Odd Looking Caterpillar Becomes Beautiful Swallowtail Butterfly

One of the things to do while stuck at home due to COVID-19 restrictions, is to look for caterpillars and butterflies in your landscape. I’ve noticed giant swallowtail butterflies (Papilio cresphontes) a little early this year. The giant swallowtail is one of the largest and most beautiful butterflies in our area. Its larval stage is known as the orangedog caterpillar. This unusual name comes from the fact that it feeds on young foliage of citrus trees.


Orangedog caterpillar
Orangedog caterpillar. Photo credit: Donald Hall, University of Florida

The orangedog caterpillar is mostly brown with some white blotches, resembling bird droppings more than a caterpillar. When disturbed, it may try to scare you off by extruding two orange horns that produces a pungent odor that is hard to wash off.

I’ve had some minor feeding on citrus trees in my landscape from orangedog caterpillars. But I tolerate them. I’m not growing the citrus to sell. Sure the caterpillars eat a few leaves but my citrus trees have thousands of leaves. New leaves eventually replace the eaten ones. I leave the caterpillars alone. They eat a few leaves, develop into chrysalises and then emerge as beautiful giant swallowtail butterflies. The whole experience is a great life lesson for my two teenagers. And, we get to enjoy beautiful giant swallowtail butterflies flying around in our landscape and still get plenty of fruit from the citrus trees. It is a win, win, win.

In some cases, the caterpillars can cause widespread defoliation of citrus. A few orangedog caterpillars can defoliate small, potted citrus trees. Where you cannot tolerate their feeding habits, remove them from the plant. But consider relocating the caterpillars to another area. In addition to citrus, the orangedog caterpillars will use the herb fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) and rue (Ruta graveolens) as a food source. Some butterfly gardens plant citrus trees to provide food for orangedog caterpillars so that they will have giant swallowtail butterflies. So you could plan ahead and grow some fennel, rue or find a butterfly garden in your area for the purpose of relocating the larvae.

The adult butterflies feed on nectar from many flowers, including azalea, bougainvillea, Japanese honeysuckle, goldenrod, dame’s rocket, bouncing Bet and

Yellow giant swallowtail butterfly on pink phlox
Yellow giant swallowtail butterfly on pink garden phlox. Photo credit: Larry Williams

swamp milkweed. Some plants in this list might be invasive.


Keep in mind that mature citrus trees can easily withstand the loss of a few leaves. If you find and allow a few orangedog caterpillars to feed on a few leaves of a mature citrus tree in your landscape, you and your neighbors might get to enjoy the spectacular giant swallowtail butterfly.

More information on the giant swallowtail butterfly is available online at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in134.


Posted: April 14, 2020

Category: Conservation, Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Fruits & Vegetables, HOME LANDSCAPES, Horticulture, Pests & Disease,
Tags: Butterflies, Caterpillars, Citrus, Giant Swallowtail Butterfly, Insects, Master Gardener Volunteer, Orangedog Caterpillar


February 25, 2021

A better name for plants like Florida betony might be aggressive. I believe only non-native plants and animals would be called invasive.

Glenda Wilson
February 4, 2021

looking forward to this meeting--thank you


October 26, 2020

Unfortunately, the seminar was cancelled due to COVID-19. I'm looking forward to when we can offer this again, hopefully in 2021.


October 26, 2020

When targeting control of winter (cool-season) annual weeds, the preemergence herbicide should be applied when nighttime temperatures drop to 55° to 60°F for several consecutive nights. This will be just before the winter annual weeds emerge. In North Florida, this normally happens during October. When targeting control of summer (warm-season) annual weeds, the preemergence should be applied when day temperatures reach 65°to 70°F for 4 to 5 consecutive days. This will be just before the summer annual weeds emerge. In North Florida, this normally happens during February. Also, you may want to check with the Purdue Extension Office in your County on the correct timing.


