The Q&A Archives: Bugs eating Arnold Red Honeysuckle and Korean Lilac

Question: I planted Arnold Reds & a Korean Lilac last spring. By late June, something was eating their leaves, putting crescent shaped edges, sometimes until barely any leaf was left. It happened fast. Also, the interior leaves on the shrubs died. Bionide helped but the damage was done. Do you have any theories on what did it, and how I can prevent it next summer?

Answer: Crescent shaped holes in the leaves are almost always the result of leaf cutter bees. They take a section of a leaf back to line their nests. Generally it doesn't harm the plant and since we want to encourage bees in our gardens, there is nothing you need to do to prevent them. If the inner leaves died, it could be a normal, natural process or it could indicate some drought stress. Sometimes inner leaves will yellow and drop because they were shaded. As long as your plants are putting out new growth, the crescent shaped holes and the yellowing leaves are nothing to worry about. For best performance, be sure to water your shrubs deeply on a weekly basis, make sure they're getting all day sunshine and that the soil drains well. You can prune them back after they have finished flowering to help them grow thick and dense. Enjoy!

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