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Ants, Gnats, Slugs, Cut Worms -- Leaf Eaters

Pines Everywhere
10 years ago

Hello Hosta Lovers -- I've been reading various threads on here as well as doing Hosta Leaf Hole research. I planted 75 Hosta in March and all were thriving until about June 1. At that time, I split about 12 (watered those beds daily for two weeks) and now problems with pretty much all.

My questions to you experts relate to identifying leaf damage. How do you differentiate between:

Brown/dried leaf edges -- over watering or split shock?

Round small leaf holes -- ants, gnats, earwigs?

Elongated 1/2" gnawed-like holes or half-eaten leaves -- slugs, cut worms?

I've read your suggestions for attacking the slugs/cutworms (beer traps, ammonia traps, cornmeal, Sluggo, etc). I researched oil traps for earwig infiltration and certainly -- I stopped watering.

Can someone summarize some general rules for identifying culprits? As of yet ... I have not seen any worm-like creature on any plants (dawn, dusk, during rain, etc. but I have seen them while digging/planting and they are uggggly).

Here is a photo of one Hosta that is affected (this is one I split). For now, I am just spraying leaves with dish soap and water as that alone is keeping the ants and gnats off (thus the wet and bubbly substance)and it seems to help a little -- at least they are clean -- LOL. Surprisingly, the Hosta adjacent to this one (unsplit) had little damage showing.

I don't know which solution strategy to employ (or all of them) as I'd be setting beer/ammonia traps, oil traps and still topically spraying. With so many over 2.5 acres I need a plan -- thanks if you can help.

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