Q: How do I identify and control Fuchsia Gall Mite?
This nasty pest arrived a decade ago and does cause trouble for a limited number of fuchsia growers in the south but be vigilant as, like all other pests, it will spread.
Being a rather shy, retiring microscopic creature the mite does not reveal itself to the naked eye. Somewhat of a squatter, its occupation of the new shoot tips of fuchsias isn’t noticeable until they become unsightly, twisted and misshapen. The infected shoots become more distorted as they develop due to increasing number of mites jostling for food in a limited space. A few escape and infect neighbouring shoots - and the infection is off and running.
Of course, these little residents are all using the same food source of nutritious plant sap and swapping it for toxic chemicals, a selfish one-sided relationship in favour of the mites - which further affects the new growth and developing flower buds. The plant may survive but will never look healthy or produce a display of exotic looking fuchsia flowers as we know them. Different varieties of fuchsia are affected to different levels - so the severity of symptoms can vary.
We believe that prevention is better than cure:
- Don’t take cuttings of fuchsias from the wild or public areas. If offered a cutting check it and that other plants are disease free.
- Only buy from mail order sources you can trust (of course that's us!). All our plants are supplied from Norfolk and Cheshire and cutting material is also from UK sources.
- Check your plants weekly during the growing season and quietly keep an eye on fuchsias in neighbouring gardens and hedgerows. Be a know-all and tell them if you spot it. They will thank you.
But if you have fuchsia gall mite, this is our best advice:
- Cutting off the infested shoot tips will remove many mites but regrowth can become infested and so a weekly follow-up check of your plants is required.
- Prune away any new growth that is showing early symptoms. This has proved to be an efficient way of keeping mite damage under control.
- Cut back all the fuchsias in the garden to ground level and destroy the prunings - don’t throw them on the compost heap. Either burn or put them in sealed plastic bag plastic in the sun so they dry out and then throw away. Your plants will soon reshoot next season.
- Remember to wash your hands and secateurs before handling any other fuchsias.
And if you need a little chemical intervention then check out our pesticides - and always, always, always follow the manufacturer's instructions to the letter. That’s always.