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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Sunday - May 28, 2006

From: Round Rock, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests, Trees
Title: Protection of Mountain Laurel from Pyralid or Genista moth caterpillars
Answered by: Joe Marcus and Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have a Texas Mountain Laurel. Every year it is attacked by caterpillars. They form a bag for lack of a better word on the ends of the branches destroying the blooms for the following year. PLEASE HELP.

ANSWER:

The caterpillars on your Mountain Laurel (Sophora secundiflora) are probably the larvae of the Pyralid or Genista moth (Uresiphita reversalis). You can pick off the caterpillars and destroy them if you can reach them and/or Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) applied to the tree should also take care of them.

 

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