NJBob said:Critter out is a rodent repellent , do not know it it would damage blooms. Mite damage is usually seen on the cones of the flower. Neem oil if put on during a sunny day can burn blooms.
LorettaNJ said:Like Bob said, mite damage is seen in the cones. So is aster yellows and budworms which I get here, not too far from you. Yours look healthy. If the blooms aren't aged, I would suspect the brown is from one of the sprays.
A few things eat the petals on coneflowers and some are night feeders - Earwigs or Asiatic Garden Beetle or slugs. Look around at night with a flashlight and see if you find anything. I love coneflowers too but so do the animals and I can't always grow them.
NMoasis said:When you say it "looked as though something was eating them" what exactly do you mean? Little holes, big bites, petals, leaves? The flower head in your photo could be normal ageing... I don't see evidence it's been eaten.
Please post more complete pix... whole plants, leaves and where you think something's chewing.
Repeatedly spraying things on your plants without knowing what you're targeting can do more harm than good.
Hamwild said:Yellow asters is pretty distinguishable. I don't see it on any of your pictures.
NMoasis said:It looks like two different issues. In the first photo, something has munched on the leaves. I'd guess a caterpillar of some sort, possibly grasshopper; if it's a mammal it's small and not very hungry! The damage doesn't look severe. For some reason I can't clearly enlarge the other photos of the larger holes. It could be a bacterial leaf spot. I can see that the holes don't cross the center vein, but can't tell if the holes are confined by the smaller veins. Some caterpillars can do that, but more often they munch the edges. If it's bacterial, that's more problematic. For now, try to keep the foliage dry until something else manifests.
Overall, your plants look quite healthy and the flowers look fine. I would watch it for a bit. Examine the leaves early in the morning, front and back, and the stems. You're looking for a caterpillar of some sort, and they often go into hiding when the sun gets warm. Look also for little dark pellets, which are caterpillar and grasshopper poop. They will tell you something's around. Sorry I can't be more help. If it gets worse in a few days, take closer better focused photos of the damage. Do remember that a few imperfections don't necessarily mean there is something horribly wrong, it's just nature being nature.
LorettaNJ said: Personally I would lay off the spray. I don't think it's helping you anyway.
I feel that if I start spraying, I could cause more harm then good! Why am I spraying?? Because I want the flowers whole and uneaten! But that's silly.
I too have a pollinator garden that I am expanding every season. This year my honeybee count is up! My bumblebee count is up!! Now I am seeing butterflies visit as well! They could care less that the leaves are nibbled. They could care less that the petals are nibbled. That are there for the central heads. If they are intact and functioning then the pollinators are happy.
Cosmetically I don't care what they look like. I don't want to spray for fear of harming the pollinators. I mean it is so cool to see two bumblebees on a head and then a honeybee joins them. How cool is that??? They could care less that the petals have been chewed on.
BigBill said:The yellow things are pollen.