Pied Beauty

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

Praise him.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Leaf-eating Beetles

Sometimes in the spring, when foliage is soft and new, you'll see holes chewed in your leaves and yet, no insects are visible.  These are pictures of camellia leaves, with damage that is not too very recent.  You can tell by looking at the margin of the hole that the damage occurred some time ago -- already the margins are brown and dead.  The leaves themselves are healthy, green and glossy.  The plant doesn't look too bad, it just has these unsightly holes in the top leaves.

These holes are caused by various kinds of leaf beetles, members of the Rhabdopterus family, which generally live in plant debris and soil and only crawl upward to feed at night.  That's why we typically don't see the pest, and only notice the damage.  Most of the time, the beetles don't do enough damage to harm ornamental plants.  You may want to wait and see if the problem takes care of itself.  If you choose to spray, look for an organic product containing the active ingredient Spinosad.  Conventional remedies include permethrins and sevin dust.  

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