July 10, 2006

Is My AV Pest BIGGER Than Your Pest?

     What is the 'biggest' pest to attack your African violets?  I don't mean the pest that was the biggest headache to eradicate.  I'm talking about the physical SIZE of the pest!
     About 6 weeks ago, I received an AV order that had thrips.  I cut down the plants into leaves and crowns... then isolated them in a 'room' in our barn.  The tray was covered with a dome and placed out of direct sunlight near a window.
     At 3 weeks, the leaves looked fine.  At 4 weeks, we needed the 'room' for the goats and I moved the violet tray to a small straw loft.  This was not the best place for African violets; the temperatures rose to the high 90's, and the strong late afternoon sun hit the tray.  Over the next few days a few leaves rotted, and the three crowns lost all their leaves to rot.
     Last week, I was happy to see that 14 of the original 21 leaves were alive!  I noticed a bit of white, fuzzy mold on two leaves.   Because the leaves all appeared to have developed roots, I took the dome off for the night.  The next morning, the mold was gone so I replaced the dome.
      Then last night, I noticed a little bit of the mold had returned, so I took off the dome.
       This morning, I found only 5 leaves standing upright!  The rest of leaves were torn, chewed, and scattered around the tray. MICE!!!!
       Rodents are to be expected in barns and farm outbuildings and I worried about this pest.  At first, I placed the leaf tray above the ground, to avoid tempting the mice.  The straw loft was probably asking for troubles, but it seemed the best place in the barn, filled with goats, cows, a calf, cats, setting hens, and whatever needed shelter from heat, rain, or mosquitoes!
        After nothing happened the first time I removed the protection of the dome, I thought Montana mice don't like houseplants!  I guess I was wrong!
        A mouse is the biggest pest I have had attack my violets.  What has been YOUR biggest pest?
( For updates on how the 'isolated leaves' are doing, read
Fear, Paranoia? I hope this makes you think! )

1 comment:

laurie in maine said...

Well, there you are! Tried to peek at your site when you left a message on my blog but it may have been marked private. I have you bookmarked now!!

My chosen show plants this year were a lesson in what NOT to do (again?)!

First off they were young - new to me - and sight unseen/ bloomingwise. About to bloom when chosing time arrived. Should have disbudded one more time as they peaked a month early. Plus one that had a HUGE !WOW! blossom never got more than 2 or 3 blooms at one time and then the first ones wilted and went by. Never got several fresh blooms out of the darn thing at the same time. One of the other choices was a wasp variety and the blooms drop fast on that one as well.

Call me all THUMBS! I broke a center leaf of one of the plants - dead center in the middle of the plant - there lies a leaf with a giant hang nail!!

Will post my sorry state of affairs to VV once the show has been voted on :)

Lessons learned for next time, eh?!