Tiny holes in all (600) hostas??

desperationfalls(z5 MA)July 10, 2009

I already posted this one on our New England Forum--

I have about 30 varieties of hosta and ALL of them have these tiny holes--some brown thatched-most just plain tiny holes. This happened almost overnight-and all around my house. Two weeks ago, perhaps only one variety might have had a few holes--perhaps slug-caused (we HAVE had gobs and gobs of rain here in Boston)-but the other plants in every other garden and the different types in the first garden were all intact.

Could it be the heavy SNG spray I did about 10 days ago that burned the leaves????? I find it hard to imagine that a virus could spread to all the plants in 2 weeks.

Any ideas would be very helpful..


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evermore_gw z 4/5 NB

The incessant rain and humidity in the Northeast has been wonderful for all our little nasties. Not just slugs, but earwigs and a host of other creepy crawlies. I think that is your problem, as it is for a lot of us. And once they have turned your hostas into lace doilies, there's not much anyone can do about it.

Remember what we used to say about the Red Sox. Next year, it'll be different!

(Hey, the Red Sox won tonight.)

    Bookmark   July 10, 2009 at 9:53PM
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thisismelissa(z4a-S Twin Cities MN)

I have the same issue and I don't think it's slugs either.

Sure, I have a few, but these holes don't look like slug holes from years past. That and these are about a month-6 weeks earlier than usual.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 2:28AM
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westy1941(Boulder County, CO)

I'm near Chicago and have about 300 hosta. Almost every one of them has these tiny holes. Very few slug holes but these are everywhere and on many other plants. I wish someone would identify the critter.


    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 2:37AM
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Sounds like slugs - when slug eggs hatch they are small and produce tiny holes. But if you have a picture it would help.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 7:49AM
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donrawson(Z 5)

It's been a terrible year for aphids...first they chewed the leaves off my crabapples and roses, and yesterday I saw that the leaves are being chewed off my purple smokebush. I'm not sure if aphids are known for chewing small holes thru hosta leaves, but maybe they can??? Or maybe flea beetles are the culprit???

Flea Beetles

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 9:35AM
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Uhh, I found one of those kind of 'beetles' in my driveway yesterday, Don!! It was covered with big black ants
and I couldn't tell what it was till I got the ants off of it! I immediately thought it must be a *Japanese* beetle!

I now know, it was the 'Japanese Beetle', after looking them up, because of the ring of white dots/stripes along it's 'skirt',
really stood out!!! Can they also be a culprit with hosta?

Actually, if it's them, (the JB's) the leaves would look like lacework, not just tiny holes, I'm thinking!

I'm convinced it's earwigs doing the pin-dot damage--they LOVE Sweet Potatoe vines, especially, I've found!!

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 10:38AM
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gardengirl_nancy(Z5 Midwest)

I have the same problem, we have sprayed and sprayed and sprayed ammonia and I still have holes. On my hosta the holes are usually little white dots that turn into holes. I was told last year that I was in denial, that it is slugs. I never did buy it, yes I am sure I have slugs, I have seen them. BUT I still believe there is also some bug that causes some of this damage. Q and Z nursery told me it might be thripes. All I know is that it is very frustrating!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 11:22PM
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Nancy, Same white dots here (both sides of leaf), then tiny round holes. Never saw that in 30 years of hosta growing. 2nd summer here at our new location and have this problem. Only moved 25 miles & find all sorts of new bugs. Interesting.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 11:58PM
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msjo(Z5 MadisonWI)

We have japenese beetles here. They are on my burning bushes, zinnias and green bean plants, so I'm sure they are not adverse to dining on the hostas as well!

I spray my hostas with Deer Off to keep the deer, bunnies and squirrels from eating them. Perhaps this has helped keep the JB's away as well. I use Sevin for the JB's on my other plants & bushes.

Ms Jo

    Bookmark   July 12, 2009 at 7:01AM
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desperationfalls(z5 MA)

OK, I think I figured this one out. I Googled 'white holes hostas' and came up with this website on our very own Gardenweb forum--look at botanyBabe's answer about 2/3 way down the page.
It seems to be flea beetles--and they invade the whole plot very very quickly.
Elsewhere I found not only Nematodes and Diatomaceous Earth to be useful, but folks are recommending
Sevin (which kills 234 types of insects!)--probably kills earthworms, too--I certainly hope not! I love my earthworms!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2009 at 2:55PM
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desperationfalls(z5 MA)
    Bookmark   July 12, 2009 at 3:18PM
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