I got this hosta last fall. I don't believe I've ever seen these little holes on a hosta before. They just leafed out this week. What's the problem?
My guess is it got nicked or rubbed before it officially unfurled.
It could also be from juvenile slugs. I have very small slugs about an inch long that cause tiny holes like that. If you can go outside a couple hours after the sun has gone down and check your plants with a flash light. If you find them and if not then something else.
Could they be slug holes?
Of course they could be slugs, but the damage I've always seen before has been swaths of eaten leaves, like BIG holes. I've never seen this before. Then again, I've always used pot feet and I have been trying some of Babka's sticks. Hmmmmm.... I'll have to think about that.
Babka's sticks help drainage, not slugs/snails. They crawl in there just the same. Slug bait under the pot helps. Those look like baby slug holes to me. Could've gotten into the soil anytime last fall and now they have something to go after. Get the bait out! NOW!
Got it! thanks. I put some in that pot, but I'll get them all.
The even spacing tells me it is something boring into the unfurled leaf - the largest hole on the outside getting smaller toward the center. I have this problem in spring with my Canna leaves and have never found the critter that does it. I don't think slugs would eat through several layers of leaf, would they? It would seem to me to be some sort of boring bug!
I've never had cutworms bother my hostas. Could it be a cutworm that took a good bite before it decided it didn't taste so good? I am thinking minor cutworm damage on my canna because it only happens when the unfurled leaf is still close to the ground. Most of the time the damage looks exactly like your holes, but a couple of times I have found leaves almost cut off too like a cutworm would.
Have you found any additional damage after leaves have unfurled?
It is too early for cutworms. These are either baby slugs or earwigs. Sluggo Plus gets them all. KILL 'em bkay!!!
in the pic .... at noon.. see how that one bud is still curled.. trace the outer leaf around.. and imagine.. ONE BUG ... eating right thru the layers.. which is what happened to that one leaf.. with the multiple holes.. and they ended by nibbling the other leaf.. which was inside the other ... make any sense.. its hard with words alone
take the whole pot.. and tip it into the other hand.. and see what crawled down the inside edge of the pot... and you MIGHT find the culprit.. also look at the bottom near the drainage hole ....
slug bait will be useless... if its not a slug ... one would think .. lol ..
looks a little small .. diameter wise.. for cutworm ... but then.. its early.. and it could have been a babe ...
ps: and the fact that the unfurled one has no further damage.. MAY INDICATE.. the bug is long gone ...
With the warm weather, it may not be too early for young cutworms in Texas. Never thought about earwigs, but it seems to me they become active deeper into the season.
bkay-with the hot dry summers you have had in recent years have you had much of a slug problem? It could also be an import, or oxidental critter of some sort. One of my daughaters inherited a huge snail with some recently purchased produce. It freaked her out! lol It was almost the diameter of a silver dollar. Not a snail though. Snails and slugs have rasping mouths, which is why they can't chew through multiple layer like the chomping worms dobut leave bigger holes.
Sluggo Plus gets the slugs AND other bugs. It has spinosad in it along with the iron phosphate, to cover all the bases.
I usually don't have much of a slug problem. I grow everything in pots and set ehem all on "pot feet". The good ones raise the pot off the ground about 1 1/2". It seems to make all the difference in the world. I hardly have any slug damage unless I forget the "feet".
The hosta was sitting on the concrete patio before the eyes started showing and then I put it on sticks. I may have been a little late. I guess I'll have to find some more "feet". They've gotten kind of pricy since Wally World stopped carrying them. The dollar store has some, but they have little heads on them, which are a little cute for me. I bought a bunch anyway, but I much prefer the plain ones.
Hmmm, well after seeing the tiny holes from tiny slugs, I decided it was time to take action, because I have tiny slugs (saw them climbing the house wall the other day to get out of the rain puddles) and then a few holes in some otherwise gorgeous leaves. They went too far.
I visited Ace Hardware, only place I could find Sluggo. Do not remember now if it said PLUS or not. It is a liquid I think, have not opened it yet.
I have a few sets of pot feet, but I have a lot of half-bricks which work nicely under the big heavy pots.
I just found that my Wal-Mart has pot feet this year. It's a great price, somehwere around $3.80 for three. It could be difficult to find as it's not well displayed. It's in a cardboard bin type box that says "pot feet". It was on the top shelf at my Wal-Mart in the isle with the pots.
Sluggo and also Sluggo Plus are pellets, not liquid. You just tuck 2-3 pellets under a raised up pot where you don't see them. I use 1/2" to 3/4" thick 2-4" sticks of wood rather than the pot feet because you have to use three of the feet and position them properly for the pot. Also you don't see the sticks. I move different sized pots (from 1 gal to 3 gal) around a lot during the Summer and cannot mess with positioning 3 feet per pot. Bkay has much larger pots, I think, and once she positions them they stay there the whole growing season. Hers look good.
I usually don't have much of a slug problem.
