Preparing for Winter Moths Arrival, late March

tulipsmiles(6 South of Boston)February 8, 2010

Last Spring, my entire yard was decimated by Winter Moths. They did not discriminate against any type of plant, tree or shrub!

I have since found some info on them, and am posting it here in a link, so that we all can be informed.

I will be spraying preventatively, my roses and shrubs. I keep to organic practice.

What do you spray, when and how often?

Here is a link that might be useful: Umass Extension Winter Moth Fact Sheet

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I spray, just B.t., Bacillus thuringiensis, which is non-toxic to people and animals. It should be applied when the foliage is almost completely emerged, or at the first sign of damage. Spray too early and the foliage that has not yet developed isn't protected, too late and the cats are not as susceptible.

What's especially good about B.t. is that it has to be ingested to be effective, so if you happen to have good cats, like butterflies, in your garden, they will not be harmed, since they don't eat maples/cherries/blueberries or whatever else you're trying to protect.

I don't spray everything, just young trees/shrubs that are targets of this pest, or certain trees that I don't particularly care about but which overhang shade gardens where the moth's detrius is a real problem.

I try to spray about once a week until the population is under control. I don't mind a few holes in the leaves of many plants, just don't like to see too much damage in the highly visible areas. And, since I spray with a pump sprayer, I can only reach the lower 15 feet or so - fine for young plants but I do miss the tops of the trees, which is fine by me.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 1:45PM
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tree_oracle(z6b MA)

Those &%# inchworms can totally decimate trees and shrubs that they have a taste for. Unfortunately, the foliage of maples, crabapples, and apples rank high on their dinner menu and I have several of each on my property. I've tried all of the touchy-feely measures with little success. So, now I turn into Rambo and nuke them with Malathion or some equivalent. I take great pleasure in watching hundreds of them drop by their webs in writhing agony until the ground is littered with their carcasses only to decompose and provide nutrition for my beautiful green lawn. I can hardly wait for spring. LOCK AND LOAD!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 2:20PM
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cat_delgado(6 - Ansonia, CT)

I can't say I've noticed these bugs in my neck of the woods, does anyone know if they've made it into CT yet? I may also just not have noticed them as I'm new to gardening and thought all caterpillars butterfly babies. I'm learning otherwise.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 3:34PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I've had winter moths for the past three years. They have almost stripped one of my maples one year. Last year, they weren't as bad. I have never done anything to get rid of them. I have never used any kind of pesticide, organic or otherwise in over 25 years of gardening and I don't feel I want to start now, but I have been tempted to use the BT. Two years ago, I started noticing Starlings eating the cats. Last year, a whole flock of them showed up and you could see them in the trees pecking and eating away and following up on the ground. So I try to encourage them to come back to the yard with bird seed and bird baths. I hope it will be something that will run it's course.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2010 at 6:11AM
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