Helping a Sick Peace Lily


TheGardenLady received this question about a Peace Lily from Janet.

I just moved my Peace Lilly to a room with better light to discover why my leaves were turning brown on the tips then turning black. What I discovered were little white worm-looking bugs crawling in the soil. I have not found any help on the Internet and am praying for any help you can give me. Please any help will be greatly appreciated.

Not seeing the white worms in your Peace Lily plant soil it is impossible to be 100% sure of the pest you are describing. That being said, hopefully we can still save your plant if it is not too sick. I hope that I can answer your prayers, but sometimes plants cannot be ressurected.

Peace lilies are strong hardy plants, but like every living thing, it does have pests that attack it. Here is a professional website that talks about diseases and pests that harm Peace Lilies.

Sometimes people buy plants that are infested with some pest but do not see it when they bring the plant home and the pest multiplies. Sometimes a healthy plant gets insects or diseases or pests from a nearby plant.

Whatever happened to your plant we will try to help it.

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How To Control Pests – Part VI

There are, of course, some insect pests that NO one wants. One of those insects is the Japanese beetle. Japanese beetles like over 275 plant species. For TheGardenLady Japanese beetles are especially awful on the roses.

To get rid of Japanese beetles, one should start early in their life cycle when Japanese beetles are in their grub stage living in the soil of your lawn or garden. Milky spore is considered safe to use. For answers to questions about milky spore read this.

Milky Spore’s effectiveness can be enhanced by the use of beneficial nematodes – specifically NemaSeek. Read package instructions for best time to apply in your area.

If you did not kill all the grubs in your soil with the milky spore or if some fly in from your neighbors yard, there are some other organic remedies that one can use.

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How To Control Pests – Part V

So what should a gardener do if there are insect pests in the garden?

There are too many suggestions to write just one short article about how to prevent or get rid of insect pests, but TheGardenLady will give some suggestions in this brief post.

This garden site is for the person who is a garden hobbyist, not a person making a living from the garden: but even farmers might find some good ideas on how to get rid of garden insect pests- or recommend some great ideas to the readers of this blog.

Here are just a few of TheGardenLady’s suggestions:

First of all don’t be so stressed over your garden. Expect insects to feed off your garden just as you feed off its beauty. The garden should be fun and help you relax and get rid of your stress, not cause more stress. Perfection isn’t the name of the gardening game. Remember that Nature or God made it so that all can live together: man, beast and insect.

Today more and more gardeners are going organic. It is no longer a fad or something just hippies are doing. Even the government is recommending less use of toxic chemicals and have even banned many. Going organic means using no toxic chemicals on plants. But if you feel that you can not go all the way to organic then there is a strategy called IPM or Integrated Pest Management that tolerates a little use of insecticides. IPM encourages the use of the minimum amount of pesticides after having used all the other strategies to get rid of insects- those other strategies are organic. If you are organic or using IPM, you will tolerate some insect damage in your garden. (see here)

Plant plants that attract beneficial insects that will kill insect pests. Or you can even buy some beneficial insects like lady bugs for your garden. For photos of 10 beneficial insects read this.

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How To Control Pests – Part IV

This post is the fourth in a series of posts on the control of pests.

When it comes to pests, the last question you should ask yourself is, “Are insecticides the best overall management tactic?”

Insecticides have strong and sometimes dangerous chemicals in them. After all they are designed to kill. Some of these chemicals not only kill insects but are toxic to humans and animals. Some of the chemicals get into our skin, nose and mouth. Some of those chemicals get into the soil and water and last for generations if not hundreds of years.

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How To Control Pests – Part II

This post is the second in a series of posts on the control of pests.

The second question a gardener has to ask when seeing pests or pest damage in the garden is: “Are the pests still actively damaging the plants or have they long since left or matured?”

Many pests have a brief lifespan. They do their damage and in a few weeks of damage their eating-part of their life cycle is finished. In that brief period when they are eating the plants they may do what seems like a lot of damage because they eat a large number of plants including flowers and herbs. Their damage is ugly. Then when the move on to another phase of their life cycle, they might not need to feed on the plant leaves or stems.

This spring the the four-lined plant bug did a job on my mint and my Russian sage. Almost all the leaves were eaten and affected. But I knew that when it was time for the flowers to emerge, they would not be eating and the flowers would look fine. My flowers and plants recovered. But I am not a farmer, so I can be tolerant. And in my garden the plants they ate were mostly weeds, so I did not have to be concerned.

Get to know the insects in your garden. By knowing about the the four-lined plant bug, I knew that in my garden I did not have to do anything drastic like use any strong pesticides (see here).

If you want to ID the insect and learn about it but cannot find the information online, take the insect in a closed jar to your local Master Gardener office or agriculture extension office. Do NOT squish the insect. To kill it put the closed jar into your freezer overnight.

