My gooseberry is defoliated!
I’m not a huge fan of gooseberries, but I pick them for my friends. These two shrubs were here when I moved in. Although I don’t eat them, I can’t get rid of something that makes food. The only argument I have for removal is that they are part of the life cycle of Pine Rust, which is a defoliating disease of pines. That discussion is for another post.
Sometimes you may not see the offending critter or disease, but you can see the results (symptoms), which is no leaves! A symptom is a result of the problem, but not the problem directly.
After closer inspection, remember I am a plant detective, I see a sign! A sign is something directly related to the problem.
I see insect frass. Say what? Oh, sorry, us scientists wouldn’t be caught saying insect poop. 🙂
There is a fair share of it also. Yes, I could have just said, “there is a shitload”, but we are professionals here. I surmise there’s got to be more than one.
I also spy someone that’s not really a sign or symptom, but explains a few things, Mr. American Toad!
I’m sure he’s pretty content hanging out in the cool shade, with a smorgasbord of caterpillers to snack upon.
I will have to return to visit in the evening hours to try to see the offenders. But realistically, since I’m not going to treat the situation, I’m not too worried about it. I don’t want to spray anything now, as harvest time is near. Granted, there is a organic mix I could use that works on most caterpillers, Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis), but it is probably a bit too late and it must touch the caterpillars, whom are MIA right now. They will soon be cocooning, and the problem will go away itself. Defoliation is not the end of the world for most plants, as long as the plant is healthy and it doesn’t happen repetitiously.
Enjoy the day & keep on planting!
© Ilex Farrell – Midwestern Plant Girl