What's eating my salvia blue spire?

tinanFebruary 14, 2013

I have several - some in a window box and 2 in the border garden. They have lots of holes in the leaves, about 1/4' diameter. What's eating them?

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lgteacher(SCal)

Could be grasshoppers. They make round holes.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 9:47AM
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tinan

That's what I thought it looked like - but I have never seen a grasshopper here... could it be slugs or snails?

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 7:22PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Yes. Slugs, snails, earwigs, or little caterpillars. Look carefully at the back of the leaves for little caterpillars first. You can spray BT, Bacillus Thurengis (sp!) to kill them. It's not lethal to other bugs since it only works on the larval stage of caterpillarry bugs, and it is not harmful to humans or pets.

If it's slugs or snails you should be able to find slime trails. You can use copper to repel them, or the non-toxic Sluggo.

If it's earwigs you can fill a tuna can with water and some cooking oil and leave it under your plant. Earwigs will climb in and drown. Clear out any leaf mulch you have near the plant, since that is where they live and reproduce. I had to resort to poison one year I had such a bad invasion of earwigs. I cleared out all of the leaf mulch around my house and used Cooke's granules and it knocked the population back to a reasonable level after one treatment. It cannot be used around vegetable gardens, though, because it is toxic. I use the tuna cans for those spots.

Renee

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 9:41PM
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tinan

I think it might be slugs and snails, I do see tracks in the AM. There are fewer since we had the ivy ripped out on the other side of our fence but the property is still full of ivy and the snails that live in it. I have heard that a saucer of beer is a good nontoxic way to get rid of these pests, I'll try that. I prefer not to use chemicals. Maybe a can of cooking oil for good measure to get any earwigs too (shudder, I hate those things).

The aphids I only see on the sun parasol and not on the sages or lavenders.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 1:16PM
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calistoga_al

When I find lots of holes in leaves, no chewing on the edges, I usually suspect Flea Beetles. Al

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 9:10PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Sluggo is a good choice- it's non-toxic and works well with slugs and snails. If you get rats in your neighborhood they will eat all of the snails. Something to look forward to :D

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 10:19PM
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tinan

I did re-examine the leaves today more carefully and there are no bugs or other things currently on them, so something is coming at night and eating them but not living on the plant. The poor plant is tattered beyond belief though! I wonder why this plant is being targeted so directly, it must taste good. I have 2 more in a window basket which are fine but likely out of reach of these bugaboos.

I haven't had time to deal with the garden while working on my kitchen, I noticed the orange aphids on my sun parasol while painting kitchen cabinet doors on the patio (got a nice close up of them as I was leaning over painting). But I haven't been able to do anything about them yet as the plant is behind all the freshly partially-painted cabinet doors... garden will require some attention this weekend!

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 10:40PM
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