How To Control Pests – Part I

One of the challenges of gardening is how to control the pests that like your garden as much if not more than you, the gardener. Some of these pests’ lives depend on your garden for their livelihood- literally eating to remain alive to repeat their own life cycle. So when you have insects on your plants you have to decide “How important is the damage to the overall appearance of the flower in my garden?”

Some insects that eat plants in the garden are good and helpful insects. We all know that bees are beneficial insects. Yes, they might sting us, but basically they are helping to pollinate the flowers or to get nectar to make honey. Without bees we wouldn’t have most plants. So we allow the bees to remain in our garden and don’t use insecticides to kill them.

But there are other equally good or beneficial insects that come to our plants that even do damage to the plants. But because we like these insects, we don’t want to kill them. For example, everyone seems to love butterflies and no one wants to kill them or eliminate butterflies from their gardens. But before they become the butterfly that we love, they were caterpillars that had to eat plants so that they could become (metamorphosis) that beautiful insect fluttering in our garden. Caterpillars need some of the plants that we grow and can become a pest especially if you are a farmer whose livelihood depends on your crops. For example, among the plants butterfly caterpillars need, depending on the type of butterfly, are parsley, or dill or fennel or even carrots or black-eyed-Susans.

Most of us are gardeners who do not rely on our crops for a living, so do we really care if caterpillars eat these plants in our gardens? To rephrase my original question: How much damage is being done by the insects in your garden and are you willing to live with that damage?




Honey Bee Troubles!

Bees are in Trouble! by Richard Elzey

TheGardenLady just read the most recent articles on the death of the honey bees and other bees. (see here) The death of bees has been a concern for a number of years now, but the most recent articles are saying that this year is the worst ever – that beekeepers are seeing death rates of up to 50% of their honeybees.

TheGardenLady wrote about the frightening loss of Monarch butterflies overwintering in Mexico this year. So TheGardenLady is writing this column  to beg readers PLEASE, PLEASE do NOT use pesticides in your gardens or on your grounds this year. And please spread this advice to everyone you know. Get your kids to talk about what is happening. Make it a local issue that will grow into a national issue and finally into an international issue.

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Pesticide Problems

Warning Pesticides: Fire Will Cause Toxic Fumes by C. G. P. Grey

More and more people are becoming concerned with the excessive use of pesticides and fertilizers on lawns and gardens. Careful, judicious use of small amounts of pesticides and fertilizers may be helpful, but using a lot on lawns and gardens may not be healthy or safe for humans and animals.

New Jersey may follow New York and Connecticut’s lead to become the third state to ban schoolground spraying.

Florida, New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Wisconsin and Maryland are limiting the amount of fertilizer with nitrogen and phosphorus that can be used on lawns and on your property; other states are considering a fertilizer ban. (see here) These bans also give dates when no one is allowed to apply fertilizers. Check out your state’s law on lawn fertilization to see what you can or cannot do on your lawns. Here are the NJ rules which, even if you are living in a state or country that does not have the ban, you should read. These bans are for the safety of our environment. If your state does not have the ban, become educated about the problems and encourage your state to write legislation to have the ban.

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Pesticides for Ticks

Deer Tick (Ixodes scapularis) female, dorsal view by Michael Bok

TheGardenLady would love to have a party in my back yard. But my back yard is not typical or usual in that it is across from a stream in a wooded area. This area is lovely, but I fear insects, especially Lyme ticks, that might join the party to feast on the guests. I have never taken out any of the trees in this back yard, though previous owners had, so there is a lot of open space where a party would look lovely. Still most of the time, because there is some woodland around the open space, this is a haven for wildlife. Deer come out of the wooded area to cavort. I have seen a fox, turkeys, rodents, snakes and lots of birds in the yard. So if I do have a party back there I want to use the safest pesticides possible. I hate using any toxic substance on this land.

But it would be so pretty back there for a party. What can I do?
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Indoor Insect Killer that Kills Stinkbugs and More

How to Kill Stinkbugs, One of the Newest Pests in the U.S., Without Releasing Their Odor

Halyomorpha halys, or more commonly known as the stinkbug, is a fairly new pest to the United States. First appearing in September of 1998, it’s believed to have entered the country in packing crates from China or Japan. Since then, the stinkbug has multiplied at an astonishing rate, and the infestation is at critical levels throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. Many consumers are finding it hard to keep these pests out of their homes. These bugs can enter houses in a variety of ways … by hitching a ride in on clothes, crawling through unsealed cracks in doors, flying in through open doorways, and more.

As part of the Pentatomidae family, stinkbugs get their common name from the vile odor they emit through holes in their abdomen. This foul smell is a defense mechanism that makes the bug less appealing to birds and lizards. It also makes them especially nasty to get rid of. No matter how carefully you try to kill stinkbugs, any jostling, cornering, injuring or removing can “set them off”. As the infestation continues to rise, more and more people are looking for an effective way to kill stinkbugs. One of the best solutions is an indoor insect killer that can eliminate them on contact, without releasing the bugs’ odor.

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