Today’s LA Times features an article about this relatively new, untreatable bacterial disease, HLB, that kills citrus trees and is spread by an invasive psyllid. This article “Fight Bugs with Bugs” suggests protecting your trees by actively fighting ant colonies in your garden and also attracting parasitic wasps to your trees because these small wasps will kill the psyllid and thus stop the spread of the bacteria they carry. These are both great ideas, and much better than spraying toxic insecticides which will kill all pollinators, preventing pollination (and fruiting) and killing the wasps we need for protection from many pests. Alyssum, widely available and easy to grow, is suggested as a nectar source, and this will do. However, alyssum is also listed as an invasive plant in Southern California, so there are better options. Instead, try one of our many native or hybrid Salvia (Sage) options. These will stand up to the summer heat, bring lots of beneficial pollinators to your garden, and there are varieties that will be happy growing in sun or shade, under your tree canopy.
Resources + Sources
- LA Times, 4/25/20, “Fight Bugs with Bugs” by Jeanette Marantos
- Plants available locally @ Plant Material in Highland Park, and @ Theodore Payne Foundation in Sun Valley
- Theodore Payne Foundation’s list of nectar rich plants (for monarchs and other pollinators)
- Alyssum + Invasive Status @ Cal-IPC
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