Hydrangea Little Lime
Today I noticed that the tips of four new shoots of my Hydrangea Little Lime were nearly cut off by perhaps an insect or worm. The cut was clean and perfectly perpendicular to the branch, leaving the end four inches of the branch hanging on by a thread. I inspected the plant and didn't see any potential pests, but we had a strong rain earlier that may have washed off the pest. Can you please tell me what the culprit might be, and what I should do to prevent further damage? Thanks very much.
Anoka County Minnesota
As you have surmised the damage you have described was probably caused by an insect. Several weevil species are called "clippers" because they cut stems and leave the cut part to hang by a thread. Sunflower head clippers that sometimes significantly reduce sunflower harvests is an example.
Strawberry clippers do similar damage by cutting off the flower buds.
Still, we can't identify the pest that damaged the hydrangeas without seeing it or a sharp photo. And we'd need to identify it in order to suggest a control. In lieu of that, the best we can suggest is to cover the plant with a floating row cover such as Remay to exclude whatever is doing the damage. The life cycle of many insects is relatively short so it's possible the pest will depart before long.