Let’s start with the pests. Apparently, the most unpleasant of them is thrips. It appeared in our country quite recently, when planting material from the USA began to appear. And at first it did not show its pest essence to the full extent. But over time, thrips in some years became a real headache for ornamental plant lovers. You need to know the enemy in the face. What is he? It is an insect, quite small – the adult is just over a millimeter, and the larvae are even smaller, pale yellow in color, almost invisible to the simple eye. They overwinter in the ground, in the roots, and in spring, when the temperature rises to 10-12 degrees above zero, thrips begin their destructive activity. They climb on the leaves of lily of the valley and when the buds appear, they penetrate and suck the sap from both the leaves and the petals, mercilessly deforming them. In years of mass breeding, you may simply not see a full bloom. With the onset of autumn, thrips leave flowers and with the first frosts go to the roots for the winter. The outbreak of this pest is always timed to coincide with hot and dry summers, when lily flowering could be most impressive.

So what should we do about it? How do we fight such an infestation?

Fortunately, the picture painted above is rare in our latitudes, and there is probably no known instance of thrips affecting all lilies in succession. This is a consolation, but a weak one. After all, even the loss of ornamental of a single variety alone can nullify the work of creating, for example, some monochromatic composition. So what should we do? If you find a thrips infestation it is best to cut the damaged flower stalk off at the root and burn it. If the leaves are also damaged, do the same with them. In autumn and spring, treat the soil around the shrub with insecticide. Even the simplest Inta-vir helps, although newer preparations give better results. Naturally, do not leave plant debris on the beds – the remaining thrips can overwinter there.

Another pest that damages lily flowers is the lily leaf beetle.

The adult individual lays its eggs in the buds. The larva that hatches begins to feed inside the bud, damaging and deforming it. Visually, the bud looks crooked, underdeveloped, paler than other buds not marked by the presence of this larva. But in the case of the lily bug as well, as in the case of thrips, disaster does not occur. Usually, a negligible number of buds on the plant are damaged. If they are found, the buds should be removed and burned.

But there is no escape from the next pest! Its name is the water vole (Arvicola terrestris). What only was suggested to fight this rodent – poisons and traps, but it does not care. It survives by obeying only the laws of cyclicity, and the number of rodents peaks once in three or four years. Then these voracious voles which don’t need water despite their generic name, eat lily and tulip bulbs in our gardens, gnaw roots of young apples and ornamental bushes, and of course, completely devour rhizomes of lilies. Sure enough – such a delicacy! Juicy and fleshy – a real treat for water voles! Of course, it must be fought with commonly available means of controlling rodents, but, unfortunately, there is no panacea.

Among other pests that are sometimes noted on lilies are slugs, aphids and spider mites. But the spider mite in our climate can not be any serious pest. How to deal with aphids, if they appear, everyone knows, and slugs can be dealt with quite effectively with the familiar “Thunderstorm”.

Unfortunately, our handsome redwoods sometimes get sick. The most common disease is root rot. We will not go into detail and consider which of the two possible pathogens of this disease attacked the plant. The symptoms are the same, and the treatment consists of the same uncomplicated operations. First about the symptoms: in the spring, at the beginning of vegetation, when it is time for rapid growth of the above-ground part of the plant, this growth stops, the leaves that have already appeared by this time, turn yellow, become brittle, and when you try to yank them slightly, easily pulled out of the ground. What to do? Dig out the plant, cut out all the diseased parts with a sharp knife, then wash in a pink solution of manganese KMgO4. Treat the cut places with any fungicide, and – dry. Dry well, for two days, then plant back in the ground, of course, in another place. Lilies should not be planted in the previous place for at least a year. There is a silver lining – with such a “barbaric” cutting of part of the rhizome, usually awakens a mass of dormant buds, giving rise to a mass of new shoots. Of course, one should not expect such a lily to bloom in the next couple of years.Lily leaf rust

Another plague that can only appear in our country is the lily leaf rust – a terrible fungal disease, not yet known in our country. One of its intermediate hosts (rust has a very complex, multistage cycle of development) is patronia – a relative of our valerian. As the saying goes, forewarned is forearmed. Let’s not plant patronia on our plots.

And lastly (although it does not relate to either diseases or pests) – late May frosts. They are absolutely fine for the vast majority of hybrid lilies, but can have a negative effect on the very early blooming species lilies – Milford, Middendorf. At the end of May, when there can be frosts below -5 degrees, these species already have fully formed buds. After a hard frost, the buds look as if they have been damaged by the lily moth – deformed, with altered color. Practically after such a temperature exposure, the buds fall off without opening. The lily leaf beetle, on the other hand, is just beginning its parasitic activity at this time.

That is, perhaps, all about pests and diseases. Not much, you will agree. Yes, the lily leaf is also a very convenient flower in this respect – it is almost not prone to diseases, and has only a couple of genus-specific pests. This does not mean that it is not necessary to fight with them, but it is easier to fight with two than with a large number.