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PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2013 1:14 pm 
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Location: Dallas, Texas
I had a professional landscaper construct new beds in front my home 3 years ago. One plant that I chose as an end-cap was a possumhaw holly. The landscaper planted the tree too deep in the ground, and it was weak looking and damaged by some pest that ate holes or slits in the leaves. I decided to remove and replace that tree and start over by replanting a better specimen.
Last fall I purchased a nice new healthy possumhaw, and planted it right where the old one used to be. I made sure it was planted high. It adjusted to its new home and leafed out and looked good in spring. But lately I've been noticing something attacking the leaves again...leaving holes and slits in all of them, but the leaves aren't turning brown or falling off. The tree isn't looking vivacious or thriving anymore, some leaves are wilty. We have been getting adequate rain lately, and I do water some...but not much. The tree is also in a location with some shade under a large live oak until mid day and gets direct afternoon and evening sun.
What is the pest eating my possumhaw, and how do I get rid of it organically?


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2013 4:38 pm 
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Can you post photos - close up of the plant, but also, the soil around the base, and back up a bit and show us the setting and surroundings of the plant? Thanks!

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2015 3:44 pm 
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I figured out the problem. In the spring (around April), caterpillars come down from a live oak (and possibly the roof of the house). The oak partially shades the possumhaw. I've observed them 2 springs in a row, but have been chewing on the possumhaw at least at three or four years in a row. Last spring, I was proactive and spread granulated garlic around the base of the possumhaw. Then I brewed up some garlic pepper tea spray and sprayed the tender possumhaw leaves after they had emerged. Within a week of spraying the tree, it would rain. I would re-apply the tea spray, but it was impossible to keep up. If you lived in the Dallas area last spring, we had record spring rains in 2015. Long story short, the tea and granulated garlic didn't work. Caterpillars came and ate holes in every leaf on the tree. This does not kill the tree, but I think it stunts it....the tree does not grow or flourish in spite of the organic program, and adequate moistyure.

What should I be doing to repel the caterpillars and prevent them from eating the tree?


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2015 9:48 am 
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Put out trichogramma wasps early in the year.

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