Colonial Garden Club: Successful gardening ‘rooted’ in proper treatment of insects, disease

Jan. 31, 2013 @ 08:08 PM

Master gardener Phil Wilson spoke at the recent January meeting of the Colonial Garden Club at the home of Judy Parrish in Timberlake Estates.

Ever since coming to Henderson, Wilson has shared his extensive knowledge and training in horticulture and related fields with the Vance County Extension Service, helping to conduct soil tests, for example, to positively benefit local gardening, agriculture and forestry.

During the meeting, he said that fall was the best time to determine how to treat a particular plot of soil to affect its growth potential year-round. He also stressed the importance of recognizing disease agents or pathogens harmful to plants, such as insects or mites. Around 17,000 different insect species can be found in-state. Therefore, caution should be exercised in selecting herbicides or other treatments to avoid killing insects that are actually beneficial — lacewings, ground beetles, ladybird beetles, soldier beetles, parasitic wasps, praying mantis, stink bugs, paper wasps and hornets.

Furthermore, knowing which order (phylum) an insect belongs to provides vital information as to whether it’s a feeder, predator, scavenger or parasite. This information will in turn determine the type of treatment one should use for the plant.

He said that gardeners should exercise care in handling or inspecting certain insects, and that they should use a magnifying glass for those situations, considering that some insects are invisible to the naked eye.

After welcoming members, club president Carol Ann Franklin conducted the business session, including a report from club secretary Katherine Frazier. Then the club discussed plans for community activities in the upcoming months.

The devotion, a verbal college of “Golden Rules for the New Year,” was offered by Jane Baker, chaplain, followed by her reading of a “Jewish Blessing.”

Co-hostesses Judy Parrish and Vera Gatano served assorted fruits and sweets, chips and dips, Muscadine tea and soft drinks to attendees.