October 26, 2020

The key is to make sure that you are using a herbicide, whether it is a pre or post emergent herbicide, that is labeled for use for the lawn grass and/or pasture grass that you have. For example, some herbicides are labeled for use on bermudagrass and bahiagrass but are not labeled for use on centipedegrass or St. Augustinegrass and visa versa. Using a herbicide that is not labeled for the particular lawn or pasture grass that you have could injure the grass. Always follow the label directions and precautions for any pesticide that you use, including herbicides.

Mirtha Guerra Aguirre
October 26, 2020

Does the herbicide that needs to control the weeds also kill the grass? I would like to control weeds, on yard and in pasture, but I do not want to kill the grass and have to reseed next year. I have Argentinian Bahia Grass. Thanks

August 20, 2020

Live in Indiana .When to apply preemergent


June 30, 2020

I don't think there is a published threshold for beans. For soybeans, we use a 15-inch sweep net. One nymph per sweep would be needed to trigger a pesticide application. Pesticides that are effective on kudzu bugs can be very harsh on beneficial insects. This can cause a flush of bad insects following the pesticide application. I would check for any kudzu bugs on the ground that are infected by the fungus. Often the fungus will keep them below thresholds. If you are dead set on using a pesticide, a pyrethrin is effective on them but also will kill beneficial insects.

June 29, 2020

I have already contacted my local Bay co. extension office about this bug attacking my Blue Lake bean plants. There was no recommendation for pesticide but you mentioned in this article spraying the soybean field. Do you have a recommendation as a pesticide that would work on these type of bugs? I know sevin spray doesn't work.

Tracee Webb
May 28, 2020

Hi. I would like to know if you had the seminar titled Getting Ready for Another Lawn Growing Season this past March 18, 10 til 11am, or if it was canceled or rescheduled due to the COVID? I am interested in this information. My yard could use it. Thank you.

Donna Legare
April 15, 2020

Thanks for encouraging people to accept some damage on their citrus. I agree with you - it is worth it to have giant swallowtails in our communities. Another larval food plant that folks might consider planting is the native hoptree (Ptelea trifoliate). I have never known giant swallowtails to eat fennel. Both giant swallowtails and black swallowtails eat rue.


April 14, 2020

Ed, Thank you for reading the article. Hopefully, you'll eventually get to enjoy some giant swallowtail butterflies in your landscape.

Ed Bowman
April 14, 2020

I had 3 of these on my lime tree about a week ago. I have not seen the giant yellow tail yet, maybe in a week or so the larva will turn into one. Ed

March 27, 2020

Thanks for such a great time reading this. It brought back memories of my own experiences growing up in the country. To this day I can remember the vivid colors of spring. Always remember the good.

March 26, 2020

What a great way to put our priorities in perspective! We all need to remember this.

March 17, 2020

Thank you, Larry. I agree that our landscapes should be a place to learn, enjoy and make memories. I love sharing my gardens with my seven grandchildren, watching them as they discover a new clutch of Bluebird eggs or identify a hummingbird or Monarch butterfly. They certainly don’t notice the weeds! Also, over the years, I have decided that native plants are the way to go and old fashioned shrub roses are much less time consuming than the hybrids and are more fragrant.

March 17, 2020

Our expectations today arise from what we see in picture perfect landscapes in magazines and social media. We live in a harsh climate in NW Florida and much of what we plant cannot survive here without being coddled. All of the plants you mentioned your neighbor having are tried and true for our area. We would have less angst if we put the majority of our landscape in those types of plants.

myvegas free chips
February 10, 2020

Thank goodness this Informative article is interesting and clear. Others I've read made me feel like I needed a degree to decipher them.

airlie beach accommodation
January 6, 2020

i love the blog its fabulous thanks:)

Sheila Dunning

January 6, 2020

Typically the weight of the tree or branch breaks a line, shutting off all power. It can be a fire concern, but that is not the usual concern. The utility guys concentrate on main roads and areas with schools, hospitals, nursing homes, etc. Many times these places have people dependent on machines for health issues.

Shaylee Packer
January 6, 2020

I never thought about the fact that they have to remove so much vegetation, so that even when the windstorm comes, the tree isn't touching the line. What is the greatest concern about trees being close to the lines? The chance of causing fire, or the weight of the tree on the line?

