EDEN'S GARDEN
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How to control leaf skeletonizer

I have been deciding for some time now to write on this topic and kept putting it off but what caused me or inspire me this week to give it a go was taking notice of a Giger tree in one of the gardens which is located at our international airport that has been skeletonized.

My goal in writing this post is also to help those that are experiencing these issues and will be able to eliminate this problem with the information which is provided. It gives such a wonderful feeling to walk in our gardens and to take notice of how well each plant is performing and growing so nicely.

Leaf Skeletonizer-Leaf skeletonizer in your garden

Leaf Skeletonizer

However, our gardens and landscapes are always under attack by insect pests. There are many methods that are used in bringing these garden insect pests under control such as

1. Mechinal Control-Which involves the use of pruning and handpicking

2. Chemical Control-Which involves the use of chemicals such as insecticidal soap sprays, organics and other pesticides that can be harmful to humans and pets which should be used with caution by reading the manufactures label and following the direction.

3. Biological Control-Which involves the use of good bugs such as ladybugs, praying mantis, mealybug destroyer etc… to get rid of insect pest.

Each of these methods has its advantages over garden insect pests based on timing. A garden issue that affects many garden plants is the leaf skeletonizer that causes severe damage to plants.

Many home gardeners are confused when facing this problem without a clue as to what it is or what to do. In this article, we will be taking a closer look at the leaf skeletonizer and how to bring this pest problem under control.

Grapeleaf Skeletonizer-leaf-skeletonizer-the-garden

grapeleaf skeletonizer adult moth

What is leaf skeletonizer?

Leaf skeletonizer is when the leaves of your garden plants are so damaged that there is nothing left except the rib structure or skeleton if I can use that word. The garden pests that are responsible for this destruction is this moth that’s in this photo.

How does leaf skeletonizer works?

The adult moth lays her eggs on the underside of the plant leaves in a cluster, the reason for the adult moth laying her eggs on the underside of the leaves is to protect her eggs from predator insects and the elements such as the sun, rain and wind.

Larvae of moth-leaf- skeletonizer-in-your-garden

Larvae of moth

Once the eggs have hatched the larvae start feeding on the leaves. These larvae are heavy feeders or have a huge appetite, this is the reason for such destruction. The lifecycle of these larvae includes five stages. With each stage, the larvae grow larger.

As we all know plants manufacture their food by means of a process call photosynthesis, which is made possible by the plant leaves that contain chlorophyll, because of the leaves being skeletonized the plant is unable to produce its foods when this happens your garden plant goes under further stress which puts the entire plant in danger of dying.

That’s why it is so important to deal with this issue immediately seeking to eliminate the insect pest that is responsible for this bringing this problem under control.

Leaf skeletonizer in your garden

How to control these insects

Controlling these insects and bringing them under control is the first step in the right direction to help your garden plants recover.

Cultural Practices

Proper cultural practice is a great way to lessen that chance of your garden plants falling prey to this issue and if your garden plants should fall prey these practices along with proper treatment will cause your plant to bounce back. Meeting the full requirements of your garden plant is so important. These requirements include

1. Proper location of your garden plant as far as light requirements are concerned.

2. The right soil type.

3. Giving your garden plants the right amount of water.

4. Placing your plants on a fertilizer program and follow feeding directions that are found on the manufacturer’s label.

Mechinal Control

Mechinal control is a good method to implement in the war against these insects. Handpicking-with a flashlight at nighttime take a walk in your garden, you are sure to find some of these insect pests.

Also pruning and eliminating infected leaves properly will also help in bringing these insect pests under control.

Chemical Control

A word of caution here, when using chemicals apply the lease toxic first seeking to get results and always follow the manufacturer’s direction that is on the label because as I was thought by my instructor that the label is the law. Here are some chemicals which have proven to be effective.

1. Bacillus thuringiense.

2. Insectdial soap spray.

3. Horticultural grade oil.

4. Neem oil.

5. Bayer advance vegetable and garden insect spray rts.

6. Bayer advance vegetable and garden insect spray.

The final word

Don’t despair all is not lost though your garden plants may be sickly and fighting for their lives with your help and by implementing these steps your garden plants will bounce back to good health performing at their best being something you can be proud of.

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13 comments

  1. Daniel says:

    Awesome article Norman. These pests are really dangerous and I had an experience with them. What I don’t like is that I need to use chemicals on my plants but it is a must. I will recommend this post to friend of mine who is gardener and he also have a problem with these nasty pests.

