En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - April 08, 2009

From: Port Monmouth, NJ
Region: Northeast
Topic: Non-Natives, Pests
Title: Japanese beetles in Port Monmouth, NJ
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have searched your web-site in the hopes of not repeating or bothering you with a question not in your field. I am hoping you can help me. I live in Port Monmouth, New Jersey. Last year many of my flowering plants and trees, roses, plum trees, impatiens, etc were consumed by Japanese beetles. I did the whole soapy water deterrent, beetles bags, and self plucking but still dealt with them all summer. I have heard through some research that these beetles have "scouts" that come out somewhat early to find a good location and also worry their larvae is in my soil. Is there anything you could tell me to deter them or ward them off if and when they do arrive?? I am desperate to help the garden I love and have worked so hard for. Thank you in advance.

ANSWER:

Actually, that's not in our field, as we are gardeners, not entomologists. And, many of the plants you list are non-native to North America and/or to your area. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the care, preservation and propagation of plants native to North America and to the area in which they are being grown.

However, we do sympathize with your problem with the Japanese beetle. About all we can do (since you seem to have tried most of the solutions we might offer), is try to find you a source that hopefully will  have better information than we do. In connection with localized gardening and especially pests and diseases, we always recommend you start with your nearest university extension program. In this case, the Rutgers University New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, when we searched on that subject, brought up websites both in Ocean County and in Monmouth County. Both sites have websites with contact information and lawn and garden sections, even access to Master Gardeners. We think it's safe to say that if you have Japanese beetles, so do a lot of the people living in your area. 

In fact, we found a University of Kentucky Entomology site Japanese Beetles in the Urban Landscape that said "The Japanese beetle is probably the most devastating pest of urban landscape plants in the Eastern United States." That also helps to explain why we don't know anything about them; we do have pests in Texas, but at least not that. Anyway, we learned that both the larvae (grubs) in the soil over-wintering and the beetles that emerge when the weather begins to warm are threats to your plants. Please read the entire article, as it has a lot of information on the beetle life cycle and controls. We at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center recommend neither for nor against the use of pesticides, and urge you to seek trained professional advice if you feel you must go the pesticide route to protect your garden. 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Is Crape Myrtle Native?
July 20, 2015 - Hello, I live in Frisco, TX. Can you tell me is there any Crape Myrtle which is native to Frisco, TX.
view the full question and answer

Care for non-native, invasive Bauhinia variegata
March 03, 2006 - I live in Fellsmere just south of Melbourne and we have about 5 orchid trees on our property; one is fairly tall, about 20 ft, and the others are about 6 ft tall. My smaller ones have several air p...
view the full question and answer

Distribution of Non-Native Royal Empress Tree
August 23, 2007 - I was wondering if you could give me the statistics for the Royal Empress Tree in the Long Island area. I have two and have read numerous articles online regarding them being invasive through the root...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native orchid
January 26, 2009 - I have vanda sanderiana that has wrinkled and yellowing leaves.They are located outdoors, northeast section, plenty of morning direct light and still bright even when the sun is at 3:00 oclock.I water...
view the full question and answer

Alternatives to non-native, invasive Pampa grass
August 11, 2006 - Could you please tell me if Cortaderia Selloana is "zone 4" hardy? Also how to start Opuntia Humifusa from cuttings? Do I let them stand upright dry and with no soil until they form the callous? Ple...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center