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Welcome to the City of Buda Sustainability Commission Blog! Here you will learn tips on environment-friendly activities and practices.
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The Tomato Saga - How to Keep the Hornworm from Destroying Your Garden
Posted on August 14, 2019 at 4:54 PM by Micah Grau
It’s that time of the year when our gardens are in full swing!
Flowers are blooming and vegetables are
ripening. However, problems can arise quickly.
One early morning, as I was walking i
n my garden,
the rows of basil fragrant the air around me
. I saw a
few strawberries still peeking up from
he leaves, and the
where shining in the sun
when I reached
that some of them were half eaten!
were at it again!
It’s amazing how quickly these worms can destroy a whole plant in
a short period of time.
larval stages of large moths and can
measure up to five inches long as a caterpillar.
They gorge themselve
s on the tomato foliage and then bury themselves back into the soil during the
and emerge as a sphinx moth the following spring.
If hornworms have made it into your garden, there are
preventative measures you
to help protect
from their ravenous destruction
. First of all, you can
pick the caterpillars off of the
leaves. They can
be hard to find due to their coloring and shape which acts as
usually be spotted under the
carefully because there is usually more than one
on a plant.
Companion planting can also be beneficial to
dill among your tomato
. The moths that lay the larvae do not like dill and will look fo
r other places to lay
their eggs. Planting flowers and herbs that produce tiny flowers will
attract beneficial insects
the braconid wasp
that kill hornworms.
Be sure to rotate your crops year after year and well as cover the ground around your tomatoes with black
plastic to prevent the emergence of the adults.
Taking precautions early is the best step to a healthy garden.
Good luck and happy gardening!
Author: Jacqueline Leo, Sustainability Commissioner
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