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PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2012 12:24 pm 
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This is the first year I've seen cutworms in my yard, and the place is practically paved with them. They live just under the surface, I don't think they do much burrowing, but they crawl to the base of tender plants and mow them down. They clobbered tomatoes, they have denuded several Swiss chard plants and have taken out major portions of my common variety iris. They stopped my asparagus production for several weeks.

Here are some photos for reference:


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File comment: Puffing diatomaceous earth around the new plant is one way to keep cutworms away, but I didn't use just the DE. I also tried barriers.
2012-04-06-diatomaceous-earth-repellant-cutworms.jpg
2012-04-06-diatomaceous-earth-repellant-cutworms.jpg [ 533.85 KiB | Viewed 715 times ]
File comment: A closeup view of the cutworms. A muscular dark gray-to-black caterpillar. They become a moth. I used a close spray of dilute orange oil and added some BT. I don't broadcast BT, it can harm butterflies, but it does what I need, killing the caterpillars.
2012-04-06-cutworms-penny-closer.jpg
2012-04-06-cutworms-penny-closer.jpg [ 346.82 KiB | Viewed 715 times ]
File comment: In a few minutes of weeding the vegetable garden I pulled out a lot of cutworms.
2012-04-06-cutworms-penny-1.jpg
2012-04-06-cutworms-penny-1.jpg [ 455.65 KiB | Viewed 714 times ]
File comment: As I worked I paused to photograph the cutworms in the garden as I came across them. They were just under the surface, under the mulch. They clobbered the Swiss chard.
2012-04-06-cutworms-in-situ.jpg
2012-04-06-cutworms-in-situ.jpg [ 303.23 KiB | Viewed 714 times ]
File comment: This is how I first encountered cutworms - dark, nondescript grubb-looking things. You ignore them at the peril of your garden!
2012-04-06-cutworm-in-soil-2.jpg
2012-04-06-cutworm-in-soil-2.jpg [ 480.38 KiB | Viewed 715 times ]
File comment: This is one of the newly-transplanted Swiss chard that looked much better when I first planted it. They don't just hit tender small plants, they chewed through several inches of garden iris also.
2012-04-06-cutworm-damage-2.jpg
2012-04-06-cutworm-damage-2.jpg [ 357.69 KiB | Viewed 713 times ]
File comment: Along with trying a wrap of card stock and Scotch tape to protect stems, I used several plastic containers. Cut off the bottom and sink it a 1/2 inch or more into the soil around the bedding plant. I'll go through later and break or cut them off of the bottoms of the plants. The cutworms will eventually go away, becoming moths.
2012-04-06-cutworm-barrier-plastic.jpg
2012-04-06-cutworm-barrier-plastic.jpg [ 462.03 KiB | Viewed 713 times ]

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Last edited by northwesterner on Sun Apr 15, 2012 10:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 6:43 am 
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Do you think increasing your beneficial nematode population would help, like it does for grubs and other soil-dwelling larva?

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 1:46 pm 
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The notes on the photos aren't particularly obvious, I had hoped for some space between the photos but I wanted to upload rather than link to them. I think I mentioned using them in there.

I applied beneficial nematodes last week. I had a jar to use the week before but to my dismay I found that the little fridge top shelf freezes and it was a brick of peatmoss and dead nematodes. I had to get back to the feed store before I could get another batch, so a lot of my planting has been delayed and what was done was either with a plastic container with the bottom cut out placed around it (and searching the surrounding soil for the buggers) or putting a cardstock-and-tape barrier on the stem. I tried several techniques.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 9:12 pm 
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those are nasty looking little bugs!

I wonder if our mild winter had anything to do with them coming? I've never encountered them.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:39 am 
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I've never seen them before either, and I think it is a very safe guess that our weather had something to do with their arriving here. Or not killed off, or something.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 8:13 am 
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I've been digging a new bed in a part of the yard I didn't spray heavily with beneficial nematodes, and I am still finding a few cutworms. When I poked around the part of the garden where they were doing damage I found a few - they were barely moving and had turned from being a dark gray to a light gray color and didn't do the classic reflexive tight curl when I uncovered them. I do believe they were feeling the effects of the nematodes. My tomatoes are growing without any more being cut off (though I did pun in various barriers in a "belt and suspenders" approach) and my Swiss chard is bulking up again finally.

I think my asparagus production dropped to almost zero for a while because of cut worms. I didn't want to dig around in that bed and do more harm than good, so I made sure to go over it with the nematodes. I also used a spray near my specific vegetable garden plants that was a mix of water, Garrett Juice, orange oil, molasses, and a little BT. This was sprayed mostly on the ground and over the tops of my specific garden plants.

I put out the beneficial nematodes about 10 days ago. In addition to my vegetable garden, I sprayed the rest of the batch in the back yard to keep out fleas (I have three dogs who have the run of the yard back there). I didn't use it at the density to kill fires ants so I'll have to go over a couple of ant beds again later, but the nematodes as I applied them may well keep them from colonizing further.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 9:11 am 
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I buy them at my local feed store (Marshall Grain - they have a couple of locations). Wherever you buy them, you need to be sure they are kept in a refrigerator, not on a counter. You can also mail order them.

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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 1:25 pm 
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I never thought about using a plasic cup,I use wide PVC pipe,about 4 to 5 inches wide (got them free on craigslist),their about 5 inches tall and work real well.I've also put some sticky type glue about half way up if I see anything crawling on them.Those cut worms make excellent fish bait! :roll:


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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 5:31 pm 
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I cut the bottoms out of sour cream, cottage cheese, yogurt, whatever plastic containers about 1 pint to 1 quart in size. I'll go out with garden scissors later and cut the plastic away. It did work, as long as I looked closely at the soil to be sure I wasn't enclosing a worm with the plant.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2012 11:05 am 
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I used to purchase beneficial Nematodes from the local garden centers and I would religiously put a drop of water under a microscope to see if they were alive. I never could see very many and the ones I saw were always sluggish.

So I decided to purchase them mail order from Arbico. I have a 100 X 160 lot and I got enough for an acre. I looked at those under the microscope and they were very plentiful and lively. I used those on my property and had no flea problems on my pets. With my previous purchases they had almost no effect on the fleas and we would have up to 20 fleas on our little dog.

I am now a big fan of nematodes, just not the local garden center purchases. I think they lose viability on the shelf even if they are refrigerated and I am sure the shipping does not help either.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2012 11:22 am 
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I see Arbico has several species of cutworms to choose from. I happen to have an old label from ANTidote 3-N-1 and it doesn't tell me what variety of nematode is in it. More research to do.

Here is the page with the various types. Scroll down for more information.

Thanks!

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