Warning: Japanese Beetles can damage your Landscaping

Well, just when you thought it was safe to go out into the garden again….Wham!! Mother Nature delivers more bad news. Not only is it so hot and dry that prickly pear cactus is beginning to look like our #1 foundation plant, but now Japanese Beetles have found their way to the Kansas City area.

For decades a plague of East coast gardens, Japanese Beetles traditionally have not been a problem for local enthusiasts. In the ‘70’s and ‘80’s, local landscapers heard horror stories of Japanese Beetles consuming trees, shrubs, and lawns, house by house, block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood; fortunately for us, we had only to worry about Elm leaf beetle or sod webworm.

Not anymore!! In the course of recent routine landscape inspections, we have found Japanese Beetle feeding (voraciously I might add) on trees, shrubs, and flowers. The adult beetles are smaller than June bugs and are brightly colored with metallic green and blue bodies. They tend to be found in large numbers, clustered on plants, munching away–and this is why they are such a problem–large numbers! Japanese Beetles multiply quickly and are prolific; while examining a wisteria bloom recently, we found 20 or so beetles feeding on a single flower! At that rate, gardeners realize it doesn’t take long for this new alien to eat everything in the garden. So, a vigilant attitude is vital.

While you are out in the garden watering your plants, both new and established (hint! hint!), examine your plants for holes in leaves, skeletonized leaves, or for the brightly colored bugs. Our friend Larry Ryan of Ryan Lawn and Tree tells me they have observed that Japanese Beetles like purple or burgundy colored flowers and foliage, so pay particular attention to these items in the garden. The insect is relatively easy to kill if you act quickly before large numbers of them develop, so due diligence is recommended. If you think you have this little beast in your garden but are unsure, call us at Greenleaf and we will be glad to come by and help diagnose and recommend a course of action.

Remember, if you are traveling on vacation this summer, Greenleaf can help with watering as well as inspections of your garden or landscaping. We are your source for quality garden maintenance, so please give us a call.

Contributing editor: Don Archer, Don Archer Designs in partnership with Greenleaf Garden Services