What animals bother dahlias?

Answered by Randy McIntyre

Dahlias are indeed stunning flowers, but unfortunately, they often attract various pests that can cause damage to the plants. In this answer, I will discuss some of the most common pests that bother dahlias and provide tips on how to deal with them effectively.

1. Grasshoppers:
Grasshoppers are voracious eaters and can quickly decimate the foliage of dahlias. To protect your plants from these pests, you can try the following methods:

– Physical barriers: Install row covers or netting around your dahlias to prevent grasshoppers from reaching them.
– Companion planting: Certain plants, such as cilantro and calendula, can act as repellents to grasshoppers. Consider planting them alongside your dahlias.
– Biological control: Introduce natural predators of grasshoppers, such as birds or praying mantises, into your garden.

2. Thrips:
Thrips are tiny, slender insects that feed on the leaves and flowers of dahlias, causing them to become discolored and distorted. To combat thrips infestation:

– Regular monitoring: Inspect your plants frequently for signs of thrips, such as silvering or dark streaks on leaves.
– Insecticidal soap: Spray your dahlias with insecticidal soap, focusing on the undersides of leaves where thrips often hide.
– Reflective mulch: Use silver or aluminum mulch around your dahlias to deter thrips as they are repelled by the reflected light.

3. Tarnished Plant Bug (TPB):
TPBs are small, brownish bugs that pierce the flowers and buds of dahlias, causing them to become deformed. Here’s how to deal with them:

– Pruning affected buds: Regularly inspect your dahlias and prune any buds or flowers that show signs of TPB feeding.
– Vacuuming: Use a small handheld vacuum to remove TPBs from your plants. Be sure to empty the vacuum bag away from your garden to prevent reinfestation.
– Insecticides: If the infestation is severe, consider using insecticides labeled for TPB control. Follow the instructions carefully and apply them when bees are not active.

4. Cucumber Beetles:
Cucumber beetles are small, striped insects that can transmit diseases to dahlias and chew on their foliage. To keep them at bay:

– Yellow sticky traps: Hang yellow sticky traps around your dahlias to capture cucumber beetles attracted to the color.
– Neem oil: Spray your plants with neem oil, which acts as a repellent and disrupts the feeding and mating of cucumber beetles.
– Crop rotation: Avoid planting dahlias in the same location where cucumber beetles were heavily present the previous year.

5. Leafhoppers:
Leafhoppers are small, wedge-shaped insects that suck sap from dahlias, causing stippling and yellowing of leaves. Here are some ways to control them:

– Water management: Leafhoppers thrive in dry conditions, so regularly watering your dahlias can help reduce their numbers.
– Beneficial insects: Encourage the presence of beneficial insects like ladybugs and lacewings, which feed on leafhoppers.
– Insecticidal sprays: Consider using insecticidal sprays labeled for leafhopper control, but use them sparingly and follow the instructions to avoid harming beneficial insects.

In my personal experience, a combination of these methods has helped me successfully manage pest problems on my dahlias. Remember, it’s essential to monitor your plants regularly and take action at the first sign of infestation to prevent further damage.

I hope these tips help you protect your beautiful dahlias from pests and enjoy their stunning blooms all season long!