read the rest of the story on the Pender County Extension website. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Act Now to Protect Squash Plants from Serious Pests!

Two serious pests of squash plants are on the prowl in vegetable gardens in our area. Be on the lookout for adult squash bugs and the masses of eggs (seen left) they are currently laying on the backside of squash and zucchini leaves! Remove these insects and their eggs now or treat with pesticides to prevent serious damage to your squash and zucchini crops.

Squash bugs and squash vine borer frequently attack summer squash, zucchini, pumpkins, and winter squash, often causing plant death. Both of these pests are difficult to control once damage shows up. Adults of these pests are laying eggs, making now the critical time to act to prevent them from damaging your squash crop.

Learn more! Find out more about these pests and how to control them in your garden - Read the rest of the story on the Pender Cooperative Extension website:

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Plant Perennials for Color Year After Year

Hardy hibiscus is one of hundreds of perennials that thrive in local landscapes. Also known as swamp mallow, this locally native perennial grows best in moist soils, and flaunts extra large pink, white, or red flowers in early summer.
Flowers bring a landscape to life. Their bright colors add interest to the otherwise green and brown color scheme of the typical yard. Often annuals are planted to add seasonal color, but annuals must be changed every season – a task that can add up to a lot of work and expense. One way to reduce the work it takes to have a colorful landscape is to plant perennials, which come back year after year from the same roots.

For suggestions of many perennials that thrive in our area read the rest of the story on the Pender Cooperative Extension Website,