How To Use Your Pump Sprayer To Reach Japanese Beetles In A Tall Crape Myrtle


I had three calls today to let me know that the Japanese beetles had made their appearance. The last message was a text from my good friend Randolph who wanted to know how to get the pesky beetles that were eating up his crape myrtles.

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Japanese beetles in the Southern U.S can wreak havoc on plants such as roses and Crape myrtles. They don’t stay around long but they eat a lot

I started to explain the process to him but then I decided to get my friend Johntheplantman to write an article with pictures. Here’s how you do it.

Ace Hardware sold me a sprayer for around ten dollars. That’s reasonable and it serves my purposes. Here it is:

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An inexpensive pump sprayer. Always clean and rinse the sprayer before using it on plants. Be careful

The most effectivechemical I have found for these beetles is Liquid Sevin, which is an easy to spray version of the old fashioned Sevin dust that has been used by farmers and gardeners for many years. Liquid Sevin is one of the safest insecticides on the market, but be sure to wear eye and face protection when applying it.

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Liquid Sevin is a relatively safe insecticide and it works on the beetles. Be sure to wear safety glasses and face protection.

Most, but not all, sprayers have an adjustable nozzle similar to the one shown in the picture below. The expensive sprayers have a brass nozzle while some of the other sprayers have strange nozzles that won’t work. Here’s my nozzle:

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nozzle on cheap sprayer. tighten for wide spray, loosen for distance

The nozzle may be twisted to set a spray pattern. Here is a medium spray pattern

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A medium spray pattern

If you tighten the nozzle, the spray pattern becomes finer and wider.

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Tighten the nozzle to increase the fan

And if you loosen the nozzle the spray pattern will become more concentrated and will shoot for a greater distance. I used this spray pattern for a good picture but you may with to experiment and you will find that if it is set “just so,” it will look like a high-powered water gun and shoot 20 feet or more.

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Loosen the nozzle and experiment until you get a long, narrow stream. This will reach way up on the crape myrtle or other tall plants.

So mix the Liquid Sevin according to directions and set your sprayer. (Disclaimer: If You are against the use of this method of control, you may wish to get a Japanese beetle trap. If either of these procedures hurt your sensitivities in any way, I’m so sorry.)

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Plant a bonsai on a mountain side in a shallow dish

A friend gave my wife a beautiful small bonsai dish and then a few weeks later, the same friend presented me with a carefully-chosen small evergreen that was well shaped and only needed a touch up to become an excellent bonsai starter. The plant is chamaecyparis obtusa nana lutea

The dish was rather shallow and my friend suggested that I should get a deeper container for this beautiful (and expensive) plant. I decided to show off. Here are the pictures of me doing exactly that.

I like to use a good, porous potting soil for the process. I check out the plant to see how it will fit and to get a mental picture.

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I like to use a good, porous potting soil. The plant should like this just fine

I study the relationship of the plant to the container. I move it around and study the placement possibilities. The main rule I am following here is to “stay out of the center.” I get an idea of my direction with the project.

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Take lots of time studying the placement possibilities. Stay out of the center

Take the plant out of its container and study the root structure. This is the “soul of the plant” and sometimes that soul needs a bit of re-arranging. (I’m sure you can understand that).

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study the root ball to determine how you will modify it to fit the container

I carefully break up the root ball. Sometimes I have to use a hack saw or a knife to cut the bottom from the root ball but this one is easy. Pruning the roots of a plant adds strength to the plant by encouraging the remaining roots to branch out and develop more feeders.

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break up the bottom of the root ball so that it will fit in the container

After determining the placement of the plant, I place the soil around the root ball, packing it down firmly, and this gives me the basic shape for the “mountain.”

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Pile potting soil around the root ball and shape the mountain (sort of like with modelling clay)

I start to “build a mountainside” around the plant by adding well-chosen rocks which support the plant while they keep the soil in place. The rocks, in essence, increase the depth of the container in an attractive manner. At this point, I take care to make sure all roots are covered.

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continue to shape the mountain and add a rock or two if needed to hold the soil or stabilize the plant

Dekie and I keep a bucket of “neat rocks” that we have picked up here or there. Collecting rocks is fun. My next step in this project is to use a few of these to build “cliffs and mountainsides.” I make sure that everything fits tightly so it won’t fall out when the plant is moved.

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On a stable surface, pack the soil around the rocks and plant so that nothing moves.

I used to have to go to the aquarium department of a pet store to find the polished rocks, but I had spotted these flat, polished, black rocks in the Dollar Store one day. I bought them for just such an occasion as this. I start adding a stabilizing and attractive “ground cover” with the black rocks. As I work, I pack the soil over and over to make sure it will stand the test of time.

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add decorative roocks and perhaps a bit of gravel to paint a picture.

We cleaned off a prominent place on the patio for the mountain bonsai to live. After a couple of years of meditative pruning it should be a masterpiece.

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The mountain bonsai looks good enough to earn a place of prominence.

And here’s a top view

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We named it “Betty.”


Other articles that pertain to this subject:

The basics of pruning-Pruning as an art form

A few years ago Dekie and I visited a bonsai show in Nashville at the Cheekwood gardens Here’s the story

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