May 15, 2019

Aquoponic is an agriculture branch which improve's crop production and fishing industry and it's is good for my country which is a tropical country and also increase employment to local people


April 18, 2019

Soil solarization, done correctly, can be helpful in controlling nematodes in the vegetable garden. Here are the basics taken from the UF/IFAS Extension publication Nematode Management in the Vegetable Garden (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ng005). Soil solarization is a process of using heat from the sun to kill nematodes and other pests. The soil should be worked with a hoe or rototiller to break up clods. Remove all sticks, roots, and clumps. The soil should be moist but not wet. Cover the soil with a clear plastic tarp and bury the edges of the plastic (Figure 14). Leave the plastic on the soil for at least 4 to 6 weeks. Do not remove the plastic until you are ready to plant.Sunlight goes through the clear plastic and heats the soil underneath. The plastic then holds in the heat so that it penetrates and warms the soil. Long-term exposure to high temperature kills nematodes, as well as many weeds, fungi, and insect pests. The disinfested zone is usually 6 to 8 inches deep. Do not till or mix the soil after solarization. That may reinfest the soil you just solarized with nematodes from below the treated zone. Because it depends on sunlight and heat, solarization works best during the summer months. It does not work well in areas that get shade. Only solarize planting beds that get full sun.

Anthony Aiuppy
March 25, 2019

How do you get rid of nematodes? Use black plastic for how long to kill them in hot weather.


March 25, 2019

Hi, sorry. Yes, I tried to fit too much into my short allotted time. Cool season forage options include: • Legumes – arrowleaf clover, crimson clover, ball clover, red clover, white clover, vetch and winter peas to name a few. • Grasses – ryegrass, oats, wheat, rye, and triticale (a man made cross of wheat and rye). • Brassicas like kale, turnips and tillage radish • Forage Chicory Some good warm-season food plot plants include: Perennial Peanut Forage Soybeans Alyceclover Jointvetch Iron clay peas Lablab And Brown Top Millet If you would like more specifics on planting dates, depths, rates, etc, you can email me at bearden@ufl.edu and I will send you publications that can further help you establish successful food plots. Thank you!

March 19, 2019

the week of March 11th, your 5:15AM radio spot talked about summer time food plots for deer. You apparently ran out of allotted time while trying to give examples of various seeds to plant for deer food plots, that you spoke so fast and hurried that it was unintelligible as to the list of seeds to plant. Can you provide the list to me by e-mail? thanks, //david//

Stephanie Grammer
February 7, 2019

Hello. My name is Stephanie Grammer. My son, Jesse has recently moved down here. I am looking to get him into some extracurricular activities this summer. He is 11 years old. I would love some information. Thank you. I look forward to hearing from you.

Laura Tiu

January 2, 2019

Yes, check out the Okaloosa or Walton County Extension Facebook page to see the latest video posted today. https://www.facebook.com/WaltonCountyUFIFAS/

December 27, 2018

So Any preliminary results on the test trial?

December 27, 2018

It is a great practice to start your own little garden, when less agricultural land is available for growing food. Genetically modified crops are available, we can grow our own food using Aquaponic/hydroponics. The first method did not require any food for plants as fish wastes will be used as a plant nutrient.

Pam Kildow
November 26, 2018

Thanks Larry for sharing your well stated observations and thoughts. You have highlighted and emphasized that there is positive, productive, redemptive work going on - heartwarming things happening if we just open our eyes, ears and hearts to see it. This is true too of the world at large. To keep ourselves from being devistated by the chaos so prevalent, we have to use our senses to seek out the good - it’s still out there. There will be a calm after the storm!

Carol Rose
November 24, 2018

Wow! Thank you Larry for such a beautiful and touching look at the redemptive side of the story!

