How on earth do I prevent cutworms?

This question has been asked many times, usually after losing plants.  The cutworm encircles the plant and chews it until it drops over.  If you place two toothpicks or just small sticks standing up right beside the stem, the cutworm canít encircle the plant.  One person recommends shishkebab sticks which can be used to support small plants as well as prevent cutworm damage.  A piece of newspaper cut about 3 inches square and wrapped around the stem - so that half of it is above ground and the other half is buried - also is effective.  One person recommends sprinkling corn meal around the plants.  The cutworm eats the meal but canít digest it.  Some people use a piece of cardboard tube such as paper towels or tissue come on.  The cutworm can burrow up beneath the tube and do its damage anyway.

Yikes! Giant green worms with spears on their tails are eating my tomato plants!!!

The tomato hornworm can grow up to 5 inches long and 1 inch diameter.  In the process, it will decimate a tomato plant or three or four.  The very best control is a mockingbird with hungry babies to feed.  You can also dust with Bacillus Thuringensis or just pick them by hand.

How do I control bugs on my tomatoes?

I use flour on troublesome pests! Army bugs are pretty bad around here and can strip a garden overnight. I've not had much of a stink bug problem,but I'd say that similar treatment would work. This organic method was used by my Grandmother 50 years ago when the word 'organic' wasn't even invented.  Just shake the flour over them and coat them well..they'll fall off the plants and struggle to clean themselves off,but they can't do it.  There are other organic techniques including soapy water and various sprays such as pyrethrum, neem, etc.  There are several non-organic choices including Carbaryl, Malathion, etc.  Learn to recognize the pests in your garden and target those pests with whatever controls you implement.

How do I control white flies indoors?

This is a very tough question. Most commercial insecticides are at best moderately effective on whiteflies. Applaud is a new chemical agent that has been shown to give very good whitefly control under greenhouse conditions. It is not a very good alternative though for most home growers. One thing that I have done with some effect is to catch all the spiders I can find in my house and release them among the plants. Some people may find this just as undesirable as the whiteflies but I personally don't mind the spiders. They won't wipe out an established whitefly population but they can prevent buildup of damaging insect levels.

Something is Munching on my Cotyledons!

The sad reality is that your nice tender succulent smorgasbord tomato plants are attractive to a host of unwelcome visitors like white flies, symphylids, cutworms, mice, voles, groundhogs, deer, etc. In an ideal world you would never lose the plants from all that hard work. In the real world, you have to be prepared. One of the best protections you can use is 1 inch mesh chicken wire made into a 1 foot diameter cage around the plant and buried at least 6 inches deep to prevent burrowing. This will protect from most of the big varmints but won't stop the small critters. Be prepared by having a few spare plants to replace any that are destroyed. Spray plants with antifungals and insecticides like neem which will deter many foliage feeders. Never let your guard down because there is something out there and it is waiting for your plants!


 
 
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