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Root maggots (I think)

Hi everyone,

Am looking for a bit of help.  Am tormented with root maggots - I honestly don't know where they're all coming from.  We live on an estate in a country town and the land around us (and the land that the estate is built on) is a bit boggy so not sure if that has something to do with it.

The estate is relatively new so I'm starting out with pots rather than planting out, as we're planning to do a big job on the garden next year.  But its a few of these pots that seem to be giving me trouble - I have a lovely japonica shrub that was being eaten alive until I repotted it at the weekend (I hadn't noticed any stilted growth but seven fell out of the root ball and the leaves have started falling off since I repotted it on Sunday image), a hebe that wasn't so bad but that was actually out the front and nowhere near the japonica, and when I swept the path on Sunday and left the sweeping brush outside for two days by accident I went to get it on Tuesday and there were about five of the little buggers in the bristles.

What's the best way of treating my plants for these - or is there one? 

Thanks for any advice,

em x


  • emmaroseemmarose Posts: 21

    Sorry, forgot to post, put root maggots (I think) because I'm almost sure that's what they are but if anyone thinks differently please let me know.  Transparent to white worm-like things, will try and get a pic if that helps.

  • BorassusBorassus Posts: 16

    Hi Emma, could they be vine weevil larvae? Take a look on a search engine to be sure. These are really common pests of potted plants and can do a lot of damage chewing on the roots. The best way to control them is with the chemical Provado, which is applied to the roots, but if you prefer not to use chemicals, then repot the plants, removing all the old compost. You'll also need to head outside at night with a torch, to try and catch the adults before they lay more eggs.

  • emmaroseemmarose Posts: 21

    Borassus, that's exactly what they are image.    Will be passing a garden centre later so will get some Provado and see how I get on.  My fear is that they'll spread to the other pots I have outside, which seem to be ok at the moment.  I have a a few plants that are really thriving and don't want to lose them.

    Thanks a million, and have a lovely Easter.

  • BorassusBorassus Posts: 16

    You're welcome Emma!

    Be vigilant with your other pots, as plants rarely show symptoms until a lot of damage has been done to the roots so, where possible, lift plants out of pots and inspect the roots, looking for grubs. It's especially important to check pot-grown strawberries, primroses, heucheras, sedums and geums, as vine weevils really like these plants!

    Happy Easter!

  • emmaroseemmarose Posts: 21

    Hi Borassus,

    Just to give you an update....

    Apparently you can't get Provado here now (live in Ireland but not sure if its just Ireland or not) so garden centre recommended Nemasys, which is a natural solution - increases the number of nematodes in the soil which then eat the eggs and grubs (they're in the soil already but there wouldn't be near enough of them to make an impact).  Apparently you dose the plants well ideally at the end of Feb before the season starts for them in Mar/Apr and the one dose will do the year .  Have it on order but they told me because I have them this year I'll definitely have them next year too so will have to dose them again next Feb.

    Mum has some heucheras so will have to tell her to keep an eye out, although I'm not sure if they're in pots or all in her rockery.

    Thanks again for your help.


  • Nemasys works well for me in north glos - its available online from several sources, they are a nematode, but they only work on the grubs not the adults.  nice warm and well drained pots they love, so keep trying to spot the adults too & well just kill the little devils.  if you touch them, they play dead and drop to the ground up side down making them even harder to spot, like the red lily beetle.  the nematodes need moist soil to work, so you can't let the pots dry out & they don't work if its too cold.  If you've spotted some there is probable as many again that are hidden.  They don't only live in pots - found one of the grubs in my lawn last weekend!  have good easter

  • emmaroseemmarose Posts: 21

    Thank for your response DG image.  I ordered the Nemasys today from a company in Dublin that sell it, so should get it next week.  Our pots are all in the back garden, which gets a good bit of sun (but only when the sun decides to come out LOL!) and we've had a few mornings with unexpected frost recently so I'll watch for that when I add it next week.

    That's good to know about the adults too.  I'll admit I'd never think of checking for them. 

    I've repotted most of my shrubs now in fresh compost mix but have a berberis and a spirea that are more established than the others and didn't check them last weekend so must do that tomorrow. We got a blackcurrant bush as a present last week so want to make sure they don't find their way into that!

    Have a lovely Easter.

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