, Newburyport, MA

July 3, 2013

Tim's Tips: With heat comes insects

Tim's Tips
Tim Lamprey

---- — July has arrived, but the hot and humid weather has felt like July for a few weeks. Come on, summer polar air!

The heat and humidity have given rise to a huge outbreak of insects in our gardens. Earwigs are eating away at all kinds of plants. Over the past weekend, I lost count of how many customers came into the store with leaf samples from holly bushes. The holly leaves were covered with scale. Rosebushes have had trouble with caterpillars eating the leaves.

The list could go on and on. You may not like being out in the hot weather, but you need to check your plants for signs of insect damage. If you can catch a problem early, you can treat your plants and prevent major damage.

Hot and humid weather can also give rise to fungus diseases on your plants. Over the weekend, there were many customers who brought in leaf samples that showed early signs of fungus diseases. One leaf sample showed signs of powdery mildew on a squash plant. It seems early in the season for this disease to show up on squash leaves. The important thing is that you check your plants and begin treatment if you see signs of fungus diseases.

There are some plants that you can be sure will develop fungus diseases when we have hot and humid weather. If you have tall phlox, bee balm, verbena, cucumber, squash and rosebushes, to name a few, you want to head off the start of diseases. There is an organic spray that you can use to prevent diseases from attacking your plants. It is called Serenade and is sprayed onto the leaves of the plant. We have been selling it at the store for several years, and it has proved effective at preventing diseases on plants.

On Sunday, we had numerous people tell us that they have found Japanese beetles on their plants. This beetle can destroy leaves on your plants very quickly. If you spray your plants with a product containing neem, it will not only kill the Japanese beetles, it also acts as a repellent to keep them away.

Don’t forget to get those beetle traps set up ASAP!

Well, that’s all for this week. I hope you have a happy Fourth of July.

I’ll talk to you again next week.


Tim Lamprey is the owner of Harbor Garden Center on Route 1 in Salisbury. His website is Do you have questions for Tim? Send them to, and he will answer them in upcoming columns.