White Oak Studio Designs
White Oak Studio Designs
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  • Pullman, MI
Asked on Jul 9, 2013

Japanese Beatles on Climbing Hydragnea

LouAnn EdelElaine SimmonsWhite Oak Studio Designs
+12

Answered

I just planted a beautiful climbing hydrangea and it is being attacked by Japanese Beatles. We are totally organic on our property so that means no chemicals....I've read about Insecticidal Soap (IS.) I have some from a few years back....does IS lost its potency after it get a bit old? My IS was in the pole barn all winter and might have frozen....Today I sprayed the "sick" plant using a spray of essential oils....a test. My other two hydrangeas (from the same nursery/same mother plant) on the other side of my property are fine...The two that are just fine much more airflow" around them and I wonder if this is making a difference? Do climbing hydrangea need a lot of airflow to stay healthy?
These climbing hydrangeas have been in this spot about 5 years and are doing fine. Note, they have a lot of airflow.
These climbing hydrangeas have been in this spot about 5 years and are doing fine. Note, they have a lot of airflow.
15 answers
  • Douglas Hunt
    on Jul 10, 2013

    I think good air circulation help plants in general, but I had a large climbing hydrangea on my former house and it basically didn't get any in that sheltered location and it was robustly healthy. Nor did I ever see a Japanese beetle on it, although they certainly liked my rugosa roses. The best way to deal with Japanese beetles, however, is simply to go around in the morning or early evening when they're lethargic and just tap them into a carton of soapy water. Insecticidal soaps have a very short residual action period and probably would have no effect on your beetles unless you actually spray them directly.

  • Elaine Simmons
    on Jul 11, 2013

    Wow, never had the Japanese beetles go after my climber, only bothered the roses. My climber is now 7 years old and I am moving, now that it finally gets a lot of blooms.

  • Sherrie
    on Jul 11, 2013

    This year they are going to be tons of them. They attack mine also. My neighbors pick theirs off during the day they will find one big bushy plant and hide there. I killed as many as I could. They swarm and if you have ever seen them swarm it is frightening. My neighbor uses a bucket of water and puts them in that. I use dust. They will kill everything in sight. And they are a Hugh problem. If you find a natural solution please let me know also.

  • White Oak Studio Designs
    on Jul 11, 2013

    I "tested" essential oil and water in a spray bottle this week. I misted the hydrangea shrub several times over a period of two days. This morning I went out to pick off the beetles and drown them (sorry beatles!) and found only two or three. It "appears" to me that the oil is making a difference. I mixed the oil and water a few years ago to spray at my old (negative) workplace improve the atmosphere so I don't remember which oil I used. Apparently it does not make a difference. I used a small mister, maybe 1/2 to 3/4 cup water and maybe 8-10 drop of essential oil. Worth a try!!

  • White Oak Studio Designs
    on Jul 11, 2013

    Another reader also suggested garlic, green pepper tea (using vinegar.) To see more: http://www.seasonedhomemaker.com/2013/07/garlic-pepper-tea-a-natural-insect-repellent.html

  • Catherine Smith
    on Jul 11, 2013

    If you want to get rid of your Japanese beetle problem, you have to eliminate the source which are the grubs that are in your lawn. You can use Milky Spore for long term and Garden Alive's beneficial nematodes for short term. Takes some time, but if you can get your neighbor's to join you in this little grub elimination party, both of you will benefit in the long term, by making both sites as grub free as possible.

  • White Oak Studio Designs
    on Jul 11, 2013

    Thanks for contributing that info. into the thread. This might be beneficial for others to know. I've know others who have used Milk Spore....but we have 2 1/2 rural acres, have dogs that have the run of our property and are on a retirees budget so its not likely we can manage that. My neighbors are not in a financial position to put anything down on their lawns either...the average annual income in my township is $21,000. Also, to be perfectly honest with you, I do not trust putting that product into the ground and into my groundwater. We are told it is "safe" but we were ALSO told that other products were safe only to find out 15-20 years later they are not. I am just not willing to risk it myself. I plan to get more chickens next spring and they will eat the bugs too.

  • Sandy Harmon
    on Jul 11, 2013

    As soon as I see the beetles I pour on a bucket of soapy water (Dawn dishwashing liquid) leaving the suds on the leaves. It doesn't hurt the hostas that I use it on and it has worked for me for the past 2 years.

  • LouAnn Edel
    on Jul 11, 2013

    I have a climbing hydrangea and was wondering how to get a cutting or two to root so I can start them elsewhere. For several different years, I tried with no luck. What's the secret?

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Jul 12, 2013

    LouAnn, according to the Royal Horticultural Society, climbing hydrangeas are best propagated by layering: http://apps.rhs.org.uk/advicesearch/profile.aspx?PID=358 You'll have a better chance of getting insights from other Hometalk members, however, if you post your question as a new question using the red "post & ask" button at the top of the page.

  • Tanya Peterson Felsheim
    on Jul 15, 2013

    I bought these 2 climging hydrangea's a few months ago and they are doing NOTHING. They came from a climate that was cooler than ours and a lot more humid...is that the key to why mine aren't doing very well? or is it just my Black thumb? These were very tall already and had one large stem full of greenery....

  • White Oak Studio Designs
    on Jul 15, 2013

    In my experience JH take a bit of time to get going. The one's in my picture above are at about 5 to 6 years growth. What about your soil? Is it healthy, loamy and amended with lots of organic matter? I spend a lot of energy and time getting my soil ready before I ever plant. (I use no Miracle Grow or chemicals to fertilize my flowers just homemade compost and bark chips.)

  • White Oak Studio Designs
    on Jul 15, 2013

    Opps, I also meant to ask what is the lighting conditions for your JH. They like part sun and part shade and I read that they prefer morning light and afternoon shade when the sun and day is at its hottest point. Amend your soil if you can, water and give them some time to grow their roots and then they should green up for you. This may also be a very young start and take longer to grow than normal if that is the case.

  • Elaine Simmons
    on Jul 15, 2013

    This is my climber before it bloomed this year. It is seven years old and still does not get a lot of blooms........but it might be in too much shade to do well. It is about 20 feet high and Donna is right, they are very slow growing.

    japanese beatles on climbing hydragnea, flowers, gardening, hydrangea, This is my climbing hydrangea that is 7 years old This was taken before it bloomed this year
  • LouAnn Edel
    on Jul 22, 2013

    Thank you Doug. I'm surprised at myself for not thinking of doing this as I have used this method a couple of different times for other plants. Thanks for the reminder suggestion. I will be trying it this way in the fall.

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