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Author Topic: Come visit my back garden  (Read 631 times)
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splinter1804
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« on: February 17, 2016, 20:09:36 »

Hi everyone.

I just thought I'd share a few pictures with you. These were taken by a member of our Bromeliad Society on a recent visit to members' gardens and you get to see it "warts and all".

I should mention that what appears to be (out of plumb) timber props supporting the shutters, were moved at an angle to make access easier for the visitors. They are not a permanent fixture and are only used to hold the shutters up when they aren't in the closed position.

All the best, Nev.

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Kayleen C
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« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2016, 02:29:11 »

Very nice Nev. So neat and tidy.
I had a study group from our club here yesterday and mine looks good at the moment too.
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chefofthebush
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« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2016, 19:39:31 »

My apologies for the brief absence ladies and gents - work had me tied up.

Brilliant garden Nev! A real professional’s pad! Makes my place look like the trash heap.

You should charge an entry fee to view that beautiful garden.

Well done!

Conrad
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splinter1804
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« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2016, 19:15:22 »

Hi everyone.

Kayleen and Conrad - Thanks for the compliments; unfortunately it doesn't always look like that as the weeds soon take over again (especially after the rain and the out of season extra warm weather) and as I get less mobile I find it harder and harder to keep them under control.

All the best, Nev.
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Kayleen C
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« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2016, 12:42:56 »

Know the feeling. We have a scale epidemic up here.
I am slowly tossing the ones badly effected by it.
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splinter1804
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« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2016, 21:32:29 »

Hi everyone

Kayleen - I'm not a promoter of commercial insecticides a I prefer to make my own from less harmful natural products such as the recipe for Rob Smythe's "Canola Oil Spray" http://fcbs.org/articles/canola.htm. But when sometimes these these don't work as well, you need to bring out the "big guns".

One that is currently getting good feedback from growers who have used it down here is called Defender Maxguard
See: https://www.scottsaustralia.com.au/defender/defender-pest-and-weed-control/defender-maxguard/

It is claimed to be a three way spray (contact, systemic and residual) which has little effect on many beneficial insects like some of the others do. I haven't personally trialed it properly, but brom. growing friends I know say it's the "best thing since sliced bread".

All the best, Nev.
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Kayleen C
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« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2016, 12:33:15 »

Nev I do use a systemic spray but cannot think of the name off hand. Have also used Canola oil spray.
Humidity has been bad this year and that is why we are having the problem. I often dunk the whole plant under water for a couple of hours then they rub off easily but it is still a big job to clean them up.
When I have used all my systemic spray up I will try Defender Maxguard.
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splinter1804
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« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2016, 21:53:33 »

Hi everyone.

Kayleen - The other  thing with what we call flyspeck scale is that even after they are dead, they don't just drop off like some of the softer scales do and have to be physically removed. It seems this type of scale prefers the tropical climate as we don't see it in collections much down here except occasionally in some that are overgrown and neglected. I suspect it has arrived on the occasional plant imported from northern areas, but the thing is, we can't afford to let it breed and get out of control even though it may not come to this in our colder climate.

The thing to be wary of is scraping them off before they are dead, as the ones that are visible are the "mothers" and are often covering eggs which are subsequently spread by the scraping motion only to hatch out several days later over a larger area.

For anyone who hasn’t experienced Flyspeck Scale, here's and interesting article which was written by one of our Bromeliad Society’s members and appeared in one of our "Newslinks" a few years ago as well as in numerous other publications, Bromeliad Forums and on-line discussion groups. If you haven't read it before, I suggest you do so now as it's very informative and will help you to identify and understand this tiny pest much better.

FLYSPECK SCALE Or - If You Have Little Black Balls You Have Problems
By Maureen (Bugsie) Johns – Bromeliad Society of NSW

Flyspeck scale should no longer be thought of as a pest confined to only tropical areas. I have seen a few pioneers on bromeliads at the last Illawarra Bromeliad Society show. A heavy infestation of flyspeck scale can be unsightly (resembling coarse sandpaper in serious cases), can suck the nourishment from the host plant, and can spread plant diseases. As flyspeck scale is an ARMOURED scale, it can be very difficult to kill so we do not want it to establish itself in your collection.

