Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Leaf Miners

Leaf miners are an interesting pest that feed on the inside juices of plant leaves.  So how does this little grub get inside the leaf?  First, a moth lays eggs on the underside of a leaf surface.  The eggs hatch and bore themselves into the leaf where they they eat the sweet layer in between the top and bottom layers of the leaf.  This results in a squiggly silver trail on the leaf.  

After these grubs have had there fill, they curl the leaf up and pupate.  The moth hatches out and starts the cycle again.  Leaf miners usually do not do enough damage to a plant to kill it, but they do leave the plant in an unsightly mess.  Once damage has been done, the only thing a gardener can do is prune the damaged leaves off and spray with a systemic insecticide.  

This Borer-Miner Killer is Permethrin based.  The chemical should be mixed and sprayed according to the label.  A warning I like to give to homeowners is this chemical is toxic to fish and cats.  Do not spray this near pets or ponds, and give ample time for drying before allowing pets to go back in the area.  This chemical is systemic, which means the plant absorbs the chemical through its roots and leaf surfaces.  This will then kill the leaf miner that is eating a meal on the inside of your plant.  

As always, this advice gets followed up with a good dose of MicroLife fertilizer and Superthrive vitamins/hormones.  Soon enough your plant will be back on track to looking its best!

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