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

Clover Among the Bluebonnets in Round Mountain, Texas
April 13, 2012 - I have a beautiful yard of bluebonnets, but mixed in with them are a tall clover that is hiding the flower's beauty and a shorter plant with clover-like leaves that produces burrs. Pulling is not an...
view the full question and answer

Care for non-native Centipede grass
February 27, 2013 - My lawn is Centipede. I have created a new lawn area. Can and when should I seed/overseed my lawn? I have Rye in the new area.
view the full question and answer

Replacement for non-native St. Augustine in San Antonio
May 26, 2011 - I have a large oak tree on one side of my front yard. St. Augustine grass does not grow there because of the shade. What do you recommend as a replacement for the St. Augustine? I would like to send...
view the full question and answer

Removing faded flowers from plants in Georgetown, DE
July 28, 2012 - I bought a chamase rose quartz that was in bloom. now the buds are dead, should i remove them or just leave them on the plant. they wont just fall off. and the tips of the plant has new growth.
view the full question and answer

Is Hibiscus coccineus still considered native in Dallas, TX?
July 15, 2011 - Is Hibiscus coccineus still considered native?. I recently was told by someone with the Native Texas Plant Society that it was no longer thought to have crossed the Sabine naturally. Thoughts...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center