Thursday, August 6, 2009

Curly Top & Skeletonizers

Each week the Master Gardeners handle phone calls on a number of problems.  Two that have come up recently are on Grape Leaf Skeletonizer and Curly Top Virus.  Curly Top Virus is carried by the beet leaf hopper which transmit the disease when it feeds on the plant.  It is a recurring problem in Yavapai County gardens.  There are a couple of remedies that may be helpful.  Check out the articles on Curly Top at
The grape leaf skeletonizer strips the green of the leaves between the veins.  Without the green the plant can't survive.  The skeletonizer is a colorful black, yellow and blue striped catepillar that turns into a small black moth.  The caterpillars feed side by side and can quickly strip a leaf to a "skeleton."  You can hand strip the caterpillars from the leafs but be careful.  Wear gloves and a dust mask as they have sting hairs on them that can become airborne.  Spraying Bacillus thuringiensis is also an effective way to control them.

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