Roots, Shoots, Fruits & Flowers: Master Gardener Classes, Hibiscus Aphids, Cudweed & Lyreleaf Sage


A banner by a skillful Master Gardener. Photo: Jimmy Earl Cooley, MG.

Master Gardener Classes

The LSU AgCenter and Cenla Master Gardeners will start new Master Gardener classes on April 27, 1-4 pm. The location will be new for 2021 and occur at Central LA Business Incubator, 1501 Wimbledon Blvd, Alexandria. LA Master Gardeners are AgCenter Volunteers who receive horticultural training in weeds, insects, plant diseases, turf, vegetables, ornamental plants, and other related topics. The cost is $150, and classes will end in August.For more information about MG classes, please contact Keith Hawkins, Area Horticulture Agent (AHA), 337-463-7006.


A hibiscus infested with black aphids. Photo: Wayne Jones.

Hibiscus Aphids

Wayne sent an email with a clear image of some tiny pests attacking his hibiscus, “Can you help identify the critter on my hibiscus? We have applied Viper and insecticidal soap, but it does not seem to do any good. The critters were on the plant when I bought it at [a local garden center].”

Before he retired, Dan Gill, an AgCenter horticulture specialist, addressed this specific pest, “Aphids are small, sucking insects that cluster on the flower buds, new growth and under leaves in the spring. Their feeding can cause the foliage to look shiny and feel sticky. Aphids are not fatal to hibiscuses, but as they feed on the sap, they weaken the plant and can cause stunted growth, deformed leaves, bud drop and yellow, dropping leaves. Control aphids with sprays of light horticultural oils (Year-Round Spray Oil, All Seasons Oil), insecticidal soap or a pyrethroid like permethrin, bifenthrin, cyfluthrin or others.”


Cudweed, a cool season weed. Photo: Christy Frederic, Master Gardener.


Christy, a regular contributor to RSFF, sent images with an email about a weed issue, “[I] Am seeing this weed more this year than ever. When I first saw it, I thought it was a blanket flower seedling. Nope. Lots of spreading behavior and then these ugly seed heads.... I would describe this one as a heinous weed!”

Christy has cudweed in her landscape. In lawns, a selective herbicide with atrazine or with 2,4-D will control broadleaf weeds while leaving grass unharmed. Before applying herbicides, always read the label for a safe and effective treatment of weeds.


Lyreleaf sage is a native wildflower. Photo: Jessie Hoover, LSU AgCenter.

Lyreleaf Sage

Leasha of Grant Parish has lyreleaf sage (LLS) taking over her yard and wanted to know to control this weed. Again, selective herbicides with atrazine or with 2,4-D will control LLS.

Jessie Hoover, a horticulture agent with the AgCenter, wrote a narrative about LLS as a native wildflower, “Lyreleaf Sage, Salvia lyrata, is in the mint family and has a very long stem with small tubular flowers. I normally see a pale blue or violet color in our area. The base of the plant has a rosette of wide, green leaves that sometimes have purple accents.”

If you want to contact Roots, Shoots, Fruits and Flowers, please send your questions and pictures to Keith Hawkins, Area Horticulture Agent (AHA), 337-463-7006 or Also, you can be on the “green thumbs” email list by emailing your request to the address above.

“Before you buy or use an insecticide product, first read the label, and strictly follow label recommendations. Mention of trade names or commercial products in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute endorsement by Louisiana State University AgCenter.”

“This work has been supported, in part, by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Renewable Resources Extension Act Award, Accession Number 1011417.”

4/9/2021 4:36:46 PM
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