Beverly Kapple
November 14, 2018

This was the most positive blog on the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. Thank you for your thoughts as it helps to envision how those that were so badly affected experience the aftermath-from butterflies, to the smells of wood burning & BBQ, the night sky. Yes, you are right. We have many neighbors helping neighbors with the help of churches & other government & volunteer organizations. North Florida people are a resilient bunch with a “ can do” attitude. We will be helping for a long time till our neighbors are whole again. Thank you ❤️

Marilyn Koser
November 14, 2018

Beautiful word picture and positive perspective on an otherwise depressing and overwhelming scene.

September 15, 2018

This is a great way to grow fish and plants together. We can make use of a small space to produce vegetables and fulfil our food needs

snorkeling airlie beach
July 30, 2018

awesome post

Wade Hayslip
July 24, 2018

So glad UF is taking the lead in trying to find ways to reduce lion fish population. If there is no form of control then the fishing industry is doomed. I would support the federal government subsedizing fisherman to harvest lion fish to make it profitable to them.. Then we can make a dent in this distructive fish.

Laura Tiu

July 24, 2018

Lionfish are attracted to structure and the lattice acts as structure. Earlier prototypes were bulkier and weren’t able to be stacked (more room on the boat) like the current design is. The lattice is 2D so can be easily closed within the trap. This was mostly figured out through iterative design ideas and trials by Steve Gittings.

Ken Ridlon FMN
July 24, 2018

What is the attraction to the latticework, and how was it discovered?


July 19, 2018

We do not currently have a class scheduled for O&T. Look for one to be scheduled this fall.

Brad Lamb
July 19, 2018

Ornamental and Turf Training and Exam (Limited Govt. Orn. and Turf Pests) When is the next course in Okaloosa County? Please let me know asap. Thanks,

Moshiur @ bestkayaklabs
May 22, 2018

Bigger swim area than Vortex Springs, public access park so no entrance fees, beautiful cold water

alarm clock
February 19, 2018

This is the fitting weblog for anyone who desires to seek out out about this topic. You understand so much its virtually exhausting to argue with you (not that I truly would need…HaHa). You undoubtedly put a new spin on a subject thats been written about for years. Great stuff, simply great!

February 4, 2018

IFAS Extension Okaloosa County is the outreach arm of the Institute of Food Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida.

January 30, 2018

The sugary white sands along the Panhandle, attract millions of visitors to our area throughout the year. It is important for locals and visitors to understand and consider the following tips for safety at the beach. The danger of rip currents far outweighs the danger of having a shark encounter. As a result of past

Sonya Robinson
August 20, 2016

I have always enjoyed your articles and programs but you absolutely amazed me at the Short Course North. Despite the electronic mishaps, you gave a fantastic program. You went on like that was a normal thing to do. Thank you. Of course Beth Bolles came to the rescue before your time was up and again, it was a smooth transaction for you. Great going Sheila. By the way, this is another of your interesting articles. I hate to admit it but I didn't even know about the blue mud dauber. Thanks again, Sonya Robinson

August 19, 2016

Yes, Thank you. Good to know

Matthew Orwat
July 15, 2016

I am pretty sure that Maphis Tree Farm could get it if they don't have it, also check with Arbor Lane in Vernon

Peggy Laplante
July 5, 2016

Hey Matt, do you know a nursery in the area that has Vitex? Thanks for all u do!!

Glenda Wilson
July 3, 2016

The Master Gardeners planted 3 Chase Trees at the Washington County Library. They are located on the front lawn and the west side of the lawn. Glenda Wilson

July 2, 2016

How tall does this three get? Maybe the height of a dogwood tree? Thank you.

Matthew Orwat
July 2, 2016

I have never been so I don't really know. Someone else might chime in.

Janet Hays
July 2, 2016

Is this tree on the grounds at E.O. Wilson Biophilia center? My husband noticed a specimen that had a much neater habit than the b u d d l e i a and I wondered if this might be it. Janet

June 6, 2016

Two thumbs up, great article. Native plants also support the native insects that birds need to feed their young. It takes about 9,000 insects to raise a clutch of chickadees according to Douglas Tallamy, head up the entomology at the University of Delaware .

