Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Pacific Northwest

November, 2004
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

Autumn Crocuses
Autumn crocuses are such a welcome sight! Just as everything else in the garden begins to disappear, they send up their bright and cheery blossoms. My collection includes Crocus speciosus with violet flowers and C. kotschyanus with lavender-blue blooms.

Autumn crocuses are particularly effective when planted in drifts or massed along the edges of flower beds. I have some tucked into the rock garden and placed under deciduous shrubs where their bright blooms are unexpected. Although they are tolerant of dry shade, they perform best in full sunshine in rich, well-draining soils.

Tool or Gardening Product

SMARTrap Moth Traps
Enticing new lures developed by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists could make backyard gardens, fruit orchards, and crop fields places of no return for pesky caterpillars.

The lures, derived from molasses and floral odors, tantalize both male and female moths with the promise of nectar. Instead, the insects fly into the opening of a lure-dispensing trap, never to escape.

Most lures on the market depend on the male moth's sense of smell. These lures work by dispensing a synthetic version of the female moth's chemical sex attractant, or pheromone, which the males find irresistible. Saturating the air with synthetic pheromone confuses the male moths, disrupting their ability to find mates. Such lures also are used to monitor the pests' movements and whereabouts. But most lures offer no way of keeping tabs on the female moths, according to researchers.

The new lures contain blends of volatile compounds from molasses combined with various floral scents, including those from Oregon grape, honeysuckle, and gaura flowers, that attract both sexes of moths. The molasses-derived lure is now commercially available for garden use as the product SMARTrap.

SMARTrap uses an LED light and chemical attractants to catch moths. The light turns on automatically at dusk, off at dawn. The trap sells for $30 and includes two attractant cartridges: one floral (yellow) attractant, the other a sugar (green) attractant. Complete instructions are included. One trap hung about 10 inches above the ground protects up to 150 sq. ft. of garden.


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