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Subject:  Growing Sunflowers In NC

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I've been growing sunflowers for 10+ years in NC. Growing the giants here is especially problematic.

Problem #1 Squirrels: They will destroy a sunflower for entertainment. As soon as my sunflowers reach climbable size, they go under attack. Squirrels chew the stalks in half before the blossoms even have a chance to develop and if they make it to blooming size the heads are immediately chewed off the first day of flowering. The only way I have successfully battled the squirrels is squirrel-proof cages.

Problem #2 Insect Pest: My area has a problem with what I believe to be the sunflower bud moth. The pest is most damaging to my early planted round of sunflowers. The pest burrows into the apex when the terminal bud first appears. Affected buds have a black goo at the point of entry and this leads stunted and distorted flower heads. I have not taken the time to Identify the pest with 100% certainty because I can eliminate the problem with a couple of methods; by planting after the second week of May or spraying the terminals with 7. However, I prefer not to use any chemicals and the later planted sunflowers don't grow as well.

I'm interested in hearing other experiences and possible solutions to my issues.

3/8/2018 3:33:44 PM

wile coyote

St. Paul, Minnesota

If you have a fenced in area, you want to get a dog. My dog takes care of my critter problem. You might want to try a bug zapper light for the moths since moths are attracted to light.

3/8/2018 5:04:41 PM


valparaiso, in

This was my first year growing sunflowers. I had a rabbit? chew one stalk down. This year I will put fencing around the starts. My biggest issue was squash bugs just chilling on the plants. I just filled up a pump-sprayer with Talstar, and insecticidal soap. I prefer Safer Insect Killing Soap. Kills most bugs after a few minutes. No problems after spraying the plants.

Why don't you want to use any chemicals?

3/9/2018 11:57:39 AM



I have a dog and she does love to chase squirrels, that helps for sure. The zapper light could prove to be helpful, I'll have to give that a try. Thanks

Rabbits and groundhogs love chewing sunflowers as well. I prefer not to use any chemicals because much of my garden is for pollinators. The honeybees are pretty sensitive to the insecticides. I try to avoid spraying anything.

3/9/2018 5:30:25 PM

Total Posts: 4 Current Server Time: 10/23/2020 5:33:35 PM
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