Azalea leaves stripped to ribs

Discussion in 'Ericaceae (rhododendrons, arbutus, etc.)' started by debviolet, May 31, 2021.

  1. debviolet

    debviolet Active Member 10 Years

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    Hi!
    My first time on this forum, though longtime nember of the Japanese maple forum:-)
    Some of my azaleas are being stripped bare to the leaves' ribs.
    One has flowered anyway, and there are numerous poppyseed-sized black dots on the flowers base.
    Are these 2 phenomenon related? Any suggestions most appreciated!
    Deb
     

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  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Closer view needed of the dots, otherwise the other problem is likely to be browsing deer. If you have deer there and don't want surprises you need to fence them out. Same goes for rabbits.
     
  3. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    On an old forum posting, I replied to a query about poppyseed-looking things, remembering that I had poppyseeds on my indoor plants for a while. I wrote: "I looked up 'poppy seeds as garden pests' and came up with frass, which is the excreted pellets of caterpillars or other insects. Maybe the insects are under the leaves, but dropping the pellets onto the leaves below."
     
  4. debviolet

    debviolet Active Member 10 Years

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    Interesting! Someone/thing is stripping all the leaves leaving a skeleton of leaf ribs. One person suggested bunnies or deer but hard for me to imagine either animal leaving the leaf ribs while consuming the rest of the leaf. Seems like a small insect mouth would be capable of that....now I need to identify a way to discourage this, as one on my azaleas is completely stripped of leaves, and its survival imperiled, if not impossible :-( thank you for a the clue!
    Deb
    Ps. Hard to see in photos below, will try tomorrow for better pix
     

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  5. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    That looks like caterpillar frass to me.
     
  6. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    I didn't catch the ribs aspect which the photo provided did not show much of so - yes - it's caterpillars
     
  7. debviolet

    debviolet Active Member 10 Years

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    Hi again!

    Consensus is caterpillars! Anyone have ideas about how I prevent this? If they are climbing up from the ground, is there a way to prevent them from reaching the leaves? (I have never seen any caterpillars on the azalea in daylight...)

    Suggestions sooo appreciated! Deb
     
  8. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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