you tell what is eating my tamarillo tree and how I can get rid
of it? The new leaves just seem to get eaten and fall off.
Also, the leaves on my
mint are falling off and other herbs leaves are yellowing. Any tips?
by the size of the holes in your tamarillo leaves I suspect green
looper caterpillar to be the culprit. The adult moth, known as the
silver y moth, can often be seen flying around in the evenings sipping
nectar from flowers. The caterpillars are bright green and quite
large, 35-40mm long when fully grown. They are voracious feeders
and can damage a wide range of plants, usually feeding underneath
Once your tamarillo is
fully grown, a little caterpillar damage won't affect it, but at
this young stage you should take some action. With only one plant
you could probably control the caterpillars easily by checking the
leaves regularly, say once a week. If you see a new hole appearing,
look under the leaf for the caterpillar, pick it off and squash
it. If there's also damage occurring to other plants in the area,
you could spray with Success Naturalyte, which is effective against
caterpillars but safe for other garden insects.
varieties of mint are susceptible to rust, a fungus disease that
usually causes leaf yellowing and leaf drop. Most other herbs don't
get rust, but similar symptoms in pot-grown herbs could be caused
through excessive watering combined with lack of nutrients. I suggest
you cut the mint and other affected herbs back to within a centimetre
or two of the soil and repot them into a fresh potting mix which
has the nutrients to encourage new growth.
Make sure the pots drain
freely. While you can often get away with the pots standing in saucers
filled with water over the warm summer months, remove the saucers
for winter to allow rainwater to drain away quickly. Feed your herbs
occasionally through the growing season with liquid fertiliser to
encourage new growth for a good supply of herbs for the kitchen.
Gardener, Issue 207, 2006, Page 41
Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.