MILDEW: First appeared in our area in the early 1990’s. This is an imported disease originating in
the British Isles and first appeared on the east coast of the. A quarantine was put in place to help stop the spread
west. East Coast commercial growers were told not to sell susceptible varieties or affected products west of the Rocky
Mountains. Rhody Mildew entered the Pacific Northwest most likely via a home gardener moving an affected plant into the area. This
mildew has found a happy home in our maritime climate with plenty of host (Rhodys) available.
Natural controls are not in place here to fight this imported problem. The most susceptible Rhody varieties
seem to be the hybrids; Unique being the “Poster Child” of this disease. Lady Chamberlain and large leafed
hybrids are also highly susceptible. The future for our area’s susceptible variety rhodys is bleak. Rhodys
treated regularly with a fungicide are holding their own. Most native varieties seem to be unaffected. A resistant
list has not been compiled yet for our area.
Topical spraying of the leaves helps to treat or reduce the symptoms of the disease. Repetition of treatment seems to
be more important than what material is used to spray. General disease management principles apply such as, improving
airflow and picking up & disposing of the diseased leaves. As always with any plant suffering from a disease or insect
attack, keep all other stresses to the plant at bay. Plants stressed by parasitic diseases that we cannot protect them
from are in need of supplemental care. Mildew itself may cause the death of a plant that has been infected for many years. However,
a plant stressed by mildew that is allowed to become drought stressed is doomed.
home gardener can do quite a bit for a Rhody (and other shrubs with surface roots) with fertilizer applied to the soils surface
and or mulching program. However, a stressed plant calls for a more advanced method of feeding. Sound Solutions
offers the most scientifically advanced fertilization program. Custom blended fertilizers with organic additives and
beneficial mycorrhizal fungi are available by request for stressed plants. We deliver the fertilizer deep into the soil
with a high-pressure injection method.
RHODY LACEBUG: The
Lacebug eats by sucking the juice from the underside of the leaf. Damage is visible on top of the leaf by small chlorotic/yellow
specks. Under the leaf, you can find the Lacebug with small black/brown tar like spots, which are the waste (fecal material)
CONTROL: Rhodys in the direct sun are
the only plants affected by this pest. Too much sun stresses the Rhody and makes it a target for this warm temperature
bug. Plant your Rhodys out of the direct sun. Move an already affected Rhody into a shadier location. If this
is not possible, contact sprays (soaps, oils, botanicals) can be directed to the undersides of the leaves for superior control. A
strong rinse under the leaves from the hose will dislocate the pest and persistent rinsing can result in good control. Sound
Solutions offers extra spraying in the spring and summer to target this pest.
ROOT WEEVIL: The adult weevil is the one that notches the leaves of thin leafed plants. The weevil eats
by slipping the leaf in the sides of its weevil jaws, notching only the edges of the leaves. Weevil jaws do not open
very far so only thin leaved plants can fit into the adult weevils mouth. The adult weevil is a nocturnal or nighttime
feeder so you will not see him, only the notching damage left behind. Hiding in the soil during the day, the weevil loves
dry soils, ground covers and beauty bark to hide in from the heat of the day. This adult is a very hard-shelled teardrop
shaped gray weevil with a large slender nose. Due to its hard shell protection, the adult weevil is not affected by even
the most toxic contact pesticides.
during the larval stage. This insect lies below the effected plant living in the soil and eating the roots of the plant. During
the larval stage, the bug eats a lot of food to complete it metamorphosis into an adult weevil.
BENEFICIAL NEMATODES: These are the natural control for this pest. Beneficial
nematodes are present in most garden soils but not in numbers high enough to offer control of the weevil. Sound Solutions
buys the beneficial nematodes from an insectuary and stores them at the right temperature until needed. When needed the
nematodes are injected into the soil around the effected plant and left to do their work.
MULCH: A moist environment is needed to keep your nematodes healthy and migrating
through the soil eating Root Weevil Larva. Organic mulch is the best way to keep the area moist and deter the weevil
from the area. Adult Root weevil will not hide in a moist environment via organic, compost or mulch.