Phoenix Gardening Tip: Removing Spittlebugs

Spittlebug on Autumn SageFunny, how things sometimes happen.  I was just reading about Spittlebugs when I walked out into my Phoenix desert garden and found…Spittlebugs!

What looks like…yes, spit…at plant nodes is actually hiding the feeding nymphs of the adult Spittlebug.  They can attack almost any of our xeriscape plants, but they favor herbaceous, woody plants and conifers.  This happens to be a Salvia greggii which can be susceptible to these guys.

The adults are probably long gone…they’ll jump or fly when disturbed…leaving behind their plant-sucking nymphs.  A heavy infestation can affect plant tissues and slow growth, but often the infestation is occasional and not threatening to the plant.  Here’s the best gardening tip I have:  simply spray the stuff off with a hose.

If taking a more extreme approach suits you better, you can prune off and dispose of the affected parts of the plant.  But this is a tough thing to do when the temp outside is 109 degrees!  Plus, the pruned areas can then attract aphids…which you’ll probably want to remove with a mild soap.

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