How do you treat hostas with holes?

Answered by Frank Schwing

When it comes to treating hostas with holes, it is important to identify the cause of the damage before taking any action. Large, irregular holes throughout the leaves are often a telltale sign of a chewing pest, such as grasshoppers. These pests can quickly damage the foliage of hostas and other plants in the garden.

One effective treatment option for chewing pests like grasshoppers is Carbaryl, which is commonly sold under the brand name Sevin. Carbaryl is available in dust form and can be applied directly to the leaves of the affected hostas. It is recommended to apply the dust in the morning when the pests are most active. Be sure to follow the instructions on the product label for proper application and safety precautions.

Another alternative approach to controlling chewing pests is the use of a naturally occurring microbe called Nosema locustae. This microbe specifically targets grasshoppers and can be applied to the garden to control their populations. Nosema locustae is available in powder form and can be dusted onto the hostas and surrounding areas. It is important to note that this method may take some time to show results, as the microbe needs to infect and spread within the grasshopper population.

In addition to using chemical or microbial treatments, there are other strategies you can employ to prevent further damage to your hostas. One option is to create physical barriers around the plants. This can be done by using netting or floating row covers to keep pests, such as grasshoppers, away from the foliage. Regularly inspecting the plants and manually removing any pests that are present can also be an effective control method.

It is worth mentioning that maintaining a healthy garden ecosystem is crucial in preventing pest infestations. Ensuring that your hostas are properly watered, fertilized, and well-maintained can help them withstand pest attacks. Additionally, attracting beneficial insects, such as ladybugs and lacewings, to your garden can provide natural pest control as they feed on the larvae and eggs of chewing pests.

To summarize, treating hostas with holes caused by chewing pests involves identifying the culprit and taking appropriate action. Carbaryl (Sevin) in dust form can be applied to the leaves in the morning to deter grasshoppers. Alternatively, Nosema locustae, a naturally occurring microbe, can be used to control grasshopper populations. Implementing physical barriers, manually removing pests, and promoting a healthy garden ecosystem are also important in preventing further damage.