    1. Norman says:

      Hello Daniel so good to hear from you. These pest are certainly a real problem and must be treated right away. So happy that I could help and thanks so  much for spreading the word for me. If ever I can help please let me know. All the best of success and have a good day.

  2. Matt says:

    This is a really interesting article at my house we have this bush that is really tall and flowers these beautiful all white pedals on the inside of the flower it is like marine or purpleish color. We have a few of those around the house I forget the name of it though. Well this spring and summer was the first time the leaves were all gone. They were ate up so bad that only the stems were left. 

    I knew it was a bug but when I really noticed what happens they were all gone and now the bush went bare way early. I really feel bad for the bush since it has such a beauty to it I know some would say “it is just a plant why does it matter?” Me personally I see plants nature’s way of showing it’s beauty.

    They may be plants but they do help out in the environment in its own ecosystem with all the bees and butterflies getting it sweet nectar that also help pollinate other plants. Now I know what this is called and now I know what things I can do to prevent this to heppem again.

    Thanks for the share I really do appreciate the knowledge I have learned something new today.

    Matt

    1. Norman says:

      Hello Matt so good to hear from you and it is so sad to hear what happen to your beautiful plant. Plants are really amazing and serve us in so many ways and you made some good points about the benefits of plants. I am so happy that I could help. All the best to you and have a good day.

      1. Matt says:

        It is really sad to me to see this I understand that all animals need their food and they should survive it just sucks that some insects can be so destructive you know?

        I do love nature and I love all types of flowers with all their different unique smells colors and shapes. I really do appreciate all the information and I will have to bookmark this site so I can come back for more good information. I know I will learn something new I hope the best for you and thanks again’

        Matt

  3. Paola says:

    I wish I had read this post years ago. After reading this article I think that the Leaf Skeletonizer was responsible for the death of two of my favorite trees, they had the same characteristics that I read here, and I did not think I could do anything about it. It is really very sad but now I have the accurate information in case it happens again.

    1. Norman says:

      Hello Paloa so happy to see you and I am so sorry to hear about your plants. But it is good to know that you have the right information for future reference. So Happy that I could help. All the best to you and have a wonderful day.

  4. Dale says:

    What a great article.  In the past I have had issues with this exact same thing but never really new how to figure out what it was.  I dont have a garden anymore but it is still great to have the knowledge.  Maybe one day I can help someone else.  This is a must read for anyone dealing with gardens.  Insects can be devastating if not controlled.  Thank you for the great information.

    1. Norman says:

      Hello Dale so nice to see you. Leaf skeletonizer is a big deal and having the right information when dealing with this problem can make a big difference. So happy that I could help. All the best to you and have a good day.

  5. Veronica says:

    Hello Norman. 

     I have two questions and I hope you could help me with them. 

    1. Do you know of any organic products that I could use on plants to avoid those pests? 

    2. Do you know of any organic products that I could use to eliminate termites?

    Thanks for sharing this great information.

    1. Norman says:

      Hello Veronica so happy to see you. Oraganic pesticides are a great way to take care of garden insects pest because this is a safe way. I wrote this post a few weeks ago on insecticidal soap that may be of some help just click on the link

      https://gardenofedengardencent…  you can also have a look at this article on homemade remedies that is also safe to use around children and pets  https://gardenofedengardencent

      When it comes to termites you can use these natural methods. Boric acid which dehydrates the insects and stops their nervous system. The use of salt and water. The water has to be very salty for this to be effcetive. Fill a syringe with this solution and inject it into the areas that has to be treated.

      Termites hates the sun if possible exposing the area to sunlight will bering them under control. These are just a few natural ways to get rid of termites. Please let me know how it goes. All the best of success and have a good day.

  6. Kenny says:

    Hi and thanks for this review. I found it extremely helpful and refreshingly easy to follow. You seem to have a good grasp of gardening and have some really useful tips. I will be looking at your site again for sure. What would you do if the remedies you describe don’t work on their own, can you do more than one of the preventative measures at the same time, or will it damage to plants? Thanks, Kenny

    1. Norman says:

      Hello Kenny so happy that I could help. In my opinion because your garden plant is already under stress I would just stick with on method and give it chance. Some may not agree but the gold is to elimanate these pest and not your plant. Just give it time along with the proper cultrual practice and you will be just fine. Hope this help. All the best to you and have a good day.

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