June 6, 2016

Yes, I agree and think this strategy is important. Thanks, Lia

June 6, 2016

How cool is that! Lia

Nick Baldwin
June 5, 2016

nice article; I have spend the better part of a month trying to play catchup with the Coral Artesia and Nandina, that the previous owner or maybe even the builder left for us! I had gotten behind due to various "excuses," and it was a task carefully removing the berries of the CA and then pulling up the plants! I am at the spraying point now-just trying to judge the next rain to maximize the duration of the Herbicidal Soap recommended by Native Nurseries. thanks for reminding everyone of these invasive pests. Nick Baldwin Master Naturalist., Cert. Fl. Green Guide

David Lucas
May 30, 2016

We had thousands of beetles last year with great effect but have not seen any yet this year in Manatee County. Have any reemerged yet or did they die or is it too early? The potatoes are really taking over already this year. David Lucas

Cody Z
April 21, 2016

I saw one blooming at Native Nurseries in Tallahassee this past weekend. Very pretty.

Donna Legare
April 21, 2016

We have observed many along the New River near Havana. We also have 35 year old ones (propagated from native Florida stock) growing on our property in Tallahassee. They are thriving and absolutely beautiful. Slow growing but sure and steady. Our soil is rich and organic with some clay. Mountain laurels seem to love it. They are under high shade of pines, oaks, sweetgum. Nice article - thanks. Donna (Native Nurseries)

April 5, 2016

the grass needs water!

Matthew Orwat
March 28, 2016

I would just use some topsoil and fill the area until it is level with the rest of my yard

Veronica Glenn
March 24, 2016

I do have a low place in my lawn where several hurricanes ago a tree had to be removed and the root system has rotted, with what do I fill that?

Linda Thompson
March 18, 2016

Great information! We won't be pouring sand onto our lawn.

Jo Anna Lundy
January 27, 2016

This is the first winter for our Anna and Dorsett apple trees. Should we prune them now?

Shari Farrell
November 20, 2015

You've made me want one!! Hope you are somehow doing well; is it softball that caught up with your knee? S~

Matthew Orwat
November 5, 2015

It depends on the species. Red Oak, sweetgum, ash and most other hardwoods are deciduous as normal. Water oak and laural oak slowly lose their leaves all winter long, are pretty bare in February until the spring green up. Magnolia and Live Oak hold on to their leaves throughout the winter and shed in spring before new growth occurs. Bald Cyprus is 100% deciduous and Pecan are late to drop their leaves and the last to break dormancy. Many other trees lie in the middle of the spectrum. Fall color here on trees is seasonal and varies with the fall temperature and rain level except on Sweetgum, and a few other species like the invasive non-native tallow tree which are fairly consistent .

Ronnie Safreed
November 5, 2015

How do deciduous hardwood temperate trees change in panhandle Florida? I know the leaf exchange is later & into much of the winter? How long are the trees green 7-8 months & how long with fall colors? when do they drop leaves & how long before new leaves bud & when? It is like the trees are just "semi-deciduous" in the panhandle ?

elizabeth major
October 24, 2015

Sheila, How timely for fall planting. Thank you so much. Elizabeth Major

Earl Mirus
August 6, 2015

thanks Larry, I have had azaleas for decades, mostly formosa and never had lace bugs. But I built a new house last year and this spring I bought and planted azaleas. I have noticed the leaves looking like the pictures but have not taken time to examine them. By now you guessed it - I got a bonus with the new plants. I have some Safari on hand and will do a little soil injection when I get time. I am a consulting arborist. in Panama City.

August 3, 2015

THANK YOU! I am so sick of the screaming about how bad GMOs are -- from people/sources that have no clue! I will pass this around

Laura Hall
August 3, 2015

Thanks for passing along that information. We get so much scary info about GMO foods, it hard to know what to believe. Your article makes me feel better about the use of GMO foods. Laura

