Euonymous Losing Leaves - Knowledgebase Question

Strasburg, OH
Avatar for fkrauss
Question by fkrauss
June 25, 1998
I inherited two euonymous bushes in different areas of my yard. One is fine, but the other had some tiny white lines on the leaves last fall, and now it has lost most of it's leaves. Is this terminal? Is it a fungus or an insect problem? I started spraying with insecticidal soap, but since I am not sure what it is, I don't know if this is the right treatment. Thanks!

Answer from NGA
June 25, 1998
It's difficult to say from your description, but if the lines were erratic, somewhat like tunnels, the leaves may have been home to some leaf miners. These are worm-like larvae that live happily between the upper and lower surfaces of leaves, consuming the tender tissues. When they're ready to pupate, they exit the leaf and spin a web down to the soil surface. No amount of insecticidal soap will reach these critters because they're safely protected by leaf tissue. If this is in fact the problem, you need to treat the soil rather than the leaves of the plants. Other insect problems that might cause similar symptoms are spider mites. Look for stippling of the leaves (kind of a shiny gray color) and webbing between the leaves and the stems. Spider mites prefer dry locations so you can discourage them by squirting them off with water from the hose, making sure you direct the spray both on top and underneath the leaves. Euonymous are generally disease-free. Inspect your plant again and if you still can't figure out the problem, take a sample to your local cooperative extension office for some help. (219 Stonecreed Rd. NW, New Philadelphia, OH 44663. Phone (330) 339-2337)

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