General: What's eating my sage?

Discussion in 'Herbs for the Kitchen' started by thumbedcat, Jul 4, 2009.

  1. thumbedcat

    thumbedcat Member

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    Sechelt, BC, Canada
    Hello everyone,

    Just wondering if anyone can help me figure out what's eating my sage. The only insects I see nearby are tiny flies that seem to live in the soil. My other herbs growing nearby are untouched. The damage seems to occur from the center of the leaf out. Any help is much appreciated!
     

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  2. Nobudsnoglory

    Nobudsnoglory Member

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    It looks a bit like slug damage to me...

    How's the soil moisture? Is it well-drained? Your sage looks relatively happy otherwise. If it is slugs, they mostly feed at night... you could try putting a beer trap beside your plant (e.g. http://www.ehow.com/how_2331216_make-beer-trap-snails.html) and see whether you catch any in the coming weeks.
     
  3. The Hollyberry Lady

    The Hollyberry Lady New Member

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    Location:
    London, Ontario, Canada (Zone 5b)
    Here's what to do to rid whatever is after your sage...

    Get out some kitchen spices - such as, bay leaves, whole cloves, and ground cayenne. Sprinkle these all around the plant on top of the soil, making light layers of each, and being careful to get the spices near the base of the stem but not touching.

    I doubt whatever is eating your sage will be back when they get a dose of my spice concoction! It works for me every time.

    Good luck.

    : )
     
  4. Greerish

    Greerish Active Member

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  5. Annageckos

    Annageckos Active Member

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    I had small (less than a inch) green catipillers eating my sage earlier this year. Check the underside of the leaves with the holes, they blend in well. After removing the catipillers I have had no more.

    Anna
     
  6. pinkisntwell

    pinkisntwell New Member

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    The small caterpillar Anna mentioned is the one common insect that may be the source of your problem, however, I'm pretty certain most caterpillars would eat from the margins inward. But careful examination for actual larva, frass or webbing will answer the question.

    If no such signs are found, consider a weevil, such as the Black Vine weevil. They hatch in the soil and spend early development (first instar) as a larva which feed on the roots. As they progress to second instar, they crawl up the plant (after sunset) and feed on the leaves and bark of the host plant. I've not seen SAGE (Salvia officianalis) listed on their menu, but it's possible. They prefer Rhododendron, Azalea and most other evergreens (Boxwood / Taxus, and the like ).

    TREATMENT: An excellent and extremely effective food safe/organic treatment is DIATOMACEOUS EARTH. "D.E." is fossilized phytoplankton which, when ground into a fine powder, is harmless to mammals, earthworms and most beneficial insects, as it's action is via dessication. The grains are sharp and have a drying effective, being naturally high in silicon dioxide. They cut into the exoskeletons and draw out the creatures bodily fluids. When it's wet (from rain or watering), it's ineffective, but when it dries out resumes efficacy. Easy and safe to apply. 200mg per cubic fool of soil has proven effective, however, sprinkling of the powder around the base (and onto the lower 6" of stem) will make a VERY effective roadblock.

    D.E. is also marketed to treat ants, roaches, bed bugs and dog ticks. Dust your lawn with it and don't worry about your children and household pets playing outside! (unless your pet is a hermit crab who likes to romp in the sun)

    Follow label directions and check ingredients, as some D.E. also contains chemical pesticide. D.E. (without pesticide) is used to treat grain held in storage silos and food-grade is sold as a dietary supplement. It is VERY HIGH in micro nutrients such as Boron and Magnesium, so it makes an excellent addition to almost any garden soil.

    You can find D.E. at most garden centers and also at the Big Box stores for less than 10.00 dollars US, for a 4 pound bag. (SAFER is a primary maker)
     

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