Barb Comstock
August 2, 2015

Are you saying Round-up is not harmful and Glycopyrrolates do not persist in the environment? I believe recent studies de-bunk your response to Myth #2. If you follow the studies that are coming out of India, you will see that the "common" farmer there, in an attempt to eradicate weeds that are resistant to Round-up, are using more and more herbicides. This eradicated any profit the farmer might have had, instead of the resistant weeds. I believe the research into using synergistic combinations of pesticides and/or herbicides have proven to be much more successful in reducing the amount of toxic chemicals used, as shown by our extension service reports in Alabama. Good old fashion genetic manipulation, though slower, is a more safe - and sane - approach to altering and improving our food crop plants. Personally, I have "tested" my pets on GMO foods - giving them a choice of naturally, locally grown foods, side by side, with GMO foods... every food choice was the naturally grown food. For me and my family - and my pets - we are willing to pay the extra cost and will continue to buy non-GMO and organically grown foods.

Lynda Penry
July 8, 2015

"Thanks for the Memories"

June 1, 2015

We are wondering where our hummingbirds have gone. We usually have 4 or 5 that visit our yard in season. We had three of them in April but they left early in May and have not returned. Do you thing those may have been scouts who have gone to bring the others? We know at least one of them has been here for at least 3 years..we recognize him because he has no feet. All of us along our little strip of the bay miss them and are hoping for their return.

May 27, 2015

Huh, I didn't realize that we should be so particular about fertilizing, but then, I haven't had to care for a lawn since I lived at home; and then, my dad did all the planning. Now I am renting a house with a small front lawn which is in desperate need of love. I can probably start fertilizing, now, since it is the end of May and we have been having some good, constant, light rain. How regularly should you fertilize your lawn during the summer? Helen | Steeplechase Turf

May 10, 2015

I have a pond in Molino Florida and would like to get the water quality tested. Do you have a contact resource I may use to get my pond tested? I think I may need fertilizer and lime. Thank you so much, Alan

April 29, 2015

Good suggestions. I enjoy gardening for pollinators. Can you tell me the name of the conradina t hat is planted at your Extension office. I've noticed it's an early bloomer for those early butterflies and bees.

April 12, 2015

Because our garden is primarily for raising butterflies, it contains host and nectar plants for many caterpillars. In our situation, wasps are not beneficial and we selectively reduce their populations to give the caterpillars a better chance of survival.

March 15, 2015

I am a member of the Eugenia Ch of the FNPS and our acre is all native plants and ground covers. no grass. wish everyone would get rid of their grass lawns. Native plants attract wild life and are beautiful to observe. Susan Yount Vero Beach,Fl

c. orchard
March 9, 2015

Sheila, Is there a Florida law that dictates how close to the water a lawn or garden can be fertilized or chemically treated? If not a law is there a recommendation by EPA? Thank you, C Orchard

Glen Pratt
February 18, 2015

When can I apply top dressing?

Jennifer Bearden

February 17, 2015

CORRECTION: If feed is suspected as the cause of your horse’s illness, contact the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Bureau of Inspection and Incident Response at (850) 617-7996.

February 5, 2015

I was there last week as well and the Autumn Fire will be a pretty plant to have!

February 4, 2015

Love azaleas and moved to the Panhandle from the North two years ago. Ecstatic about the Encore azaleas. Hope your article encourages more of them in the area as they are lovely, especially pleasing in the Fall!

Ann Poppy
December 26, 2014

Thank you for this article. I knew enough not to prune most of my dead-looking plants. I usually wait until I can see pecan tree leaves in the spring before giving up and pronouncing something dead.). But I was thinking about pruning back my pineapple sage, which is the worst-looking of the lot and prominently located. Now that I understand about the food-storage thing, I was wondering if it would be okay to do the cambium layer thing one internodal bit of stem at a time and prune off what is actually dead, working my way down the branches until I come to green in the cambium layer?

Larry Williams

November 12, 2014

Unfortunately, there really is not a good chemical option for azalea/camellia leaf gall. Thankfully, it really does not cause long-term problems for the plants. It just looks bad. But eventually the infected leaves fall off and new ones come on... so the plant grows out of it.

Larry Williams

November 12, 2014

This could be caused by planting the seed too deep. Also, have your soil tested... could be the result of a nutrient deficiency of imbalance.

