Louisiana has a warm, humid, coastal climate that makes it an ideal place to grow crops year round. In fall, late-season crops such as pumpkin, and late-season tomatoes and okra thrive, while cool-season plants such as broccoli and lettuce will grow well all the way into the early spring months. Because of this, winter gardeners in Louisiana have to contend with garden pests that give up for the winter in more northern latitudes.
Although most wild animals are not very active in winter, they will set out in search of food. Year round, gardens must be safeguarded against deer, raccoons and other wildlife. But winter is a time when forage crops disappear. Unless you have a good fence to keep wildlife out of your garden, luscious vegetation on leafy green crops can be a tempting source of food for these wild animals. Although deer primarily stick with leafy plants, raccoons will eat a varied diet from crayfish to berries and garbage.
According to the LSU Agricultural center, late season caterpillars are such a problem in the fall garden that their favorite crop, sweet corn, is not recommended for fall gardens. Sweet corn can be planted in spring, because pressure from caterpillars is at its lowest at that point. However, since hot summers are conducive to bug life cycles, sweet corn and other plants don’t stand a chance in the fall garden.
Sweet Potato Weevils
Sweet potatoes are a major cash crop in Louisiana. Because of this, the Sweet potato weevils are a major pest in southern Louisiana. Sweet potato weevils are a pest that lives all around the world in tropical regions. In the United States, this pest is present in all coastal regions of the Southern United States. Areas where the weevil is a pest are under quarantine to prevent the spread of the weevil to other parts of the state. The weevil’s life cycle is approximately 45 days in length. Weevil populations do not undergo a delay in development over winter months, but instead seek shelter during bouts of cold weather.