Hostas Damaged By Bugs

Question:

This summer, something got at my hostas. It looked like a squash bug. We powdered them, but overnight, these little buggers ate the leaves off, right to the vein. They look so sick and just awful. Should I cut them back this fall? My patch was just beautiful until it got all chewed up.

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Hardiness Zone: 6a

Diane from Jefferson City, MO.

Answer:

Diane,

Sorry to hear about your hosta. Go ahead and cut back whatever remains of the leaves as soon as they turn yellow. As long as the leaves (or what remains of them) are green, they are still producing food for the plant. Because your plants lost so many leaves, you'll want them to go into winter with as many reserves as possible. Usually after one or two good frosts the leaves will start to die back. It isn't necessary to cut back the leaves, but it's always a good idea to clean them up in the fall to prevent slugs, snails and other pests from taking refuge among leaf debris over winter. I wish I knew what attacked your hostas so I could help you find better ways to prevent it from happening next year. Slugs and snails are the usual hosta culprits, but other pests can wreak plenty of havoc, too. If these same pests should happen to show up again and you have a camera handy, try to snap us a picture of them.

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Ellen

About The Author: Ellen Brown is our Green Living and Gardening Expert. Click here to ask Ellen a question! Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com

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October 4, 20060 found this helpful

Your Hosta will be dying back to the ground for the season soon anyways if you can wait to cut it. Once it has you can cut it right to the ground, but to cut it prematurely could be depriving the root system of some of the food that the leaves (or what's left of them) can make from photosynthesis and send to the root system. Next season when you start to see new growth appear you can start treating with a systemic insecticide.

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October 7, 20060 found this helpful

After your hostas die back naturally, work some Sevin into the soil around them. That will kill any grubs that might be overwintering, as well as any eggs that those bugs might have left behind.

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