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A cactus caretakers nightmare............


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#1 Skywatcher

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Posted 22 May 2020 - 05:06 PM

I woke to a beautiful warm day and was doing my usual morning garden check to see how everyone is looking. My cactus are usually really taking off this time of year, so I was checking the new growth and new for this year pups.

 

One of my most prized Bridgessii had thrown a bottom pup this year and I wanted to see how it was doing.As I looked I realized the crown of the pup looked like it had a hole...........

 

Icaros bore damage full size.jpg   Icaros bore damage.jpg

 

Closer exam after bringing it out to look in full sun revealed it had indeed been bored into, right at the center crown. I was really upset as I immediately was thinking bore's, which can tunnel into the cactus core, lay grubs, which then eat your cactus from the inside out, often showing no evidence until it is too late and the cactus collapses. At this point I was ready to do whatever it takes to halt this and was fearing I may have already found this too late. 

 

I decided my only coarse was to uproot it, check for any evidence of infestation or damage, and remove the pup. I felt I would rather sacrifice one pup than lose the entire cactus.

Fingers crossed...

 

The roots and base looked good with no soft, yellowed or eaten areas.

 

Left side root and base.jpg   right side root and base.jpg

 

Feeling better I still needed to find how far the bore had tunneled, hopefully not into the main cactus. I carefully removed the pup with a very sharp blade to make a smooth cut with no ragged edges. Once removed I checked the contact surface on both the pup and the main cactus and was able to breathe when I saw there was no hole continuing out of the pup.

 

cut side of pup.jpg   Pup removed.jpg

 

I still needed to find out how extensive the tunnel was , so since there was no chance for the pup to survive with the core eaten out I went ahead and sliced in.....

 

Pup interior.jpg

 

I wish I could have found the borer itself, but the chamber was empty. The cut part of the main cactus was treated with root tone to heal it faster and make sure no problems would occur as it air drys for several days and forms a scar before re-potting.

 

Because I could not find the bore I have to assume it could still be around. I will need to check every pot and every cactus (which is no small task). I'll be sweeping the areas where my columnars sit and debating if I want to use a systemic to insure it can't eat ito any of the others. I always hesitate to use such extreme toxins, so I will hold off a while....

 

It could have been worse......

 


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#2 Mycol

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Posted 22 May 2020 - 05:39 PM

Sorry to hear about your troubles but I Learned something from your post . Good luck !
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#3 Skywatcher

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Posted 22 May 2020 - 06:09 PM

That was the reason I documented this, actually anticipating a far worse mess.



#4 Moonless

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Posted 22 May 2020 - 06:28 PM

Wow a close call indeed. I sure hope the others are alright!

 

Good thing you caught it!


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#5 Choices

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Posted 22 May 2020 - 07:46 PM

Thanks for the info sky. What typical makes a bore like that? Some sort of bug?

#6 Arathu

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Posted 22 May 2020 - 08:01 PM

Literally...holy shit. I wonder if there is a counterpart here. I lost parodia this year from the inside out for sure.......

 

Man now I'll be crawling around the cacti tomorrow......thanks Skye..good catch.

 

A


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#7 ElPirana

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Posted 22 May 2020 - 08:02 PM

Sorry ‘bout the loss of the pup, but thankfully it wasn’t any worse!
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#8 Skywatcher

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Posted 22 May 2020 - 09:01 PM

Thanks for the info sky. What typical makes a bore like that? Some sort of bug?

Yes, specifically I suspected a beetle , but there are moths that lay eggs to make grubs that feed on cactus as well. Birds and small furry pests can also attack cactus.

I went to beetle because I had an Agave I lost to the long snout weevil last year....

There is a pretty full list of cactus afflictions here:

https://cactiguide.com/cactipests/


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#9 Thwomp

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Posted 23 May 2020 - 01:46 AM

You mentrioned that you "treated with root tone"... I was wondering what root tone was.  


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#10 Alpoehi

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Posted 23 May 2020 - 04:31 AM

Thanks for pointing that out, Skywatcher. I will have a decent look on that loph in the picture on the left.

The other one got eaten by a bug I think. We have plenty of them and they appear to love the taste of peyote ... see also the red spiders on it, they appear to be harmless.

 

I keep my lophs inside of the house  for that reason. I'm glad I will move away from this place next month. Woodworkers here and bugs.

