WNY plants under attack by bugs, fungus and disease

Rainy, cool spring followed by hot, humid July is causing problems
Posted at 6:55 PM, Jul 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-23 06:57:41-04

HAMBURG, N.Y. (WKBW) — It has been a very challenging year with the weather after a rainy, cool spring suddenly switched to extreme hot, humid weather in July.

The combination is not good for local gardeners who are dealing with a variety of problems such as beetles, leaf disease and plant fungus.

According to Lockwood's Garden Center in Hamburg, the biggest problem is a tiny insect called a "four-lined plant bug" which is putting small holes and spots on many plant leaves.

The next biggest problem are fungal issues with plants due to the moisture.

Herbs and roses are very susceptible and there are fears that if weather conditions continue that it will cause tomato plants to develop blight - which can greatly decrease fruit output and kill tomato plants.

Flowers in your yard are not the only ones being affected.

The Davey Tree Expert Company said it is seeing problems with Japanese beetles, root rot, and leaf disease on many WNY trees.

What can you do about it?

For outdoor potted plants, there are chemical and organic sprays that can help with problem beetles.

Marge Vogel, at Lockwood's Garden Center, said to be cautious when using beetle bags or traps as they can attract more beetles than they kill.

Vogel recommends checking your plants everyday for beetles. Morning or evening are best. Flick the ones you find into a container of soapy water which will kill the insects - preventing them from getting away.

Andrew Cunniff, an arborist for The Davey Tree Expert Company, said if your tree leaves are showing any signs of browning, spots, curling or leaf-drop, those are indications that preventive treatments are necessary to help the tree.

Cunniff said treatments such as deep-root fertilizing are only around $125, while taking down a dead tree can run into thousands of dollars.

If your plants have developed fungal problems, make sure they are getting the proper airflow.

"Trim away some of the things around the plants if you can. Don't crowd your plants together in the first place," explained Marge Vogel at Lockwood's.

7 Eyewitness News Reporter Ed Reilly has more in the attached report.