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Mavrik for Psyllids

April 29, 1990|Robert Smaus

Our copy editors weren't asleep, Mavrik is the properly spelled pesticide that has been found to control that bug with the odd but properly spelled name of psyllid.

In tests carried out by Ventura County environmental horticulturist Jim Downer and others, an expensive chemical named Mavrik (the chemical name is fluvalinate) was found to do a better job of controlling the eugenia psyllid than the often recommended Orthene, keeping populations down for eightweeks.

In addition, he discovered that the population of psyllids decreased dramatically for about eight weeks after pruning the hedge, as long as there was not another unpruned hedge close by that could reinfect the plants.

So, in combination, pruning and then spraying when psyllids returned in numbers, could control psyllids for 16 weeks, or about four months. After pruning it is suggested: "Spray only when necessary or not at all if some damage (such as pits and galls) can be tolerated. Do not spray if new growth is not anticipated in the near future."

The report concludes with this encouraging news: "It is likely that biological controls for the eugenia psyllid will emerge in California. Until that time, whole-hedge shearing and the careful use of a pesticide will provide excellent control of the eugenia psyllid."

Perennial Support

If you have ever visited an English garden in spring or early summer, before the big perennial borders bloom, you have noticed that their perennials get a lot of support. All sorts of contrivances are used to steady tall perennials that might otherwise flop or topple onto neighbors.

One of the more attractive is a product called Link-Stakes, simple L-shaped stakes with hooks and eyes that join together to makes a box or any other shape around the young perennial plant.

These are now available in this country through the mail order Kinsman Co., River Road, Point Pleasant, Pa. 18950. They come in heights from 12 to 50 inches, priced from $6.95 a dozen to $29.95--and elegant though expensive way to prop up perennials such as alstroemerias or tall Shasta daisies.

Fragrant Plants

At this time of the year, the air is full of the sweet scent of flowers. Apricots and apples, citrus, jasmine and the like can't help but be noticed. But, if you'd like more plants in your garden to be fragrant, look for a new book written by Californians, Rayford Clayton Reddell and Robert Galyean, called "Growing Fragrant Plants" (Harper & Row; $35.95).

Unlike many books on the subject, this one does justice to plants we can grow in California, from acacias to roses (the subject of the author's previous book). There is lots of useful information here, including the fact that the white sweet alyssum is the one that smells so good (like honey or fresh mown hay according the authors), not the red or purple. Or, the fact that modern roses can smell good as old roses. 'Fragrant Cloud,' they say "satisfies the piggiest of perfume fanciers."

Plants for Cutting

"A Cutting Garden For California" (B.B. Mackey Books; $8), by Pat Kite and Betty Mackey, is a reasonably priced book on plants that we can grow in California just to cut--for drying or for the vase.

It not only describes the plants but suggests their culture and includes information on cutting and preserving, including this useful formula for a floral preservative that will make flowers last longer in the vase: 1 teaspoon sugar and 2 teaspoons bleach in 4 cups of tepid water. The book is available from Capability's Books, 2379 Highway 46, Deer Park, Wis. 54007.

Saving Great Gardens

The Garden Conservancy is a new group formed to preserve fine gardens in the United States. It is an ambitious program, considering the fragile nature of gardens.

Their mission: "To preserve fine gardens beyond the mortality of their creators and their ephemeral natures, to fortify the gardener's artistic vision so that it may be shared with generations of gardeners yet to come."

To join or learn more about this new organization, write to the Garden Conservancy, Box 219, Main St., Cold Spring, N.Y., 10516. Gardens in California are already under consideration.

Plant Information

The Los Angeles State and County Arboretum can answer your plant questions. Its plant information service, staffed by volunteers, handles about 5,000 phone calls a year.

If the volunteers don't have the answer, they know where to look, or who to ask at the Arboretum (they are also looking for more volunteers). The hours are 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. weekdays, and the numbers are (213) 681-8411, or (818) 446-8251. --R.S.

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