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Garden Gleanings - Speaking of Cutworms

Posted Monday, March 3, 2008, at 9:19 AM

Black cutworm and damaged stalk (Clemson University Extension)
Speaking of cutworms! Where did that come from? Actually, it came from the last blog about the garden.

Cutworms, squash bugs, cabbage worms and vine borers are my constant struggle. Since cutworms hit first, they were on my mind.

Here is a good article on their life-cycle from the University of Rhode Island. The picture is from this article but borrowed from the Clemson University Extension Service. http://www.uri.edu/ce/factsheets/sheets/...

My nemesis is the solitary surface cutworm. They gave my new garlic fits last year. Since it was a bulb, it was able to survive, but I had to keep finding the buggers for about two weeks before I won. Besides putting toothpicks on both sides, I also scratched in the soil next to them until I found the offending worm. "OFF WITH THEIR HEADS"!

Well, not really. I just toss them on the driveway. The birds took care of them or they survive, BUT NOT IN MY GARDEN!

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Thank you for this information!

I would probably lose everything I have if I didn't know this before transplanting.

The article says that planting sunflowers to attract the cutworms away from the crop. Have you tried that?

I may plant some to see how it works.

-- Posted by Mary on Mon, Mar 3, 2008, at 12:01 PM

I have not planted sunflowers in a few years, but our birds seem to do a good job of it. It may attract the moths, and therefore re-distribute the population. Worth a try.

The cutworms in the ground have to eat what they got, so I would still watch carefully.

Somewhere I read about using BT (bacillus thuringiensis). Dipel is a brand name. I use it for cabbage loopers but am concerned that it will not stop the cutworms until they have at least destroyed several plants.

BT is a bacteria that develops in their gut and stops them from feeding.

-- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Mar 3, 2008, at 4:51 PM

I think my grandmother used to wrap a piece of aluminum foil around her tomatoes at ground level when setting them out to protect from cut worms. Alas she is gone now so I can't ask her to be sure.

-- Posted by EastSideMom on Mon, Mar 3, 2008, at 5:53 PM

I have heard of aluminum foil being used with good success. Don't wrap too tight and try to do some a little below the soil line.

Thanks for reminding me ESM.

-- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Mar 3, 2008, at 8:00 PM

Thats a neat idea, too. I like having different things to work with, and try.

I'm going to plant the sunflowers around my birdfeeder across the yard from the garden, since birds like the seeds.

Thanks for the great ideas, ya'll!

-- Posted by Mary on Tue, Mar 4, 2008, at 8:15 AM

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Steve Mills and his wife have one daughter. They previously owned two coffee/ice cream shops, currently operate an internet sales company and teach classes, but his primary job involves the paper industry worldwide. Hobbies and interests lie in gardening, photography, recorded music and of course, their pets.