[NAFEX] brown marmorated stinkbug and blueberry pH
alandhaigh at gmail.com
Sat Apr 2 14:34:31 EDT 2011
Don, thanks for your concern. My comments about the brown marmorated
stinkbug were not based on experience but on an article I read in Good Fruit
that was extremely alarming. Pyrethroids are quite toxic to these beasts
from hell but you have to hit them during application. They are capable of
landing on sprayed fruit, penetrating the skin (and your bags) without
encountering enough toxin to be stopped. To make matters worse, unlike our
previous bugs of stink, they don't rely on broad leaf weeds as an
alternative food source but function quite happily on many forest species
like maple trees. You kill the ones on your trees and a new platoon arrives
from nearby trees to fill the void.
I'm somewhat heartened by Scott's suggestion that Surround seems to repel
them, although I'm surprised that he's ahead of the researchers on that one-
at least no mention was made in the article I read. I do highly respect
Scott's skills of observation, however.
Anything I may have said concerning stinkbugs that was from first hand
experience was the common green stinkbug which was epidemic at my site for
the first time last year. That may also be a good sign- maybe in years not
too warm and dry the stinkbugs including the BMS won't be so devastating.
Last year they severely damaged much of my peach crop some of my apples and
pears but didn't touch any of my plums.
About blueberry pH, I am one who has stated that the need for very acidic
soil is highly exaggerated in the literature for BB's- well maybe not
exaggerated so much as just partially correct. I've observed very healthy
and productive plants of many varieties thriving in a pH in the low 6's when
growing in highly organic soil and mulched. This has been at 2 or 3 sites
and others here have spoken of healthy plants in soil all the way up to 7.
My theory, which probably isn't worth much, is that mulched blueberries
exploit the interface of soil and mulch where acids leach from the
decomposing mulch and free adequate iron for plants to thrive. Sure would
be an easy research project for a grad student.
That said, I still use sulfur on plants I manage to keep the pH in the low
5's or so. More importantly, as Ginda stated. blueberries are poor
competitors for water and need to establish without much interference from
weeds or even trees. Irrigation is more than helpful as is removing all
flowers until plants are well established.
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