eaten echinacea leaves

Asked May 10, 2020, 5:01 PM EDT

hello: my echinacea in various parts of my yard are all being affected with the same eaten leaves. plants around them do not seem affected. i assumed slugs, but dont see any slime trails and also couldn't identify any insects on the leaves. the damage varies from some holes to whole leaves being taken down to the spines. can you confirm slugs are the most likely pest?

Multnomah County Oregon

1 Response

Thank you for choosing Ask an Expert for help with your echinacea pest. You are right to suspect slugs – who do not always leave slime trails.

The other pest to take such large holes out of their preferred plants is a cutworm. We think of them as cutting off seedlings, but they frequently climb up into the canopy.

Both cutworms and slugs come out at full dark, so you may be able to discover the culprit if you go out with your flashlight one night.

There are bait products that will control both of these pests with a combination of iron phosphate and Spinosad. Both are registered for use in vegetable and organic gardens.

Have a good gardening year,