Basil leaves perforated #410653 - Ask Extension


Basil leaves perforated #410653

Asked June 29, 2017, 11:41 AM EDT

The accompanying two photos show "Napoletano" variety basil plants in our small kitchen garden. Some of the leaves are perforated, others are normal. The plants receive adequate sunlight and are watered and tended regularly. Otherwise, the basil plants seem normal, barring the perforate leaves. The same variety of basil in our larger garden (50 yards away) is thriving, with no evidence of leaf perforation. Is there possibly some soil problem or specific critter in our small kitchen garden which punctures these leaves? Both gardens get the same homemade compost (shredded leaves, grass clippings, kitchen vegetable trimmings). We're big fans of pesto and other Italian dishes incorporating this herb, so threats to our basil sound an alarm. We'd be grateful for any information you can provide. Thanks very much

Montgomery County Maryland

Expert Response

There are several types of insects that can make holes in the foliage.  Could be a type of caterpillar or leaf feeding beetle that feeds at night. We can not say for sure.  They will not defoliate the plant.  You can go out at night and look with a flashlight to see if you spot the culprit.  
If you see it, handpick and drop into soapy water.

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