==>>> the more hosta you get.. the more slugs you will get.. so prior experience ... is not an indicator of the future ...
one thing for sure.. when you bring home a new one.. bare root it.. get rid of all the old media ... and INSURE that you arent bringing in slugs or eggs ..
i have seen slugs on top of the car .. in wet weather.. pot feet might slow them down.. but it wont stop them ... but it surely cant hurt .. probably look cool too ...
I think I found the culprit. It wasn't a slug. It was a black worm with white stripes. I guess it could have been a cut worm. Dummy me, I threw it on the ground and then couldn't find it to kill it or identify it.
It was sitting there on a leaf about 2" from the Bug-Getta slug and snail killer. So, I bought some sluggo plus today.
Boy, whatever it was/is likes my Sugar and Cream. Something is chewing on my plantaginea, too.
Or it could be 2 different pests. Earlier pic damage is different - last pic damage looks like cutworms.
I've had that amount of damage done by little green worms overnight...you need to turn each leaf over to find them, and even then look very closely. Cut worms are those big 1/4" thick 1"+ worms that live just 1/2" or so under the soil. But around here they come in late June or July. You can find them by running your fingers around the soil in the pots. When you see something gray and moving grab it. Ick!!!
I found a slug chomping away on a hosta last evening while it was sprinkling rain. I broke off part of the leaf, threw it down, and stomped it good. I don't like squishy things, but that was going too far!!
So I got the Sluggo bait and dosed every pot of hosta with it, rain or not.
So far, I have not found any Sluggo Plus. What does the Plus do that the regular Sluggo does not? I want to make sure it does not harm my dogs or the wild birds.
Sluggo Plus has Spinosad. Approved for organic gardening. You can get spinosad as a spray (Captain jacks Bug Juice) or something like that, BUT the buggers have to start chomping first and we don't want that. Best bet, is to be a total anal hostaholic and check them everyday. If you see ANY sort of damage, begin turning over each leaf to find the culprit. IT IS ALWAYS BEST TO ID THE CULPRIT and then find the best way to DESTROY it.
We get earwigs , sowbugs and pillbugs and cutworms here. The "plus" stuff takes care of them along with the snails and slugs.
I think of cutworms as a more of a general description of moth caterpillars that eat leaves and sever stems, rather than a specific id.
Whatever...they are larva (ugly crawing wormmy thingies)that live just under the soil, and you can find them by running your fingers around the soil in the pots...as opposed to those moths that plant their eggs on the undersides of leaves during the growing season. Ewwwwww.
It is most important to I'd the nature of the critter, rather than the specific species. Learning the specific species can be entertaining too, as evidenced by our recent postings on voles, ground squirrels, etc. but all leaf gnawing, cutting, or scraping critters, by these categories, can be treated the same. I Ned to simplify that. All gnawers can be controlled the same way.
And sometimes detergent works more effectively that destructive methods when you don't want to kill good bugs as well as bad. Pepper spray is often a good one. If bad critters don't find your pepper sprayed plant tasty they will leave the neighborhood.
those SMALL holes were made either by a very young cutworm or something else ...
an aged cutworm ... will leave giant holes ...
and since you have no other damage... i wonder whats going on ... or whatever it was.. is gone ...
Here is a link that might be useful: the gold ball pic shows a cutworm.. though mine are brown to match the sand ...and then add ' on hosta' to the previous search and see the damage on hosta
Oh yeah, Ken, I found one of those critters eating the pips of one of my Wide Brims last night. I salted it and it rolled over and died. I was looking for slugs. I've found a couple each night. I broadcast the Suggo Plus, but still found the critters. I wonder how long it takes to work.
With Sluggo, the slugs go and hide to die, you will never know there was a problem, never know they were there and that you got them.
With Bug Geta, the slugs leave a nice slimy trail and dried up remains. You see you got them, know there was a problem, can count how many, how effective it was, at a much lower cost.
Bkay- If they are already snacking and hiding in the leaves, they aren't going to leave and head for the bait. But if they are just now emerging you gotta hope that they will have a bait-bite before they get to the main attraction. You need to check every leaf in the pot if you see any damage, as well as run your fingers around the top inch of soil. I HATE grubs/cutworms. Be vigilant! ;-)
Derail (sorta). Every year my 'Majesty' comes up with three eyes (I've had it for three years now), and every year the same eye gets eaten to the ground. This year it looks as if it got munched on a little and hasn't died off completely, so I'm hoping it'll still grow, though the other two are several inches tall now and that unlucky third eye is still just sitting there. It's a mystery to me. Most likely a slug is the culprit, but the same eye, every year? Weird. End derail.
Babka and Ken are right. I found a yellow striped army (caterpillar) worm on my plantaginea last night and a plain old cut worm on my Sugar and Cream. The yellow striped army worm is what I found on the Sugar and Cream a few days ago, so I have at least two culprits. The next time this damage shows up, I'll know what to I'm dealing with. Wouldn't BT work better than Sluggo? It comes in both liquid and powder.
bkay, in your climate zone 8a you probably have worms and insects much bigger and more exotic we in zone 5 ever will see. Good luck!
Everything is bigger in TX, right? Time to call your favorite arboretum/nursery and ask them how they deal with these critters in your area now that you have identified them. Stay vigilant and tell us what works for you.
Great idea. Thanks.