LOXLEY, Ala.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Eleven varieties of Encore Azaleas are resistant to lace bugs, a major landscaping pest, for eco-friendly pest control, according to a 2009 USDA study. Eco-friendly gardening is a major trend for 2010.
The study, conducted at the USDA-ARS Thad Cochran Horticultural Research Laboratory in Poplarville, Miss., examined 19 varieties of Encore Azalea for host plant resistance to lace bugs. Study results can be found at www.ars.usda.gov.
Research entomologist Grant Kirker reports, “Host plant resistance is an environmentally friendly, low-tech, low-cost method of control that reduces the need for pesticides to manage azalea lace bugs.” Researchers are hopeful that this new knowledge will lead eventually to the breeding of pest-free cultivars.
Encore Azalea creator and plant breeder Robert E. “Buddy” Lee comments, “The more we understand about the genetics of lace bug resistance, the closer we are to achieving more pest-free azaleas.” For more information on Encore Azalea’s 24 varieties, including the resistant varieties, visit www.EncoreAzalea.com.
The Encore Azalea cultivars found to be resistant include Autumn AmethystTM, Autumn TwistTM, Autumn RoyaltyTM, Autumn SangriaTM, Autumn CheerTM, and Autumn RougeTM. Cultivars showing moderate resistance were Autumn EmbersTM, Autumn BravoTM, Autumn StarliteTM, Autumn RubyTM, and Autumn PrincessTM.
Lace bugs can leave a yellowish stippling on the upper and lower leaf surface. If you notice the discoloration, turn the leaves over and look for tarry black spots and the shed skins of nymphs. Adult lace bugs are slightly longer than an eighth of an inch and their wings and body coverings have a characteristic lacy appearance. Severe infestations can lead to reduced plant vigor and loss of leaves.
Breeding efforts have already led to the extension of the bloom season in Encore Azaleas, the #1 best-selling azalea brand in the world and the only patented brand of azaleas to bloom in spring, summer and fall. Encore Azaleas are available in garden centers across the Southeast, East Coast, and West Coast. For a list of retailers or more information on the cultivars, visit www.EncoreAzalea.com.
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