Easy And Simple Ways To Get Rid Of Cutworms In Your Garden

It will be helpful for everyone raising seedlings in the garden to understand how to get rid of cutworms. However, cutworms aren’t as well-known as cabbage loopers and tomato hornworms, these little, ravenous caterpillars cause a great deal of harm to vegetable gardens. Cutworms are generalist feeders that attack a variety of crops, unlike hornworms. They are especially harmful to seedlings and young transplants.

Cutworms cause quick withering and death of plants by biting off seedling stems at the soil line when they attack. Nonetheless, you may safeguard seedlings with the help of these cutworm removal ideas by maintaining your garden well and using organic treatment techniques.

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What Are Cutworms?

Cutworm caterpillars are the larvae of several species of moths. Because there are many varieties, they don’t all look the same. Cutworms have smooth, hair-free bodies that can be striped, spotted, or colored in shades of gray, brown, green, black, tan, or pink. Full-sized cutworms are about 2 inches long and have a curious habit of dramatically curling into a C-shape when disturbed.

After pupating, cutworms emerge as adult moths, which are brown to black in color and measure 1 to 1 ½ inches long. Adult moths lay their eggs on plant debris from spring through fall; the cutworm eggs overwinter outdoors in the soil and reemerge in spring. Although both adult moths and larvae cutworms are mostly nocturnal, adults do not consume plants.

Recognizing Damage from Cutworms

Cutworms, as its name implies, prey on plants that are near the soil level. They frequently “cut” straight through delicate plant stems, toppling them in the process. Cutworms consume not just the roots of plants but also their petioles, or developing shoots when they climb up the plant.

Typical indicators of cutworm activity include:

  • Damaged stems of seedlings and transplants that have been chopped off at the soil line
  • Transplants and seedlings outdoors that soon wither despite copious irrigation
  • Tiny seedlings that vanish in an instant
  • Pruning leaves that are healthy and don’t show any other symptoms of damage

Easy And Simple Ways To Get Rid Of Cutworms In Your Garden

Use these suggestions to reduce cutworm activity in your garden to almost nothing.

Keep your gardens neat

If you’ve had trouble with cutworms throughout the growing season, clear up your garden in the fall. Cutworms can overwinter in old plant debris.

Any contaminated plant material should be destroyed by burning it or bagging it and discarding it. In order to stop cutworm moths from landing on delicate vegetables and laying their eggs, rotate your crops when spring arrives and think about placing floating row covers.

Pick cutworms by hand

Scooping out cutworms by hand and placing them in a bucket of soapy water is one of the finest ways to control an infestation that already exists. For optimal results, search for cutworms around the bases of damaged plants in the evening or after dark with a flashlight. If you don’t immediately see any cutworms, run your palm over the dirt to see if any move and form C-shaped balls.

Use plant collars

Plant collars protect young plants from cutworms that might be active in the soil by acting as a barrier around the stems of seedlings. Plant collars are typically constructed from 4-inch-long cardboard or aluminum foil strips. They are loosely encircling plant stems after being partially buried in the ground. When you move the seedlings into the garden, put the collars on. Later in the season, when the plants have established themselves and the cutworms are less active, remove them.

Experiment with companion planting

Choosing the proper species for companion planting is a crucial component of organic gardening. For example, marigolds are known to ward off cutworms, so planting them close to vegetables that are susceptible to pest infestation will help keep your garden pest-free. Growing blooming herbs like parsley, cilantro, or dill close to your veggies may also be a good idea because the blooms of these plants draw wasps and other insects that eat cutworms.

Attract natural predators

Cutworms are not just eaten by predatory insects; cutworms are also a favorite food of wild birds. A variety of birds will happily monitor your garden beds and eat any insects they find if you install bird feeders, a bird bath, or another water feature near your garden.

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