Columbine problem

Asked June 1, 2017, 12:58 PM EDT

All my leaves disappear when then flowers bloom. No obvious bugs or critter activity. This is typical every year. Is this normal? They usually sprout new leaves later and sometimes I get another batch of flowers.

Hennepin County Minnesota

1 Response

Without knowing what the leaves looked like before they disappeared, I can only guess. But there are two common problems to be watching for next year. The first is columbine leaf miner. You'd notice it on the leaf as squiggly white tracks. Eventually the leaf is eaten completely. Read here:
https://hortnews.extension.iastate.edu/2009/6-3/columbineleafminer.html
http://extension.illinois.edu/hortanswers/detailproblem.cfm?PathogenID=148

The second is columbine sawfly. This is a small larva which feeds on the underside of the leaf. It will skeletonize the leaves. Read here:
https://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/insects/find/be-on-the-watch-for-columbine-sawfly/
http://wimastergardener.org/article/common-columbine-pests-columbine-leafminer-and-columbine-sawfly/

Neither of these pests is considered serious. Sawflies can be controlled by hand or insecticidal soap. Leaves containing leaf miners can be removed and destroyed.