Joe Pye weed queston

anita55(zone 6 NY)

Hello, I hope this doesn't post twice. i thought I posted it early this morning but either it never came through or I didn't really send it.

I notice that my Joe Pye Weed (first year in my garden and looking great) is beginning to be chewed a little. Should I spray Joe with insecticidal soap or are there beneficial insects that need to eat Joe to live? Please any information and advice would be great. Thanks.

Anita

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Iris GW

Unless you see something like japanese beetles, I would assume this could be native insects doing this. You are welcome to give them a blast with the hose to knock anything off, that is not harmful.

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hideglue

Hi Anita, I have four Joe Pye's of different cultivar and every year their foliage looks to be a bit devoured. The good news is that the nibbling on ours (and most likely yours) is by the native Great Spangled Fritillary caterpillars. Eupatorium's are a larval food for that species. More good news is that they don't completely ravish the foliage, and in no time after the newer flush of growth and the blooms that follow are as healthy as ever. So unless esh is correct about the Japanese Beetles, I wouldn't worry too much. Its why most of us use natives in the garden.

Here is a link that might be useful: Great Spangled Fritillary

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joepyeweed(5b IL)

My joepyeweed has holes in it from insects too. IT's perfectly normal. Part of having a natural garden, is the natural beauty of insect holes.

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MissMyGardens

My Joe Pye Weed has been decimated. First by small green cats which are not from spangled frittilary and now tiny little white things that hop when I try to wipe them off leaves.

Some "pest" is also eating leaves of Monarda but pattern isn't as lacy as on Joe Pye Weed.

The tiny little white things have migrated across the yard to Eupatorium Rugosum Chocolate.

I worry about blooming also when there's so much leaf damage. How do plants continue photosynthesis without enough leaves for process to flourish? Is there a point when leaf denuding prevents normal blooming?

This is first year gardening and Butterfly Garden was and is my largest garden with great care taken to plant natives...if rabbits, groundhogs and various pests don't decimate what's growing before Butterflies arrive for nectar and host plants. It's a memory garden for my late mother who loved Butterflies and I get upset every morning when I go out on my plant rounds and see more eaten by some bug/insect/critter.

The New England Aster has a grid ring around it I was moving up as it grew (was 3.5 feet) so it wouldn't flop when in bloom. Some critter (groundhog my guess) evidently used the ring to lean on while pulling over and snapping every stem so they could devour the leaves/stems.

Now I'm wondering if I have to replace NE Asters to get flowers for this Fall or will they have enough time for new growth to put out blooms this year? If not I'll go try to fine some more this week.

Fencing goes up this week. It won't keep out everything but I only have a few Gaillardia left and number of "uneaten" Cosmos are declining rapidly.

Why couldn't the critters have eaten something I can easily replace like the curly parsley, fennel or dill? I already have to go searching for natives larger than 3 inch pots by this time in season.

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terryr(z5a IL)

I "think" if you pack in enough native plants and keep out any weeds, the bugs aren't bad. If thistles or anything like are in there, they really seem to attract all sorts of ick bugs. This is what I mean..

Those are packed in there pretty tight and I don't need to worry much about "weeds". New England aster has never flopped for me. It's more mounding than anything.

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joepyeweed(5b IL)

The recent rain and wind didn't flop my NE aster, but it did make it pan out, where the stalks created a bowl like shape around the center, thus flattening some stuff around it. I trimmed several stalks back so it wouldn't smother some adjacent stuff.

I usually prune back the NE aster and JPW in a planting near the patio, they still get blooms in the fall. They get real tall and start leaning over the patio in the fall, so I've learned to cut them back in June.

The only plant I had that hadn't bloomed due to insect damage was some swamp milkweed was literally eaten down to just the stalks by monarch caterpillars. There were no leaves left and the plant didn't bloom. IT did grow back the following year, I was surprised.

But holes in the leaves haven't affected other plants that I have from blooming.

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terryr(z5a IL)

I think mine are all packed everywhere so tight, they don't flop. Squirrels in there can and sometimes do break the stems of joepyeweed, but it doesn't seem to affect it at all.

