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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Sea Buckthorn and Insect Pests

When I first began looking into Sea Buckthorn (a number of years ago now), one of the attributes of the plant was that it was not bothered by pests.  I have previously mentioned a few types of caterpillars and June Bugs like to snack on Sea Buckthorn leaves.  I have another one or two worth talking about.  It may not be surprising since it is related to the June Bug.  Yes, it is the Japanese Beetle.  
My field is located in a very remote location and I am surprised to see these here (basically in the woods).  The tall grass around the plants may have created a good habitat for the bugs.

I needed something to cut the field grass and a sickle bar mower was the best choice.  

This is a great machine.  A sickle bar was the best choice on this still uneven, rocky terrain. 

I worked very well.  Some of the grass was taller than the Sea Buckthorn plants (I hadn't been to the farm in about 3 weeks.) 

What a difference a year makes.  Above, this year, below last year.

Back to the bugs.......
This was an especially healthy grasshopper.

There were a number of different species or maybe just ages of the same species.  Some were greenish and some were reddish.  I do not have pictures, they were faster than me.

There were some good bugs too.  This ladybug on Sea Buckthorn leaf is very welcome to stay.  As is....
......this Orb Weaver Spider.  

The Sea Buckthorn plants have been in the ground for a full two months.  To review, they were bare root plants and I dipped the roots into a polymer gel to help retain water around them and give them an extra boost of beneficial microbes. Here is the package label for the root dip if you are interested in the details. Click here for package label.   Since then they have been on their own, the weather has been wet and hot for the majority of those two months.  If I were able to have been there I would have cut the grass sooner to minimize the insect damage and potential shading of the plants.  
Many of the plants look like this.  This is a near perfect Sea Buckthorn seedling in the field.
This is another happy future Seaberry maker.....
Here are more Japanese Beetles feeding on Hippophae Rhamnoides.  I have hand picked many and have observed a wild turkey patrolling the field eating both grasshoppers and jumping to reach Japanese Beetles.
Older Japanese Beetle damage

Very fresh chews from Japanese Beetle on Sea Buckthorn

Even though there is damage, it isn't as extensive as you would find on a green bean plant in terms of biomass eaten.
I never witnessed a grasshopper actively eating on a Sea Buckthorn leaf.  This damage was done either by a grasshopper or browsing from a moose.  My bet is grasshopper damage.  

My friend the beetle and grasshopper eater.  Hope it brings friends to help.

Overall things are looking good.

sometimes even beautiful.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Tom, I thought to mention that we have japanese beetles here at Teal Farm, and they do suck on the berries, but leave most untouched. One obvious observation that you likely know of, is that when you plant a monoculture, the insect predation is much worse. This is a good argument, in my opinion, for interplanting seaberry with other bearing crops, to take advantage of the synergies they provide (ie nitrogen fixation, as a fertilizer for surrounding crops), as well as the predator confusion created by a polyculture. Thanks for your good work. Melissa at Vermont Seaberry Company