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The DeKalb Extension Garden Patch

The Great Southern Brood - Much Ado About Nothing?

Much Ado About Nothing? The 13-year cicadas (brood XIX) are dying now and probably will be completely gone by Memorial Day. Almost 100 Georgia counties have had no indication of "the Great Southern Brood." If anyone has seen them in DeKalb please let us know. Our county didn’t report any at all!

And check back next week for information on a new bug in the area. We saw them for the first time last year on our pole beans at the Community Garden, and they seem to be spreading rapidly in the Southeast – the kudzu bug. Really!  But unfortunately they don’t seem to have much effect on kudzu.

Answers to your questions - thanks to Gary Peiffer, DeKalb County Extension Agent:

What are the active red and black bugs that keep crawling out of my mulch and why are they there?

These are most likely boxelder bugs that feed on the leaves of maple trees.  They are nuisance pests that suck sap out of leaves but cause very little damage to the trees or anything else. The bugs can be difficult to control but most common pesticides labeled for ornamental insects/outdoors will do the job. To treat them effectively , apply your pesticides around the base of your maple trees (where they feed) and thoroughly drench the mulched areas underneath where they reside and multiply.

Many of my broadleaf evergreens, especially the magnolias, are losing lots of yellow leaves. Are my plants dying or what is going on?

Evergreens are green year round but at certain times of the year they shed their older, mature leaves, which yellow and drop off. While this is happening they also are pushing out brand new growth at their tips. If you think the new growth is too small and the plant is too thin, then the plant also maybe very stressed and you should determine why it is in that condition. Keep in mind we had very hot temperatures and very dry weather for several months last year before we went into a winter that had wide temperature extremes. Give your larger plants extra care this year with a nice layer of mulch on their roots and supply extra water with soaker hoses throughout the hot, dry summer days.

Questions for us?  Add them to the Comments section - or email Averil at abonsall@dekalbcountyga.gov - or call the Master Gardener Help Desk at 404-298-4080

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