Hydrangea leaves curling and cupping together
My hydrangea leaves are curling and fusing together. There seems to be some kind of worm inside. What should I do?
Milwaukee County Wisconsin
Sounds like hydrangea leaftier (see http://hyg.ipm.illinois.edu/article.php?id=359). You can cut off the affected leaves and dispose of them, or open them up and smash the caterpillars. It may look bad, but shouldn't affect the health of the plant (flowering this year may be affected if the caterpillars already damaged the flower buds). Getting rid of them early before the caterpillars pupate will prevent a new generation of moths from developing and laying eggs to infest your plants next year.
I have over 50 plants and almost all are affected or infected. Some have only one or two leaves, others the whole plant. Do I need to cut back the plants so I don't get a worse infestation next year. I'm so bummed. The plants I cut down I ended up burning. Help!
Hopefully this was just a bad year for it, but getting rid of anything you can will help. With over 50 plants you are likely to have them again. It sounds like the insect prefers some types over others, so be sure to watch the plants carefully next year - especially the ones that were more heavily infested this year - to catch this early while the caterpillars are still small and remove them before the damage is so extensive.