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Mr. Smarty Plants - Caterpillars attacking mountain laurel in Marble Falls TX

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Thursday - August 27, 2009

From: Marble Falls , TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests, Shrubs
Title: Caterpillars attacking mountain laurel in Marble Falls TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

What are the caterpillars that eat up our mountain laurel? Nothing left but a few stems.

ANSWER:

Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain-laurel) is ordinarily considered pretty pest and disease free. However, it can certainly be attacked by caterpillars, and prompt action helps the tree survive. Read this Landscape Integrated Pest Management article from Texas A&M AgriLIFE Extension Genista caterpillar on Texas Mountain Laurel. It explains the steps that need to be taken. You must try, since it is kind of late in the season, to get as many of the caterpillars off as you can. The treatment suggested in this article is really only effective early in the "chewing season" when the moth larvae are actively eating the leaves. The tree needs to be given the chance to revive and grow a few more leaves before it goes dormant, because the whole tree, and its roots, are dependent on the leaves to manufacture food for the plant through photosynthesis. In an active growing season, no leaves, no food, and the tree could easily die. And if the tree survives and comes back next Spring, start watching early for the eggs of the moth mother on the leaves. Getting them off before the caterpillars ever hatch is the best prevention, and the most chemical-free.


Sophora secundiflora

Sophora secundiflora

 

 

 


 

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