Ask a Question forum→White spots on hostas

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Finger Lakes Region
Emeelikay
Jun 11, 2021 5:59 PM CST
All of my plants in my new garden have holes in them. They looks like swiss cheese. I have visually identified slugs, snails, earwigs and moths so all of them could contribute to this.

Today, I noticed my old, mature hostas have white spots all over them. Some have developed into lesions, as well. It doesn't look like the pictures of fungus, as that appears more splotchy and less symmetrical than my problem. I am wondering if they are appearing this way from the same pests because the leaves are much thicker than my new, young plants.

I bought my house at the end of summer last year so I am unsure of what they looked like last year. Also, I am brand new to gardening. Toxic chemicals are NOT an option. Please help!

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Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
American Orchid Society Judge
Region: United States of America Critters Allowed Growing under artificial light Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan
Butterflies Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Cat Lover Birds Bee Lover
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BigBill
Jun 11, 2021 6:20 PM CST
The hostas are on a snail or snugs menu. No doubt about it. I have grown tons of hostas in my life and rarely do they ever grown perfectly. There are lots of beasties out there.
Whenever I think that the damage exceeds what I am willing to tolerate, I put down a pelleted bait.
It cleans them up quickly!
Rodney Wilcox Jones, my idol!
Businessman, Orchid grower, hybridizer, lived to 107!
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Bee Lover Butterflies Birds I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Greenhouse Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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Weedwhacker
Jun 11, 2021 6:27 PM CST
I have personally pretty much given up on hostas...

Bill, do you know what those white spots are? I'm all ears!
“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight." ~ Albert Schweitzer /
C/F temp conversion
Finger Lakes Region
Emeelikay
Jun 11, 2021 6:28 PM CST
Thank You!
Thanks for the fast response, Bill. I am concerned about the large amount of wildlife that I have. Everything from chipmunks to cats to fox and deer, I even have a neighborhood guinea hen! I don't know much about these baits but I definitely don't want to harm any of my neighbor's cats.
Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
American Orchid Society Judge
Region: United States of America Critters Allowed Growing under artificial light Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan
Butterflies Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Cat Lover Birds Bee Lover
Image
BigBill
Jun 11, 2021 6:48 PM CST
Well like I said, I generally do nothing concerning a little damage on my hostas.
White spots, most likely feeding marks caused by plant juice sucking insects. As they feed, the plant cell walls collapse causing these white or pale yellow spots.

I have a nice range of animals here in my yard as well. Deer, groundhog, 4 species of squirrel, Fox, gophers, raccoons, possum, chipmunks and mice.
I generally only react when I see a lot of damage, slime trails or dead inflorescences.
The bait is placed right under the hostas. I spray it with water to kind of activate it and if the slug population has gone nuts, they are dead in a day, maybe two. The bait is either eaten or crumbles and it is not likely to be an issue unless it is way over applied!!!
BUT AGAIN I USE IT AS A LAST RESORT
Rodney Wilcox Jones, my idol!
Businessman, Orchid grower, hybridizer, lived to 107!
[Last edited by BigBill - Jun 11, 2021 6:51 PM (+)]
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Finger Lakes Region
Emeelikay
Jun 11, 2021 7:05 PM CST
@BigBill,
I have been concerned for awhile because my new plants are torn up. Some of the snapdragons have even begun wilting petals. I don't want to create a dangerous environment for any animals but especially my two year old wanderer. I guess I was seeking confirmation of bugs, rather than disease so I can then more forward with holistic treatments - which could also hopefully be found in here.
I appreciate your insight. Everything I hear about hostas is how resilient they are and here we are in June and I am problem solving already. So intimidating lol
[Last edited by Emeelikay - Jun 11, 2021 7:08 PM (+)]
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Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
American Orchid Society Judge
Region: United States of America Critters Allowed Growing under artificial light Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan
Butterflies Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Cat Lover Birds Bee Lover
Image
BigBill
Jun 11, 2021 7:28 PM CST
Well chances are it's animals if the things are torn up.
Voles typically attack all the roots below ground.
Bunnies attack above ground.
Deer simply adore hostas.
I have not had damage from squirrels or chipmunks. Raccoons and possums could care less.
Shrews and voles are carnivores and would not eat plants.

Deer pass through my yard quite often. They love roses, buds and shoots, tomato's, daisies, Liatris or gayfeather, Phlox but they have not touched my Zinnias, Monarda or butterfly bushes. They seem to sample my coneflowers.
Rodney Wilcox Jones, my idol!
Businessman, Orchid grower, hybridizer, lived to 107!
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Bee Lover Butterflies Birds I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Greenhouse Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Image
Weedwhacker
Jun 11, 2021 9:24 PM CST
Deer and rabbits and slugs have been my main problems...

There are sprays that can be applied to deter deer and rabbits, and Sluggo is supposed to be safe for pets.
“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight." ~ Albert Schweitzer /
C/F temp conversion
Finger Lakes Region
Emeelikay
Jun 12, 2021 11:04 AM CST
My Canterbury Bells and Bee Balm look untouched and they are in the same garden. My coneflowers also look relatively unscathed, just a lot of spiders living on them. Snapdragons, mint and hostas really being chewed up though.


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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Bee Lover Butterflies Birds I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Greenhouse Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Image
Weedwhacker
Jun 12, 2021 6:39 PM CST
I'm always thankful for the things that nothing seems to bother - like marigolds and daffodils Big Grin
“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight." ~ Albert Schweitzer /
C/F temp conversion
Finger Lakes Region
Emeelikay
Jun 12, 2021 7:17 PM CST
My daffodils were eaten before they even got to shine lol. I think it was the groundhogs.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Bee Lover Butterflies Birds I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Greenhouse Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Image
Weedwhacker
Jun 12, 2021 7:34 PM CST
Oh no - I suppose that will be the next thing to show up here then. There are plenty in our area, not really sure why they haven't discovered our place.
“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight." ~ Albert Schweitzer /
C/F temp conversion
Finger Lakes Region
Emeelikay
Jun 12, 2021 7:44 PM CST
I only saw one big fatty until about a week ago. Now I have two babies too. My daffodils were in the back and the deer don't usually go in the backyard. I guess it could have been bunnies. Who knows. I jist moved here from the city. It's been fascinating seeing all these creatures on my camera overnight.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Bee Lover Butterflies Birds I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Greenhouse Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Image
Weedwhacker
Jun 12, 2021 7:48 PM CST
Yes, it can be quite amazing what goes on out there when you aren't looking; we happened to catch a bear in the act of raiding a bird feeder a few days ago, just at twilight. We have lots of deer and rabbits around and they don't touch the daffodils (too busy eating the daylilies and hostas apparently).
“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight." ~ Albert Schweitzer /
C/F temp conversion
Finger Lakes Region
Emeelikay
Jun 17, 2021 6:44 PM CST
Can anyone identify this bug?
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