caring for Columbine - Knowledgebase Question

Commerce, Mi
Question by rachtracy
May 12, 2010
Live in MI, have columbine planted in several spots around the yard. The ones up near the house are perfect, however, I have a few near my shed that appear to have a white/cream curvy trail on the leaves and then the leaves disappear altogether. We do not have deer and I don't generally have pest problems- but there's a first for everything!

Answer from NGA
May 12, 2010


You're right - there's a first for everything. I'm not sure what might be munching on the leaves but the white trails inside the leaves are caused by leaf miner insects. The adult lays an egg by making a hole in the upper part of the leaf. When the egg hatches into a larvae, it feeds within the tissues of the leaf. Since leaf miners are protected from insecticides, you can't control them with a spray but you can either squish them while they are inside the leaves, or control them by cutting or pulling the leaf off the plant. Leaf miners don't feed on the entire leaves, just the insides of the leaves so there may be a caterpillar at work if the leaves are entirely missing. Check the plants over carefully - caterpillars can be the same color as the foliage. You can control caterpillars with Dipel or Thuricide but you might want to delay your sprays = caterpillars can turn into butterflies...

Best wishes with your columbines.

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