Nursery owner

Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner.

It’s time again to release trichogramma wasps to prevent destructive fall worms from defoliating and stressing trees and plants. Depending on the current weather conditions, we could be seeing webworms and possibly a few other destructive worms any day now. I have already had a couple of gardeners report seeing some worms in their trees.

Common fall webworms are the larvae form of a tan-colored, small moth. Female moths lay large masses of eggs on the underside of foliage. Soon the moth eggs hatch into worms, and the worms start feeding on foliage right away.

Releasing trichogramma wasps now, and again in a few weeks, can help prevent moth eggs from hatching. No eggs means no worms.

Getting rid of these worms, plus many other types of moth larvae, before they can hatch depends on a proper release schedule. If you release the wasps too early, there might not be any moth eggs available for them to feed on. If you release the wasps too late, when worms are already being noticed, then the wasps will be of no help. Remember, trichogramma only want worm eggs not the worms.

Last week, I wrote about a problem with trees unexpectedly dropping small and large limbs. This mysterious event has been named Sudden Branch Drop. Today, let’s shed some light on trees that have brown dead areas of foliage within their canopies. These dead areas are believed to be caused mostly by squirrels and other pests.

This problem can affect many varieties of trees, especially pecan trees. During hot, dry weather conditions, trees can very become stressed. Stress can cause sugars to build up with in the limbs and leaves of a tree. This sugar attracts pests like squirrels, possums, rats and others. Any of these four legged creatures can break smaller limbs as they are moving around the canopy of a tree or as they are chewing on the sweet-tasting limbs.

Squirrels sometimes chew on tree limbs to sharpen their teeth.

Until next time, let’s try to garden with nature, not against it, and maybe all our weeds will become wildflowers.

Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner. Send your gardening questions to or in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.

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