The Root Of My Problems…

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Photo: via Wikimedia Ccommons

Greetings everyone! Summer is finally here and I am truly enjoying this excellent weather. I spend quite a bit of time outdoors daily because this year’s garden will be more bountiful (hopefully). I am growing more edibles this year, which requires more attention. I plan on freezing and dehydrating loads of veggies and herbs for savory winter soups and stews.

I am a bit perturbed because a few of my squash plants succumbed to an ailment over a two day period. It was quite a mystery and heartbreaking.  I try to keep my soil healthy by organic means. I checked the stems and leaves of the plants and found no damage. However, I noticed a trail of ants carrying bits of small, white particles away near the plants. Being curious, I reserved a few ants and dug up the damaged plants. I looked at the roots and noticed white patches and movement.

Okay, I think I have mentioned before how my plants are my babies. I get a little emotional when they are ill. So, I put the plants aside and ran in the house to do a bit of research. I do this quite often (and I even have a small microscope I use to help with my investigations). This is the result of my research:

Root Aphids

Root aphids (from the Phylloxera family), are tiny, mite-sized bugs that typically live below  the soil line. Their colors are camouflaged to mimic roots and soil, so they are generally white or brown. Because of their colors, size and habitation, they can go unnoticed until it is too late. Signs of the aphid infestation, are generally yellowing, curling and withering of leaves which can led to disease and root rot.

They are becoming a big problem for home gardeners (in particular, indoor gardening) and are spreading all over the country. Researchers, have indicated the aphids are being spread through commercial grade soils and bagged compost. It is recommended you purchase your mediums from a reputable source or even make your own.

At the first signs of infestation, you must act fast to control them from spreading. Throw away infected plants (composting is not recommended). Clean any containers or tools they may have come in contact with. To control the aphids, Neem oil, beneficial insects and nematodes, Pyrethrum-based sprays and Azatrol are suggested. Do not use insecticidal soaps, because they will not help with soil based aphids and could actually damage your soil.

Here are some additional resources to give you more information about Root Aphids…

http://homeguides.sfgate.com/kill-root-aphids-43712.html

http://www.planetnatural.com/pest-problem-solver/houseplant-pests/root-aphid-control/

 

 

 

 

 

 

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11 Comments Add yours

  1. jansweeps says:

    How frustrating! I hope you’re able to get it under control.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much. I am working on it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Angel says:

    Impressive investigations. Good luck resolving it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tilly Frueh says:

    I haven’t encountered these little critters yet, but I have had my share of unwanted visitors as well. Isn’t the internet a great resource to help solve garden problems? Good luck. I always say that gardening is nothing more than a learning experience because no matter how much you think you might know, there is always more to learn. Not too comforting, but at least with knowledge comes power and now there is one more issue you’ll be ready to handle.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I truly agree. Thank you so much for stopping by.

      Like

  4. moonlitwish says:

    Yikes! Now I have to go check my zucchini plants. We’ve been fighting squash bugs for about a month now and I finally got tired of picking them off and stuck my potted catnip right up against the plants. Worked like a charm! Good luck with these buggers. They look like they may be a little harder to be rid of.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am pleased the catnip worked out. I hate squash bugs. Thank goodness the aphids have not spread so far.

      Like

  5. Oh no! Sound like horrible beasties. Hope the nematodes work. Seems like the ants were helping, too?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, they are terrible. The ants truly did their job and I am most grateful.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great article, excellent pics (nice when we can see the issue), and we also look too Planet Natural for a number of our natural pest controls – great job! Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words. I am pleased you enjoyed the article.

      Like

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