The Q&A Archives: Bugs Eating Foliage

Question: We have newly purchased (two months) bougainvilla, a tangelo and a ruby red grapefruit tree. Something is eating the leaves and turning them yellow. On the ) bougainvilla, the leaves are spotted white and you can see where they've been chewed. I've tried Fresh Start but it's not working. Please advise.

Answer: It's really important to identify exactly what is damaging your plants before attempting to spray something on them. You may do more harm than good. Spraying will kill beneficial insects as well as the "bad guys." Also, it's best to start with the easiest, most benign method first and if that doesn't work, move on from there. Chewing marks, yellowing, and white spots are likely all different symptoms of different issues, and the yellowing is more likely due to ineffective watering than insects problems. I recommend you take or send samples of all the affected foliage to Pima County Cooperative Extension. They have Master Gardeners who can help you identify exactly what is going on and recommend a course of action. Pima County Cooperative Ext., 4210 Campbell Ave, Tucson, 520-626-5161. Call to get their hours. Good luck!

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