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Fighting the Battle Against Garden Pests

Former Huntington Library nursery manager will detail organic approach to thwarting common garden threats, at Saturday Farmers’ Market

Published on Wednesday, March 11, 2020 | 3:23 pm
Roses destroyed by Chili Thrips

Spring means flowers, and in Pasadena, that mostly means roses. But for the last five or six years, roses have been fighting a Coronavirus battle of their own.

According to Dan Berry, the former nursery manager at the Huntington Library for 12 years, a pest called Chili Thrips, imported in the last decade accidentally from Asia, will literally devastate the plant, the flower, and the new foliage up by the flower itself.

Berry ran the Huntington’s Integrated Pest Management program for six years, and this Saturday at 8 a.m. at the Pasadena Farmers’ Market, will talk about common garden pests, and various other invasive pests that have also begun to set up home in our backyard.

But the Chili Thrips? That’s the CoronaVirus for your roses and other flowers in your garden.

“The problem is this thing doesn’t stay on the roses,” Berry explained. “Being that it has such a wide host range, it comes in and it’s an all temperature-driven situation. It comes in, it does its devastation, then it goes off, and attacks your citrus or your vegetables or other types of species in the garden also.”

“Polyphagous” is a Greek term for eating many things, says Berry. And that aptly describes what the pest does.

“This is a Southeast Asian pest that was introduced in through the ports unbeknown to us, or Homeland security, or any of the inspection protocols that we have in place,” said Berry. “It’s something that is a real challenge to control.”

According to Berry, the Chili Thrips are the main culprits, but there are others, such as common aphids, along with general garden pests, “like slugs and loopers and things that chew a lot of green, leafy types of plants.”

Berry also explained that his approach to stopping the pests is completely organic, using organic bacteriums that are not synthetic chemicals.

“Depending on which one specifically that you may have in your garden, there’s a certain protocol that I have, ” he said. “I have tried and tested and proven that it works following these protocols. And so that’s what I’m trying to do is to give the home garden expert a little bit of a heads up.

“I’m trying to try to basically step everybody’s game up,” he continued, “so that you have a little better knowledge about what’s going on in your garden and the means to be able to go ahead and do this organically.”

Barry uses what is known as UCCE, the University of California Cooperative Extension, a network of known experts in the field of pest management, along with the University of California Integrated Pest Management program to help explain to garden owners how best to fight the pest fight.

The Certified Farmers’ Market at Victory Park in Pasadena runs from 8:30 a.m. in the 2900 block of North Sierra Madre Boulevard, Pasadena. Mr. Berry will present his information at 8 a.m.


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