Flyspeck Scale Has Spread Quickly In Australia‘Pineapple Pests and Disorders’ (a comprehensive book published by the Queensland Department of Primary Industries in 1993) makes no mention at all of flyspeck scale. I am assuming that if flyspeck scale was then unknown in commercial pineapple crops, and to the various researchers who contributed to the book. that it was not on bromeliads in Australia either. Some flyspeck scale managed to survive our Australian quarantine system on imported orchids or bromeliads. Unfortunately, their natural predators appear not to have survived the lethal sprays, dips or gases used before shipping and in quarantine.

Flyspeck Scale Is No Longer Just a Tropical Problem - In the Americas, flyspeck scale survives only in tropical areas or hothouses. The flyspeck scale which emigrated to Australia seem to have adapted rather well to our climate. At first, there was some talk about flyspeck scale in the tropical areas of Queensland. A few years ago, people spoke in hushed whispers about flyspeck scale being in a nursery on the north coast of NSW. Here in Sydney, now, I have seen flyspeck scale surviving bad frosts, outdoors!

How To Recognise Your Enemy - Four to five average sized female flyspeck scale could fit on the head of an ordinary pin. They are tiny little black balls about the size and shape of a large poppy seed, so reading glasses may be necessary at first. There are three flyspeck scale in the following slightly enlarged picture. One is dead and slightly squashed by the scanner.

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You may only have one pioneer on your newly purchased plant. Look carefully!
Flyspeck scale will often sit right out in plain sight on the tops of the leaves, on the rims of the pot or tray, on a plant tag or label or even on a nearby wall. They can even be found on the grey-leafed tillandsias.

Look for a tiny black spot - If you rub a finger gently over the spot and feel that the spot is raised, ball shaped and adheres quite strongly to the leaf, you have found flyspeck scale. I won’t rub or flick her off, as I may spread her eggs. I prefer to remove her with a cotton bud just moistened with my tongue, then drop bug and cotton bud straight away into a plastic pill bottle that has some methylated spirits in the bottom.

Know Your Enemy - The flyspeck scale you can see is the adult female. She will have been quite mobile in her youth, so don’t only look on neighbouring plants for her sisters. Look metres away too. By the time you notice her, she has formed a hard, brittle, protective armour of wax and cast skin. This armour protects her from contact insecticides and the weather.
With a mother only 0.8 to 1.25 mm in diameter, you can imagine how small her eggs are (hidden under her body). The mother may already be dead, after laying her eggs, but she still adheres tightly to the plant, protecting her eggs.

Lifecycle Of Scale Insects - Most scale insects remain close to where they are hatched. An infested plant is usually quite noticeable, especially if you pull older lower leaves away from the plant, long before the scale insects spread to other plants. The young larvae, colloquially called ‘crawlers’, have legs which are eventually lost as they go through various stages and moults, but the way that flyspeck scale spreads tempts me to call them ‘leapfroggers’. Scale insects can be quite mobile in their youth. All have legs. Some have wings. All are ready to hitchhike on air currents, clothing or hands. I call this the ‘mobile dandruff’ stage.

The young and the adult females feed by poking their syringe-like mouthparts into the plant and sucking out the juice. From egg to the adult female laying eggs may take under a fortnight under suitable conditions. Generations will tend to overlap so not all of the insects will be vulnerable to a particular method of control at the same time. Adult males do not eat and will be much smaller and differently shaped. They could even have wings. I have not managed to get a picture of adult flyspeck scale mating. I think this will be difficult as they must mate quickly before they die. I was lucky enough to get a good picture of pineapple scale mating, for later publication.

