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Thread: Dam- cutworms!

  1. #1

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    Thankfully, cutworm isn't too common in my bogs. However, this year they took out my only two purp luteola seedlings. Is there anything we can use to control cutworm in bog soil?? I thought about making a bow and arrow out of a toothpick, and a needle. The needle wouldn't fly straight, and kept getting lost. So that idea is out. Any ideas? I don't think nukes would work, but nothing is too good for the cutworm that ate the lute's.
    45 yrs. growin\'
    Founder NASC

  2. #2

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    If I may... are you sure it's a cutworm infestation and not an armyworm? I ask this as it seems rather late in the season for them to be such an issue.

    Have you ever tried a Carbaryl bait trap?

    Many people use Diazinon and Sevin applied in and around plants on the top of the soil but I'm thinking that's not a great idea. I am not a proponent of chemicals unless it is sort of a last resort but that's just me.

    If these really are cutworms, they are night feeders and generally hang within a few inches of the plant during the day by hiding under loose soil and such. Additionally, they don't travel more than say 4" down into the soil. I really try to avoid chemicals so what I personally would do would be to set down the ineffective toothpick bow and the needle arrow and wait until mid day and gently pull the plant out of the ground/pot. I'd take the plant into a shower stall and I would gently spray down the roots and then the entire plant. You want enough force in the water to dislodge anything clinging but not so much that you blow your plant out of your hand. I use a shower because everything goes down the drain. Anyway, set aside your nice clean plant. Now dig up the soil and nuke it in the microwave for a few minutes. An oven will work just fine at about 200F for however long it takes to raise the center of your soil to that temp. A meat thermometer will work just fine in helping you determine when your soil is sufficiently cooked. This ought to take care of those slimey little critters that are devouring your plants. As extra insurance, I'd go pick up a few carbaryl bait traps to seduce any stragglers.

    This process will not work if you have a large area to treat but it should be just fine for say 30 potted plants or a small bog. Trick is to get to their mid day napping area which is the soil in and around the plant.

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