Who is eating my Phlox?

noelladsa(6)October 20, 2013

I've planted a lot phlox divaricata and something seems to be eating them. Does this kind of leaf damage look familiar to anyone?

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The pic is a bit on the tiny side, at least in my browser, but it looks like some type of beetle damage to me. Again, I can't quite make it out, but are the leaves "skelotonized", that is, all the green stuff is gone leaving a network of tiny veins? Do Japanese beetles frequent your area?

Also, and I don't recall the species at the moment, but there are a variety of foliage-eating beetles which are much smaller than Jap. beetle, and which can do damage of this sort. This late in the year, it is of little consequence, although I understand that you are probably concerned for next year.

Any chance of a close-up?


    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 9:25AM
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I pulled out my 'big' camera so you should see the details now.
I havent noticed the beetles you mentioned but have noticed inch long slugs around.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 11:54AM
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Yes, slugs can do damage of that sort. Basically, they eat chunks of the leaves, as in some of the leaves on your plants with whole sections missing from the edges. The "skeletonized" portions look like another type of damage to me.

Above all though, by this time of year, it's no big thing. It's completely normal for most outdoor plants to have damage by this time. All of that foliage will soon be sloughed off, to be replaced by new growth next spring. I'm sure you know this, and are probably gearing up for next year. I'd investigate slug control regimens. And FWIW, the buried tin can with beer does indeed catch slugs, but also does indeed stink to high heaven once that beer gets good and rotten. I prefer other methods!


    Bookmark   October 23, 2013 at 9:04AM
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Thank you for all the information! Actually I dont know too much about how these plants behave in fall and winter, so this is helpful. I am from the tropics - and the very little gardening experience that I have is from there.This is my first time gardening in a zone 6 area.

At the moment the temperatures here have hit the low 50s and my native plants are still growing new leaves.

I will check on slug treatment next spring, the beer idea sounds great. I am always worried about attracting rats though in NYC. Not sure if beer is their thing.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2013 at 11:51AM
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Hehe, pretty much anything is good for rats! Look into diatomaceous earth. It's also used for swimming pool filtration and other uses. Sprinkling some around those of your plants favored by slugs can work quite well, albeit, it will need re-doing following heavy rains. This stuff looks powdery to you and me but resembles shards of glass to tiny critters. They won't want to cross over it.


PS.........since you're new to temperate zone gardening, do yourself a favor and adopt a go-slow approach to what all stuff you may have growing in your garden next year. Sometimes folks make the mistake of getting impatient, ending up tilling or digging up areas where good plants would have come up if given the time.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 9:35AM
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