Protecting Your Pineapple Plants from Pests
Pineapple plants are inherently disease resistant; they do not succumb easily to diseases or pests like other fruit-bearing plants. Contrary to perception, pineapples do not belong to Hawaii; it is, in fact, the native fruit of South America. Because of its disease-resistant capability, it is one of the most commercially grown fruits in the world.
Pineapple plants require very less care and can yield healthy fruits even if left unattended. If you are growing pineapples in your garden, some pests, particularly mealybugs and mites, may attack the pineapple plants. Even if the plants are attacked, it is quite easy to take care of the infected plants.
Curb the Carriers
Mealybug attacks are a cause of concern for pineapple plants. Mealybugs attach themselves to their hosts (in this case, pineapple plants) and feed on the sap of their host plants, which causes blackening of leaves. The growth of the plants thus gets stunted, thus reducing the fruit yield. Mealybugs are very vulnerable insects; however, when they get protection from ants (for the sweet mealy substance produced by these bugs), they can cause considerable damage to the plants. Hence, curbing the movement or growth of ants in and around pineapple plants is the best method of prevention.
Using mild insecticides for ants is advisable, but do not use white oil or harsh chemicals as it will also harm the pineapple plant. Even if your pineapple plant gets attacked by mealybugs, use mild soap water to wash them off. Removing the infected parts will also help in improving the health of the plant. Keeping the soil well drained as mealybugs cannot thrive in dry conditions. In extreme cases of infestation, use recommended environment friendly pesticides.
Other Disease-Causing Pests
Mites, beetles, and nematodes are some of the common pests that attack pineapple plants. However, the type of pest attack varies from region to region. Mite attacks can be identified immediately as the leaves of the plant appear red. In order to protect the plant from mites, beetles, and nematodes, spray the plant regularly with soap water. A simpler method is to pour water over plant while watering it. This will flush out the insects, which will then fall prey to their respective predators. In case of extreme infestations, using pesticides is the only option. If you want to prevent pest infestation beforehand by means of insecticides, then use 1,3-dichloropropene (1,3-D) as a fumigant. This will inhibit the growth of any type of pest.
For Healthy Growth
Pineapples thrive in warm and humid climate; it is necessary to protect them from an extremely cold environment. Although the plants can tolerate cold nights to a certain extent, prolonged exposure to low temperatures will result in stunted growth and sour fruits. To avoid this, keep the plant indoors during winters. When winters are over, do not immediately expose them to direct sunlight. First, place them in shade for few days; once the plant gets accustomed to the new environment, it can be exposed to full sunlight.