Violets being eaten - Knowledgebase Question

Kent, Wa
Question by jmarshall65
June 30, 2010
Something is eating holes in my violet leaves and in some cases, only the stems are left. Is there a way for me to send a photo to you?

Answer from NGA
June 30, 2010


Unfortunately, our system isn't set up to receive photos. Holes and considerable eating points to something like large caterpillars with chewing mouthparts such as hornworms or cutworms that come out at night. If you've examined the undersides of leaves and see nothing during the day, where you see damage, dig around the plant base with your finger. Cutworms are often found in the top inch or two of soil. Pick them out and dispose of them. Try a "collar" around the plant stems to act as a barrier. Tear a strip of newspaper about 2" wide and a foot long. Wrap it around the stem of the plant placing the bottom end just below the soil surface. This will prevent cutworms from cutting off your tender plants. By the time the paper degrades away, the stems will be larger and stronger, and not subject to cutworm attack. You can try cardboard or paper towel rolls. Just take an empty paper towel or toilet paper roll and cut the cardboard into 3-inch long sections. Place it on the soil around the stem of your transplant, burying the cardboard about one inch into the soil. Another trick is to push a stick into the soil next to the stem of the plant, to keep the cutworms from curling around the stem and eating through it. If you do find a potential culprit, feel free to send a detailed description and we can suggest controls. Good luck!

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