Pest on Columbine
Posted: Apr-27-2005 at 1:26pm
Today as I was doing 'the walk' I noticed that something had eaten away all the leaves of my Columbine. It is not the native columbine but a hybrid, i dont have the name of it off hand. Whatever it was worked very fast, there was no problem two days ago. I looked under the leaves and on the ground but there is nothing that i can see that would do that, or mabey i missed it since i have no idea what i am looking for. What would be doing this and how do I treat it?
There is absolutley no foliage on it anymore. There are a few buds left. but i can't tell if they ate any of those as well since there were no buds on it the other day.
Posted: Apr-27-2005 at 4:35pm
Do you have dear deer? I cant remember if they ate our columbine or not, However I know that I dont have any of the origional variety left, and they do have the ability to radically reduce leaves leaving the naked stems behind.
Posted: Apr-27-2005 at 4:55pm
nope i have no deer in my yard. i am glad that we don't for sure. i applied Safe Soap to the columbine but i still would like to know what it is. i did look closer and noticed that only two blooms are left. i had thought at first that they were safe but no.
Posted: Apr-27-2005 at 6:42pm
Someone at the nursery today mentioned that a very small green catapillar was eating their columbines if that is any help.
Posted: Apr-27-2005 at 6:52pm
Another possibility is leaf miners, although their damage usually shows up as pale green "tunnels" on the leaves. For them, one method of control is to cut off all the leaves (which sounds like where you are already), throw them away - don't compost them - and wait for new growth, which almost always comes back free from leaf miners.
I'll have to look through my references and see what other possibilities your culprit could be.
Posted: Apr-27-2005 at 8:54pm
Oh the cutworm ate the tops off of one columbine and the other one made it to NO TOPS at all. Those buggers are mowing my yard down. They drop when you disturb the plant and curl up in the soil or such so you can't find them. I finaly used a bad thing in my flower beds to get rid of some of them.
Posted: Apr-27-2005 at 9:48pm
you got cutworm. I have been fighting them awhile now. like my huchera and solomons seal. look at the base of the plant and underground during the day. They feed at night, and burrow during the day but only go about an inch underground.
small catapiller looking thing. will curl the minute its disturbed, so look at the ground as well as the underside of leave and lower stems. diligencs? I got 8 off one plant one day and 6 the next. Think Ill just pull the plant out and see what they do!
Posted: Apr-27-2005 at 10:14pm
thanks for the great info. i to thought leaf miners at first but wasn't sure because i have not seen the damage they do, only heard from a friend. I am glad to learn the are cutworm. i will go tomorrow and look at the base and in the soil for them. i did spray some safe soap there today. hopefully that will take care of them. thanks again everyone.
Posted: Apr-28-2005 at 8:28pm
The easiest way to find them is same as for slugs, go out at night with a flashlight. I went out, my son held the flashlight and I had cup of soapy water. But that was one flower bed and some fall off and so there are more. Like I said I put something on the plants finaly. Don't really like to but I did it. I will use stuff in flower beds but try to keep it out of the veggies. Hmm does it count if I get it on me Kidding LOL
Posted: Apr-28-2005 at 11:03pm
I have one native that that happened to and thought it was earwig. Will have to check it out more closely. The rest of the plants are having a fight with spit bugs and I'm just trying to squish them off, was hoping the rain would wash them away but no such luck. Saw one little bird try to get one but I don't think it liked the spit.
Posted: Apr-29-2005 at 8:22am
Sparkle--I guess I'm the only one that has this problem every year. I believe it is a sawfly, similar to the defoliating little "worm" on gooseberrries, anybody have that too?
Anyway, you'll find these caterpiller type deals on any leaves that are remaining, and they do work very fast. I have to watch mine now, up here they are due to show up any time now.
I used the safer's Trounce which is soap and pyrethrin, and it eliminated them right away. Just have to respray every week or so coz more crops of eggs will hatch for a while.
I think a cutworm would bite the stem off at the base more, and leave quite a few leaves...just my experience with these. And it has been a yearly experience for some years now!
Posted: Apr-29-2005 at 8:40pm
1.leafminers do there work inside the leaf and dont leave holes, just clear spots in the leaf. they eat the inside and leave the outer layer.
2.soap water, neem, safersoap dont work. Hand remove them or spread DT. I just hunt for them! Buggers are eating my plants! Pay Back Time!
3.Spittlebugs are always big in the summer. No worries the heat of summer will kill them.
4.As for the gooseberry. Got me never had a problem with mine. Hope the booger is a butterfly larve!
Posted: May-01-2005 at 9:59am
Basil--the gooseberries get defoliated by what's called a sawfly. The "worms" do look just like caterpillers to me, but the spray for them wasn't BT caterpiller killer. I eventually got rid of the gooseberry rather than spray poison in the otherwise organic style veggie garden.
A very experienced gardener in Victoria, BC referred to the "worms" that defoliated columbine as "sawfly" as well. I can't remember if that was a scientific statement or just a gardener trying to describe the effect of these voracious little guys, who do a similar almost overnight defoliation on both gooseberry and columbine. The government production guide does refer to the gooseberry pest as a sawfly, which I do believe is not a butterfly family, therefore not susceptible to BT.
I have used trounce on them successfully, as I mentioned. The reason I didn't try BT is I don't have any...the $10 or so for it is not worth it for me, esp. since it has to be bought fresh every year. The "worms" sure look like they would be targets for BT, but entomology is not my strongpoint.
Posted: May-01-2005 at 11:22am
The cutworm does not just cut down new plants at the base. That is a misnomer imho. They climb up the plant and chew off the flower buds, must be the favorite part! But then the leaves get totally chewed up, you would think it is slugs but if you look around there are no slugs but these buggers lingering around. You can find them if you hunt for them esp. at night. BTW they are tannish color not green.
Posted: May-02-2005 at 7:26pm
From the large number of people who have come into the nursery lately with this problem, I'd say this is a bad year for cutworms in the Puget Sound area at least. For the people who don't want to hand pick, what do you think will work? Has BT worked for anyone? Or a product containing neem oil? I hear Lilly Millers Go West Meal works but it is toxic and dangerous to animals and I'd like an alternative to recommend. Actually I say it only as a last resort and always use a trap to put it in so animals can't get at it, but I know it also kills the good groud beetles that eat slugs and I don't like that either. At home I've seen some damage but I just hope nature will find a balance and I have enough columbines and foxgloves to spare a few! Good to find out the culpit on gooseberries is a sawfly and BT won't work, I have a friend who had this problem last year. I'll have to look for an organic remendy.