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Garden Q&A: Coralberry and booklice, yes, booklice. Eww.

Coralberry is a native flowering plant also known as Indian currant that produces a pink berry that persists into the winter. - Original Credit: For The Baltimore Sun
Coralberry is a native flowering plant also known as Indian currant that produces a pink berry that persists into the winter. - Original Credit: For The Baltimore Sun(Ellen Nibali / HANDOUT)

I’m excited about planting a “berry walk” to provide food for birds. I saw this plant with pink berries but haven’t been able to identify it. Is it native? Looks like a mix of my red winterberry and purple beautyberry. Is that possible?

Coralberry is also known as Indian currant, a hint that, yes, it is native from East Coast to Midwest. A low shrub, around 3-4 feet high, it creates dense patches of arching stems good for naturalizing or erosion control in sun or part shade. The deciduous leaves can have a blue-green tint. Flowers are small and pink in June and July.

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Its berries — drupes, actually — would be a good addition to your berry walk, being relished by many birds. Deer are not big fans. The berries persist, staying ornamental through much of winter. Prune to manage Symphoricarpos orbiculatus.

This vigorous spreader expands by suckers and tip layering. ‘Hancock’ is a two foot high variety, and there are variegated ones, too.

I found tiny insects crawling around my wardrobe and clothes. At first, I reckoned they could be bedbugs, but I did some research and now I think they could be booklice. I did find one crawling on top of an old book, so that makes sense. Anyway, help!

Send us photos for a positive identification. Be sure they are in focus. Booklice thrive in high humidity but do virtually no damage.

Try to locate their food source — glue on book bindings, mold, even human food. Eliminate the food. Vacuum and dehumidify the room if it is damp. Cleaning is a primary management tool. Books can be vacuumed, and moldy ones wiped clean. Decluttering promotes better air circulation, thus a drier environment, and it is a great time of year for it.

Search ‘booklice’ on the Home and Garden Information Center website. ——

University of Maryland Extension’s Home and Garden Information Center offers free gardening and pest information at extension.umd.edu/hgic. Click “Ask Maryland’s Gardening Experts” to send questions and photos.

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