of large holes have appeared in the leaves of our astelia. Can you
tell me what the problem is?
at your photo my first reaction was caterpillars. Have a good look,
especially underneath the leaves for caterpillars or their droppings.
If you find any, you could simply deal with them using digital control
(squash them between your fingers) or drop them on to the ground
and give them a taste of the sole of your boot.
However, it may be too
late - the caterpillars may have eaten their fill, turned into moths
or butterflies and flown away. If there are lots of small caterpillars
(which I doubt ,given the large size of the holes) you could dust
them with Derris Dust or spray with a pyrethrum-based insecticide.
On the other hand, weta
can also cause this sort of damage without you even knowing they
are around. In my experience, though, they tend to chew along the
edge of a leaf and many of your holes are in the middle. Weta come
out at night and munch away on quite a range of fleshy foliage plants
and there's nothing you can really do about them.
but less likely given the look of the holes, is slugs and snails
which should be easy to check out as they leave slime trails on
Gardener, Issue 193, 2005, Page 29
Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.