What is eating my ferns? #337554 - Ask Extension


What is eating my ferns? #337554

Asked June 28, 2016, 8:54 PM EDT

My ferns were being devoured by evergreen cutworms. I cleaned all the ferns, cutting off damaged leaves, removed all the cutworms manually that I could find and sprayed the ferns with soapy water for the time being. I've fertilized and watered them since and will try spraying them with insecticide tomorrow in a small area to see if it hurts them and be more thorough if they tolerate the insecticide. I also found Japanese beetles curled up in the small tips of some new fronds. These ferns had been placed on  the ground and not hung up. I also cleaned out as many dead leaves from the centers as I could because the evergreen cutworms sometimes are curled up like a dead fern leaf. Please post this for answers to "What is eating my ferns?" Thanx! Wendy King Nashville, NC

Nash County North Carolina

Expert Response

Your treatment sounds appropriate. Be aware many ferns don't react well to pesticides, so use sparingly.  Let us know if you have any further questions.  
Matt Stevens Replied July 07, 2016, 8:25 AM EDT

Thanks, Mr. Stevens. The ferns didn't like the soapy water spray either! I rinsed them off with hose spray. Also, avocado baby plants don't like the soapy water either. So I have moved them all indoors to my glassed-in porch. Hopefully aphids won't find them there.

Wendy King


The Question Asker Replied July 15, 2016, 2:44 PM EDT

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