H. 'Summer Lovin' ain't lovin' this summer

irawon(5a Ottawa)July 14, 2012

I really like this hosta and in its second year in my garden was looking really good this spring until it was attacked by cutworms. It has really good substance. 'Luna Moth' in the same bed and thinner substance has been virtually untouched. I don't get it. Have any of your hostas have been left alone while others have been attacked?

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irawon(5a Ottawa)

Here's a picture of Luna Moth that I took at the same time as SL on July 12.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 4:46PM
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Wow. Luna Moth does look perfect. The only perfect ones I have are the ones protected by copper.

The one that I don't get in my garden is Maui Buttercups. Thick substance, yet they hit it hard every year. Gonna figure out a copper ring for that one next year.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 4:55PM
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irawon(5a Ottawa)

Coll, I sure wish I knew why the critters go after some and not others. I even saw a bunch of earwigs under LM a few weeks ago.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 5:26PM
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Damage is spotty. I guess it depends on what plant the moth lays its eggs because that is the plant that is going to get eaten when they hatch.


    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 5:38PM
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You know, I think earwigs start to do noticeable damage this time of the season. Maybe they do it earlier as well but around this time, I really see them out there and a lot of the hosta have small peck marks that I think are caused by those earwigs.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 5:43PM
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irawon(5a Ottawa)

Mosswitch, do the cutworms not move from one plant to another? And then the earwigs which I spotted under LM did no damage?

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 5:46PM
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irawon(5a Ottawa)

Coll, you made some good points about earwigs.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 7:02AM
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bkay2000(8a TX)

No, cutworms don't move from plant to plant. The moth lays it's egg and that's where the cutworm hatches, feeds and then makes a cocoon (not sure where they put them or what they look like). They have no method of locomotion as caterpillars.

I haven't watched this particular caterpillar, but have watched the gulf frittilary. In that case, she lays one egg at a time on the host plant (passionflower). The egg is about the size of a grain of kosher salt. It hatches as a tiny little caterpillar where it eats for about 2 weeks and becomes a caterpillar about as big around as a straw and an inch and a half long. Then it attaches itself to some stationary object and makes a cocoon, where it changes into a butterfly in a couple of weeks if the weather is right.


    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 8:51AM
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tepelus(6a SW MI)

I have cutworms pretty bad this year, and now I see lots of moths flying around my yard. I'm going to have a worse year next year I think with these things. I need to start treating for them before they get out of control. Yes, I've noticed some hostas get chewed up worse than others, even growing next to one another one can be chewed up and its neighbor not have a single mark.


    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 10:04AM
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Certainly if you have hosta plants touching each other you are going to get some cutworm migration. There are a couple of species of them, some of them work on the stems and some eat the leaves but they are caterpillars of an underwing moth. Not every moth is a cutworm tho and not every one eats hostas.

Wonder if dormant oil applied to the crowns in early spring would keep the eggs from hatching? Just kind of thinking out loud. Will have to research using dormant oil on hostas.


    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 10:51AM
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irawon(5a Ottawa)

@ Mosswitch: Please, let us know about the dormant oil if it helps. The fact that the diatomeceous earth didn't help with the cutworms is explained by Bkay when she says that they have no mode of locomotion. I have seen dense white fluffy stuff about the size of a dime on my hostas and I've been rubbing it off. Wonder if this is what the moth lays its egg in.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 11:06AM
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I'm just thinking about using the dormant oil in the early spring on the crowns before the leaves unfurl, as it might damage the young leaves. Still looking.

Cutworm caterpillars crawl around like any other caterpillar, they just don't usually move off the primary host plant unless it's all eaten up and they are in search of more food or adjacent plants are touching and it is convenient. They definitely crawl off to pupate.

There are stem and root eating cutworms and climbing leaf eating cutworms. Stomachs with legs.


    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 11:25AM
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So far I haven't found anything pro or con. Except that newer horticultural oils and all season oils can be used on some perennials (read labels!) Still looking. Might contact MoBot and ask someone there.

Meanwhile. Other musings based on hints of things I've found and the random poppings up in my own scattered mind: cotton seed oil is effective as a hort oil. How about mulching with composted cottonburr? Good for the plants, anyway. Cedar repels clothes moths, how about mulching with cedar mulch? Would it repel cutworm moths? Worth a try?


    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 12:17PM
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