Attached Thumbnails

  • loph.JPG
  • red_spider.JPG

Edited by Alpoehi, 23 May 2020 - 05:12 AM.

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#11 Skywatcher

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Posted 23 May 2020 - 08:36 AM

You mentrioned that you "treated with root tone"... I was wondering what root tone was.  

 

Root tone is a dry powder rooting hormone I use regularly when encouraging roots to form. It also has great quality's for healing a fresh cut quickly with no rot or infection. Powdered cinnamon or sulfur would also be suitable, but I had neither of those.

For cactus the dry powder is preferred over a gel type, because wetness is not good for healing and fresh cuts.

 

8292e5.jpg

 

 

Thanks for pointing that out, Skywatcher. I will have a decent look on that loph in the picture on the left.

The other one got eaten by a bug I think. We have plenty of them and they appear to love the taste of peyote ... see also the red spiders on it, they appear to be harmless.

 

Good picture Alpoehi. The hole appears to be not deep and well healed. I would suspect a bird or small animal inflicted that. I would probably check the roots and base on that one, but not cut anything. You can keep an eye on it this season, and intervene if you see any yellowing or orange around the hole, but it looks fine other than the aesthetics. Even that will eventually be un-noticable.

 

Spider mites can reproduce crazily and inflict a lot of damage. They especially like tender new growth. I would treat those and you will likely need more than one treatment. Keep the Loph out of the direct sun when you treat as it can burn with the neem or any insecticide on it.
 


Edited by Skywatcher, 23 May 2020 - 08:47 AM.

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#12 tregar

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Posted 23 May 2020 - 09:44 AM

Skywatcher, what kind of soil mix do you use? Amazing looking bridgesii. Also, do you grow under 30 to 50% shadecloth?


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#13 Skywatcher

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Posted 23 May 2020 - 05:04 PM

Skywatcher, what kind of soil mix do you use? Amazing looking bridgesii. Also, do you grow under 30 to 50% shadecloth?

Thanks tregar.

For any of my Trich columnar s, I use a combination of cheap Lowes cactus and palm mix, and add cintar or lava rock or pumice, coarse sand and small gravel. I have found them to not be overly picky and the proportions vary depending on what I have on hand.

 

I do not use shade cloth. I am in So. Cal so it gets hot and sunny. I keep most of my columnar s on the south patio that faces east. They do not get shade from the lattice patio roof, so I keep them mixed with other plants like sago, plumaria, and some other shrubby open plants that break up the sunlight. During the mid day and early afternoon heat there is a mimosa tree on that side that provides a little broken shade from the heat of the day. I do move them around if I see one looking like it is getting yellower from too much sun.

 

If I had to break it down I would say unfiltered sun in the morning until 10:30 or so, broken 30% sun from 11:00 until around 3:00 or thereabout, and then a mix of lessening direct and broken going to bright shade from 4 to 5 on.

 

That particular Bridgessii was a gift from a friend that was a little 3" x1" cutting of Icaros. The little piece grew a pup that was doing really well when I took it off to grow on its own. That little piece has continued to make bigger healthy pups and I believe there are two starts that have been gifted, and I have one about ready to take and start on its own again. I love the banding of blue and the fat top of this variety. I have not tested its content yet......


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#14 Boebs

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Posted 23 May 2020 - 08:43 PM

Icaros is a type of Peruvian torch.
That does look more like a Peruvian rather that bridgesii to me.

A beautiful cactus regardless:)
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#15 Skywatcher

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Posted 23 May 2020 - 09:52 PM

The clarification is appreciated Boebs. It's one of my favorites..............


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#16 Boebs

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Posted 24 May 2020 - 11:08 AM

Im jealous of it honestly, its harder to find Peruvian for me. Ive had to grow them from seed.
Most people have cuzcoensis and try to pass them off as Peruvian torch.

Sry to see the pup go.. but always safe than sorry!
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#17 tregar

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Posted 25 May 2020 - 08:56 AM

Thanks for the soil mix & growing pointers Skywatcher, much appreciated!


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#18 pharmer

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Posted 25 May 2020 - 11:01 AM

Im jealous of it honestly, its harder to find Peruvian for me. Ive had to grow them from seed.
Most people have cuzcoensis and try to pass them off as Peruvian torch.

Sry to see the pup go.. but always safe than sorry!

Yup. I got a Couzco sold as torch. Vigorous grower and not unattractive so I haven't killed it off.


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