Brook Bowman
November 5, 2014

It reminds me of one of my favorite "Bleeding Heart"

Kenneth Kilcrease
October 23, 2014

In late September I planted two 75 ft rows of turnip seed (one Just right and one Purple top). The Just rights came up slowly and the Purple tops came up very slowly. It is now October 23 and the plants have stalled. They appear to be stunted. Most plants not over 2 inches tall. What is the most likely reason and how can I avoid it in the future?

September 24, 2014

Can they be grown in a container? Would you use potting mix, or maybe cut it with sandy soil? Thanks, Martha

Sheila Dunning
September 24, 2014

If you live in Florida they will return fine with no protection. Do leave the old stalks all winter and only remove them in the spring after the last frost. Additional mulch is helpful if you live in the far north end of a Panhandle county. You will see growth reappear sooner in the spring.

September 23, 2014

Hello Sheila: Do I need to cover our Firespikes in winter...or will they simply die back in cold/freeze snaps and return the following summer undaunted?

Julie Tippins Parker
September 9, 2014

Will there be vendors there? I am looking for the local man who makes cypress potting benches. Thanks!

Earl Mirus
August 22, 2014

Good article Sheila especially about the soil/water relationship with tree physiology. I didn't realize that the lack of oxygen worked that quickly. There is an alternative to protecting trees from infestation when nearby trees are infested. Basal soil injection or drench with Dinotefuran or Imidacloprid. Dinotefuran gets in the tree much more quickly than Imidacloprid. The stuff is not cheap though. Spray the bark to give a measure of protection for a week or two to give the Dinotefuran time to get into the tree. Season long availability of insecticide in the tree.

Terry Hughes
August 12, 2014

Thank you for your help today. We will now have some "tools" to work with.

August 9, 2014

We have few bees around our vegetable garden, but many wasps. Do they pollinate like the bees do?

frank sedmera
August 6, 2014

thanks for the short and concise defense of wasps. I have been stung many times but ALWAYS because I was not watching out for them. When they do construct a new nest near to a door way I note that they buzz me many times, but never sting. Nevertheless I finally take their hint and remove the nest. I frequently see them working plants for insects. thanks Frank Sedmera

August 5, 2014

It's funny that you should write about wasps. A few days ago I was stung by a wasp as I was cutting old leaves off my banana plants. Wow! It felt like a hypodermic needle, very painful. There were at least 3 wasps hovering in the dense growth, and didn't notice them until it was too late. I do respect all those stinging creatures because I know they are beneficial.

Matthew Orwat
July 21, 2014

Very young leaves are edible but musty in flavor, not ideal but not harmful for consumption

July 17, 2014

Is only the tuber edible? What about the leaves and stems since it's in the mint family?

Whitney Gray
July 16, 2014

Thanks, Larry! I've got this throughout my Tallahassee backyard. I'll eat it to control it!

Linda Wilson
June 18, 2014

Just the explanation I needed to help an enquiry. Thank you

Will Overstreet
May 6, 2014

Hello Larry. Nice article but would like to know if you recommend a fungicide or Bayer Tree and Shrub Treatment?coment

Debbie Garred
April 29, 2014

Thanks so much, Matt! I'll try it!!! May God bless you for your kindness! Debbie 8-)

Matthew Orwat
April 29, 2014

Those lichens are not harming the tree but "get in" due to sunlight. Your theory about winter infestation sounds right. Copper fungicidal soaps are available at your garden center, and may act as a control for lichens and have to be used carefully on plants that are already leafed out. Dormant application would be better. Here are two extension publications from Oregon State and Texas A&M that address the question from an interesting angle. http://extension.oregonstate.edu/lane/sites/default/files/documents/lc449controlmossandlichensonfruittrees.pdf http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/archives/parsons/misc/parasites.html Hope this helps, Matt

April 28, 2014

Yes, it looks exactly like the lichens. I think the Crape Myrtle losing all of it's leaves during the winter may have given it a "foothold", but my Crape Myrtles are now growing in leaves like crazy and hopefully, will resume normal and do away with the lichens. I cannot help but to wonder if this is why people began drastically pruning the Crape Myrtles in the winter, because they wouldn't have had any place for the lichens to land on, had I pruned them the way a lot of people do. The tree trunks have this amazing thing that they do where they shed their bark occasionally, so it would have been unaffected. I've even found large pieces of the trunk's bark on the ground with the lichens on it, which I immediately threw in the trash. Do you have any other recommendations? They are otherwise very beautiful and mature trees.

