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Wrapping Shrubs in Muslin?

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Wrapping Shrubs in Muslin?

Postby Elena Zimmerman » Jun 04, 2012 10:52 am

I wrapped my first currant shrub in tulle cloth to prevent fruit fly attacks, but even after I shook the shrub there were some insects caught under the cloth. I sprayed with hot pepper-garlic spray before applying the cloth and over the cloth, but I am paranoid that I locked some miscreants in with my precious berries & they are gonna live happily and multiply and spoil my crop for the 7th or whatever time? Is that Okay to do it, or do I need to somehow get rid of all insect life before wrapping the shrub? How do I do it?
Gardening in Calgary, AB, Zone 3, Chinook conditions
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Re: Wrapping Shrubs in Muslin?

Postby OGrubber » Jun 14, 2012 11:16 am

Hi Elena,
I have currants and gooseberries, but haven't had the problems you are having so I did some reading on the fruitflies.
I think you've mentioned before that it is fruit flies that are causing you all the problems, yes?
According to my reference books, the fruit fly larvae leave the fruit to pupate in the soil after the fruit drops. If you haven't been diligent about cleaning up spoiled fruit you could easily be housing next years problems in the soil around your shrubs.
I hope your shrub covers get you some unspoiled fruit this year, but I would consider planting a living ground cover around the base of your shrubs. That'll encourage ground beetles and rove beetles to live there - they eat fly pupae.
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Re: Wrapping Shrubs in Muslin?

Postby Elena Zimmerman » Jun 18, 2012 1:07 pm

I clean up everything diligently from under the currants.

I also heavily pruned last year to be able to easier spray in the spring. For all the good it did... I dunno how, but the shrubs doubled in size this spring ???? I have not have this problem on gooseberries, just currants. My mom in BC has no currant fruit flies either. It seems to be a prairie thing.

I planted marigolds and calendulas this year around the currants, but they are coming up too late to scare away the flies. Garlic is planted around as well, and looks mighty. I started a border from seidums to keep the edge of the bed nice and crisp, what other groundcover can I try to attract the beetles? I was also thinking about purchasing nematoids. Will they munch on larvae in the soil, do you know? I have gazillions ladybugs, dragonflies and every sort of other insect i can think off.

The muslin got ripped off during the storms last week, and I did not replace it, because I did not get access to picking the leaves that are impacted by the bugs that cause red on the leaves. I kind of like teh access to the shrub.

I am spraying 1-ce a week with sevrin now, after initial application of hot garlic and oil.

This year is going be the last one, I think, if the crop gets spoiled again. The shrubs are loaded with fruit, it will be heartbreak to have to pick and dump this crop :(
Gardening in Calgary, AB, Zone 3, Chinook conditions
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Re: Wrapping Shrubs in Muslin?

Postby Eeyore » Jun 18, 2012 1:12 pm

I agree with Inge, you need to keep the fruit flies from pupating. Cover the ground beneath the shrub with something to prevent them from laying eggs there. I know that placing rocks on top of the soil in my houseplants keeps fungus gnats at bay so it should work around your shrubs.
Lyn
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Re: Wrapping Shrubs in Muslin?

Postby Elena Zimmerman » Jun 18, 2012 1:15 pm

This article:

http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department ... ll/prm2544

says that it is ineffective against the currant fruit fly :(

The use of plastic mulch will likely result in the larvae burrowing right at the base of the plant or at the edge of the plastic. Adults emerge from the ground about mid-May to early June the next year. Time of emergence is dependant upon the type of soil and ground cover. In one study conducted in Maine, emergence was delayed up to 8 days in soil covered with manure.


I am going to apply a thick layer of talc on the ground around the currants to see if I can smother the beasts.

I will also pin the black plastic under shrubs to start collecting the infested berries.
Gardening in Calgary, AB, Zone 3, Chinook conditions
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Re: Wrapping Shrubs in Muslin?

Postby Mervyn » Jun 18, 2012 6:29 pm

Have you tried placing some FF traps ?
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Re: Wrapping Shrubs in Muslin?

Postby OGrubber » Jun 20, 2012 9:18 am

Just had a thought Elena;
Everyone swears by the ammonia soil drench in early spring for slugs.... I've never done this myself but, I'm wondering if that might not take care of the earliest onslaught. I just don't know how that will affect the bushes [will they tolerate it or cause them to die off?] and/or how it will affect the soils life...
As to living ground cover, anything will do as long as it's perennial. You could bring your sedum up to the base of the bushes or use a creeping thyme, or anything else that you like the looks of.
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Re: Wrapping Shrubs in Muslin?

Postby Elena Zimmerman » Jun 22, 2012 9:16 am

I wanted to put the black plastic down, but there are so many marigolds coming up this year, and I saw few impacted berries already, and the branches are too low to comfortably do the pinning, Just awkward. :( I have had a lot of mulch around my old shrubs.

I think I am going to get rid of them. There is just no winning!

Obviously, the other part of me wants to plant seidums all over the bed (gods know, I have enough seidums and to spare), and see if that keeps lavrae from reaching the ground.

The thing though, the amount of berries on the bushes is UNBELIEVABLE, it is such a great crop, every year, if not for the damage. ARGH!

I will look into ammonia drench. It is a very localized bed, so can't kill anything but the currants!
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