As young as you don’t feel

It’s gotten harder, and I know why: 53. That’s why. I don’t like to talk about it, because there’s a certainty that will come and then it’ll be over. Most of us don’t know when it’ll happen, but it will. Do you think it’s morbid to talk about dying? We see it in the garden all the time, but out of the garden we don’t like to talk about it.

It’s happening here and now with a viburnum. I didn’t notice until it was too late to do anything about it. (Which is probably how I’ll go.) The culprit: Viburnum Leaf Beetle. They overwintered as eggs on the twigs of my plant and I had no clue. The larvae in the photo are feasting on one of the leaves. Early spring gardening which at times seems so hectic, kept me from noticing the lack of foliage on the bottom half of the viburnum. Over the next three days it was completely defoliated and skeletonized.

The above photo was taken May 22. There were still a few remaining leaves located on the tip of the shrub. But over the next two days, every leaf was devoured.



Research says that if the VLB attacks your plant like this for 3 consecutive seasons, the shrub is a goner. An “Entomological Notes” fact sheet I have from Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences says that “many of the viburnums affected are species native to the United States.” It also mentions “less susceptible” varieties but we all know there’s no guarantees.




By TC Conner

Pro hobbyist photographer, drone enthusiast, musician, husband and father.

13 replies on “As young as you don’t feel”

Hey, not-so-old man! Those VLBs (maybe another acronym suits them better!) must be a link in some food chain. It’s the only nice thing I can think of at the moment. You know, I think I’d rather go when the time comes with hoe or shovel in hand, like a good garden-soldier should. Am I preaching to the “quire” here? It’s my WV for today.

I womder what bird likes to eat them? I always think there must be some good for every bug.I am sad when a plant dies. I accept seed to seed as on going life. When we had an early spring in 2007, and a week of late freezing temps, over 400 plants died in my gardens, some were old friends. I was depressed! It changed the way I garden. Now I only plant native to my area. If they die I figure I tried….Sometimes talking about dying is just me saying I am tired. The baby starlings are making me tired!I may have to take the feeders down! I need a long vacation.I enjoyed catching up this morning.Sherry

You’re much too young to feel so old (there’s a song in that).I tried to get here earlier and it wouldn’t open. Hmm.Nasty things. I like the relation to life and death. Sometimes we just can’t see these things coming.

Ms. Terri: The note I have reads: “In late winter or early spring, carefully examine young twigsfor egg sites that seem to swell and lose their covers as the airtemperature increases. Prune out and destroy infested twigs beforeegg hatch. Monitor the lower leaf surface for the presenceof larvae in late spring.” For me, it’s too late to “get rid” of them. Can I borrow your “holedil” if I see them next year??Ms. Frances: Going peacefully in my sleep would be the perfect end. Either that or while dozing on a garden bench in the garden. ;~)Dave: The Penn State note, and other things I’ve researched, say if it happens for three seasons, the viburnum will probably die. I’m not seeing any new foliage growing. Ms. Susie: Next is the waiting game. I’ll be watching for egg sites on the twigs this fall, pruning them out if spotted. Ms. Tina: I’m hoping it’ll bounce back next year. If not, or if it dies, I’ll get another. To quote Felder Rushing “It’s not like you’re married to the plant.” Ms. Zoey: By the time I noticed, major damage had already occurred. I used horticultural oil to no avail (it should’ve been applied much earlier, had I noticed the eggs hatching, I would’ve used it then), and insecticidal soap didn’t help. I’m an organic gardener so I don’t use chemicals. Ms. Marnie: I referred to dormant horticultural oil above in my reply to Ms. Zoey. You have to be careful using it though: “It is most effective when a high rate of oil (4%) is used. However, this high rate of oil can burn plant foliage so apply only before viburnum leaves emerge.” By the time I noticed the little buggers, over half of my plant had been consumed. I’m still kicking myself for not noticing before it got that bad. WS: I’m hoping it makes it through the devastation. We’ll see if that’s what Mother Nature has in mind. ;~)Skeeter: My! I’m impressed. How did you find the time to do all that catchin up?? This is the first time I’ve ever been honored in such a way. Thanks a lot for the comments on my previous posts!

My sympathy’s for your loss! :-(Been catching up a bit today. Love the shadow play. Makes one look at things a bit differently. I am lucky that I dont have to drain the gas from my yard equipment. Love this Deep South Livin’… Although I have felt like taking the sledge hammer to a few of the tools before as well as the computer…Your inventive guitar picks had my giggle gone going. But then again, one must make do with what they have at the time. We did not grow up with a lot so I know the lessons of “make do”…. Traffic jams are the pits. At first glance I thought you were in England as it looks like the cars are traveling the wrong direction. I guess a funny illusion or side road is to blame Or maybe my bad eyes…Happy Anniversary a bit late here but you know what they say, better late then never!!! Love the Peeps…Okay now the debate here. Krystal or White Castle? I grew up in TN on the KY border and we had Krystal’s and not White Castles. But over the years, TN branched out and now have White Castles as well. I think they are the same in taste and “day after” results. Gut bombs are what we call them. The last time we had them, I thought I was going to die like your bush so no more sack full’s at my age…. arggg… Glad you had a safe trip to KY and back…Think I am caught up now….

Yeah. The idea is that Mother Nature teaches us all things must die – even amid the season of growth. It’s no fun to see a friend die regardless of whether it’s a person or a favorite garden plant.

I hope they never make their way this far west. I’ve heard some people are using dormant oil spray plus pruning out branches with eggs in the fall.Marnie

Terribly ugly pests they are!! If I ever ran into one I’d be running the other way for sure! So sorry for the shrub!

Ugh don’t bring them my way! I would be agonizing over losing a viburnum. Is there any hope of a reemergence of foliage?

Hi TC, you are still a young man. But the sight of the viburnum being devoured is much too real to the human condition of many. I have no fear or reluctance to speak of my own end, but the family doesn’t like to hear it. May we both go peacefully in our sleep. :-)Frances

Begone, evil beetles! Seriously, how do you get rid of them? Put them in a “holedil” and leave them there, I say!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.