Matthew Orwat
April 28, 2014

Sounds like you have the type of lichen that looks like an air plant. Look at the picture of the lichens. Is this what you have? http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/pests/plant_problems/hgic2354.html

April 22, 2014

I have a serious infestation of I think a specific type of air plant. It is NOT Spanish Moss, but is little gray short hairy things that gradually take over a bush or tree, then finally kills it. In the last few months, they have moved to my mature (and GORGEOUS) Crepe Myrtles, so now the panic button has officially been pressed in me. I had a "lawn expert" come and he said it is an air plant, and to brush it off, but there isn't much you can do about it since they travel in the air. I do not trim back my Crepe Myrtles in the winter, so they have never been trimmed and they are huge and gorgeous and I just hate to lose them. I read up on the matter and Copper seems to be one possible solution, but then I read over and over that air plants do not kill trees. I watched it gradually kill a bush, going from just a very tiny bit on the bush, to completely overtaking it and killing it, so I don't know if I can bear to watch it kill these Southern beauties. Please help!!! Warmest Regards, Debbie

April 21, 2014

Thank you. I printed for my neighbor who keeps trimming our beautiful oak trees to grow grass. I titled it " This isn't Michigan."

Matthew Orwat
February 14, 2014

South end of which county? There is always a risk of planting grapefruit this far north due to historic low temperatures, but I have seen it done successfully using a combination of sheltered locations and winter protection. Keep in mind we have not had temperatures in the single digits since the 1980s. If you are near the coast growing grapefruit will be much easier. There is nothing officially recommended for this area grapefruit wise, but this article has some good information

cliffogene Stillwell
February 12, 2014

We live in the South end of the country. What would be the best grapefruit to plant here? Thank you! cliffogene

Matthew Orwat
December 24, 2013

It is possible, check for the small entry holes on the branches and the white dust called "frass" See the pictures and click on them to blow them up for increased detail.

Ray Davis
December 17, 2013

Get some trees to plant for Arbor Day!

December 17, 2013

Great Article! Excellent that you stressed, planting at the correct depth!!!

October 22, 2013

I've grown brussel sprouts a few times, they never formed nice round buds. I know once was because of heat, they take a long time to grow. I don't know fertilize application rate and I've read some growers cut the tops? Like you would a shrub for bush growth.

October 15, 2013

Too much of a good thing, right? Slightly counter-intuitive that water can be a negative factor in tree growth , but essential for tree owners to understand. Arborists have to explain this to homeowners a lot.

October 3, 2013

Well written! I could have used this article last week while working the MG phones!

September 6, 2013

Thanks, Matt! :) Sharon

Matthew Orwat
September 6, 2013

Corrected! Thanks for the notice. Matt

Matthew Orwat
September 6, 2013

Thanks for catching it, the files were mixed up. It has been corrected.

Jeannette Debs
September 4, 2013

Larry, The first photo is not a Geranium, its the same photo twice! Oops.

September 4, 2013

Hi Larry: Both images are the same, with different titles. Can you please correct and let me know? Thanks! Sharon

Matthew Orwat
August 16, 2013

Products Containing Fipronil and / or Hydramethylnon would be appropriate, be sure to follow all label instructions. To learn more, check out this EDIS publication: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/MG/MG20200.pdf

August 14, 2013

What bait do you recommend for outdoor treatment of these cockroaches?

Matthew Orwat
July 24, 2013

Thank You, I hope the information was useful.

July 23, 2013

Good info and in a time we need it Thanks

Turf Solutions
May 30, 2012

This is one of the most important steps to having a great lawn. Most people take for granted how much water your yard needs in the beginning stages.

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