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MissMyGardens

I've got the Milkweed (Tuberos & Incarnata) specifically so the Monarch caterpillars can eat it. They don't seem to arrive here before bloom time but we'll see. I got 3 little ones from nursery yesterday and one is already blooming. I love the orange flowers on the Tuberosa.

I've never done this before so I hope all these plants that are listed as nectar/host plants actually draw in the butterflies.

I also put in some things that do double duty supposedly attracting Hummingbirds also. The only Hummingbird activity I've seen so far this year has been two of them hovering at the garage door mistaking the dangling red emergency release handle from the open garage door for a hummingbird feeder...LOL. Scarlet Sage, Aegeratum, Fleabane, Nicotiana and a few others are already in bloom for them to find nectar but nada...they want those feeders. I realize they mistake the red handle for some plant to which they're naturally attracted but guess they get picky until they find the flowers they prefer or a feeder which they prefer above anything if given the choice according to people who have both nectar flowers and feeders.

I put some floral tape around NE Aster because they were still attached and the downed ends weren't dying off. These plants are amazing in that they can continue to draw enough moisture and nutrients from partial stems and keep going. Couldn't find NE Aster yesterday so settled for New York Aster.

Looking foward to all the very late summer/fall blooms since it's usually the time most things have petered out and the native fall bloomers are real powerhouses. Can't wait to see them in their glory!

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anita55(zone 6 NY)


Who's this? Anybody know?

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WoodsTea 6a MO(6a)

Is this on a Joe Pye Weed leaf? If you don't get an answer here, you could try submitting the photo to the Butterflies and Moths website:

http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/identify

Out of curiosity, what did you decide to do about the original question you posted in 2008? Did you end up using an insecticide of some type?

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wisconsitom(Zone 4/5)

Just as a very general answer-much in line with what folks have already said here-this plant is a pollinator/butterfly/bee magnet and as such, only the most innocuous materials should ever be used on it. Too many good bugs use this plant to expose them to systemic or even contact insecticides, save for the soaps, oils, etc.

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Judy Hanses

My brother gave me Joe Pye Weed, but he called it Butterfly Weed, so I'm thinking that it's similar to the orange flowers that grow alongside the highway, about 20" tall. No, mine grew to about 4' tall with medium pink flowers. So, after research, I found that I do, indeed, have Joe Pye Weed. Now, I have tiny yellow "aphids", some larger red and black bugs about 3/4" long and now some small reddish orange bugs, larger than the yellow ones. I want these to come back and to be able to plant some seedpods towards the back of the garden. Help!!!

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terryr(z5a IL)

I've never seen the bugs you're describing on Joe pye weed. I do see them, however, on all the milkweeds. Are you sure your brother didn't give you the common milkweed, Asclepias syriaca? That grows all over alongside the highways. Hope that helps.

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Judy Hanses

You could be right. Mine are very tall with pale pink to pale mauve flowers. Even after clearing out all of the yellow aphids, the larger red mites and the adult red & black bugs, they're back the next day. I've tried 50/50 rubbing alcohol and water, a blast of water and even smooshing them between my fingers. Do the adult red and black bugs lay the red mites? Where do the aphids come from? Should I leave all/some of these bugs alone? Are they a food source for the butterflies? Will they kill my plants?

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terryr(z5a IL)

Judy, It's my understanding the red and black bugs, also referred to as milkweed bugs, don't do much damage. They do grow in numbers though, so I would get a tall, wide mouthed cup filled with soapy water and flick them down into it.

For those aphids, you can try spraying them with soapy water, making sure there's no eggs or caterpillars on the plants. I've also read to spray with 50% isopropyl alcohol, rinsing with water, again making sure no eggs or caterpillars on the plants. Personally I didn't have luck with common milkweed or swamp milkweed. However the butterfly weed doesn't get attacked by those aphids, it gets the milkweed bugs. I have no idea where the aphids come from, I believe they're Oleander aphids. If you have regular ol milkweed, they seem to appear and suck the life out of the plants.

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Judy Hanses

Thanks, I'll try your suggestions. Do you know if I can move these plants to the back of my garden, as they are quite tall, 48"?

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terryr(z5a IL)

Mine don't seem to have an extensive root system, so I'd try. Most native plants have roots that go to China. All you can do is try, right? Especially when they're not in the right place. Good luck!

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