Insecticides Are Like Penicillin - If you do not use the full dosage and repeat it at the correct intervals according to instructions, some stronger bugs will survive to breed and pass on their stronger genes. Read the instructions! In the case of flyspeck scale, I prefer using the stronger dosage recommended for mealy bug, repeating it an extra time for good measure. If you have used the same method of control three or four times in a row and the insects are still a problem they could be resistant to that method so change to another method. Be vigilant! You may think you have won the battle but some survivors may be breeding unnoticed until a large population makes itself noticed in the peak late summer through to early winter time.

How To Prevent The Spread Of Flyspeck Scale:- EXAMINE all new plants thoroughly. Even if you don’t see any scale you could consider giving them a thorough wash with ¼ strength Clensel or even washing up liquid before taking them home. A spray of your insecticide of choice may also be appropriate. The plants may only have been given a quick wipe over before being sold to you and could have microscopic eggs or larvae deep in the leaf axils. Be aware that if sprayed, or even thoroughly scrubbed, your new plants will be vulnerable to sunlight.

Do You Want That Buggy Plant? - Any obvious flyspeck scale are only the adult females. The rest of the population are microscopic and could be well hidden. If a plant has been wiped down before sale, look for small spots of lighter colour where the insects have been feeding. You may be told that the scale are dead. In this case, remove one insect, place it on top of one thumb nail, turn the other thumb upside down and flatten the insect between both nails. Dead scale will be dry and powdery. If there are enough dead flyspeck scale to be obvious, be wary of a possible surviving breeding population.
 
QUARANTINE all new plants - I would not consider six months to be excessive. Keep your new plants as far away from your own as possible and do not touch or brush against them before visiting your own. I visited the shadehouse of a New South Wales Bromeliad Society member two years ago and I saw no sign of flyspeck scale EXCEPT on a newly acquired bromeliad from Queensland--unfortunately in the same shadehouse, though about a metre from other plants. At the last New South Wales show, at least 80% of this member’s plants were rejected and removed by the president of the society for having flyspeck scale.

Help Other People Recognise Flyspeck Scale - Be diplomatic. This is a relatively new bug in Australia. They might think that the scale are caterpillar eggs (everyone likes butterflies). Some bromeliads entered in the Royal Show, sitting right next to mine had flyspeck scale, which even the judges had not noticed.- - Make up a fun recognition kit. Glue poppy seeds to a leaf or paper, to a label, a pot edge, or a tray, even to mesh shelving. Spray them with varnish to look shiny if you like. Look at them in various lighting and angles. Discuss the almost perfect ball shape. Buy cheap reading glasses from a discount shop if necessary. If you cannot feel the raised convex shape of the poppy seed, lick your finger and you will find it to be more sensitive.

In conclusion, SPREAD THE WORD, NOT FLYSPECK SCALE!
 
All the best, Nev.
 
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Kayleen C
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« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2016, 23:32:17 »

I have no flyspeck in the shadehouses the scale I mean is the white one. Seems to love varigated and dark coloured broms. I can have 6 broms on the bench and one will have scale and the others are clear.
I think a lot of it comes back to breeding as I never see it on species so am wondering if some plants get weaker by crossing.
I spray all my plants and keep separate for a while when I buy them in case of flyspeck. I do have flyspeck on plants in the garden as the clumps get thick with no air circulation. Every so often I thin and spray.
Yes, I know not to scrape flyspeck. If I do to check, I only do the one then spray.
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« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2016, 01:47:26 »

Nev, some great images of your garden. certainly shows up ours which in the main is more of a collection but we are gradually changing that and trying to use broms best suited to a particular location. It still difficult for me to work out where I have put what and generally have to hunt all over each time I need to check on a particular plant.

Kayleen, as I have mentioned before, 50% meths, 50% water mix, soaked in a cloth then rub down all the effected leaves or alternative spray them and leave for half a day then hose them out. Scale will simply fall off. Plant survived with no ill effects except for the scale damage.

Cheers John.
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Kayleen C
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« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2016, 12:51:40 »

Will give that a go. Thanks.
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