Pests and Diseases by Ray Broughton

For his annual lecture Ray Broughton, our Club President, chose as his subject Pests and Diseases. Members had been asked to bring examples which Ray studied with a high powered microscope, identified, and advised treatment. Such was the strength and clarity of the special microscope that images, transferred simultaneously to a large screen, were presented with sharp focus, magnification and delineation.

Some of the several examples:- Philadelphus had aphids which in turn had fleas. The aphids shed their skins, to be seen lying beside them. Rhododendrons had a nutrient deficiency, so needed more acid ie ericaceous soil. Viburnum is prone to problems. Samples had stem mildew, which kills. The Viburnum beetle is in the soil; in March dig over the soil and spray with SB Plant Invigorator. A Tomato leaf was wilting and covered with whitefly eggs. Spray with Invigorator. Mulberry had a fungus: the buds will die, but new buds will develop from the base. Don not let it dry out; be patient!

Spinach leaf also had a fungus so needed Invigorator to destroy the eggs. Apple sample had downy mildew. Pyracantha had rust. Plum had Scab: spiders must be dealt with, as they will suck out the fruit, as do thrips. Ceanothus had spiders. Rose Sawfly: next Spring look out for young shoots that are affected, and spray. Another Rose sample had Scale so prune hard. Hollyhocks will always get rust. Apple blossom wilt: cut it out. Viburnum spot comes from a Berberis planted nearby and there is nothing to do. Cornus: if affected, hard prune and feed with Vitax Q4. Plum affected by leaf curl aphid looks terrible, but will recover. Lichen: don’t worry about it. Woodlice are harmless. Lavender had Cuckoo Spit. An apple leaf had sawfly. A lily had lily beetle. A pear had Pear Scab. A Spinach leaf had leaf miner. Crab apple and quince had spiders.

Recurring advice was to take early action, especially in Spring, hosing deciduous plants around the previously affected subjects, judicious pruning and applying SB Plant Invigorator. It is organic and environmentally friendly, being a pesticide and a growth stimulant.

This was an interesting and informative presentation by Ray Broughton, who always manages to combine erudition with humour.