How to Protect Your Trees & Plants from Caterpillars & Other Pests

How to Protect Your Trees & Plants from Caterpillars & Other Pests

By Alyssa Schafer on September, 15 2021
Landscape Tips Fall Tips Tree Maintenance

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Alyssa Schafer

Alyssa Schafer loves designing spectacular landscapes and helping make dream yards enjoys sharing her knowledge through her writing and informative articles.

How to treat your plants to avoid skeletonizer caterpillars

While maintaining a healthy yard will deter pests from latching on to your trees and plants, there are some bugs that will rise to the challenge and try to turn your beloved garden into a tasty snack. There are extra preventative measures that can be taken to safeguard your landscape from pests such as Caterpillars and other munching insects.

Our nursery pros detail how to protect your landscape from chewing insects as well as how to help your trees and plants recover if they have recently fallen victim to a pest’s mandibles. Read on to discover how to use a combination of topical and systemic products to keep your yard looking its best and prevent it from becoming a hungry caterpillar’s next meal.

Early Measures and Topical Solutions

The easiest method to ridding your leafy plants of caterpillars and other pests is to catch it early and trim away the portion of the plant that has been attacked. If you are lucky enough to notice any pest damage early on, this trimming in combination with a topical insecticide will usually be enough to rid your landscape of the problem. Using a topical solution in combination with systemic pesticides is a sure bet to prevent all attacks on your yard.

Topical pesticides include:

1. B.T. (Bacillus Thuringiensis)

Monterey B.T. (Bacillus Thuringiensis) at Moon Valley NurseriesA bacterial-based insecticide that is safe for adults, kids, and pets. It is only harmful to insects and can be used to topically treat any plant material including edible plants such as fruit, citrus, tomatoes, and other garden vegetables. It can be applied in a powdered dust form or as a liquid via a hose-end, self-mixing, or pump sprayer.

B.T. treatments work best when they are used to completely saturate the plant. Bacillus Thuringiensis solutions do take about a week or two to take effect in the caterpillar’s system, so it is important to note that the damage to your plant may continue as the pest will continue to eat your leaves while the bacteria are working.

2. Malathion

A stronger topical pesticide that is quite potent in eliminating pests. It does have a stronger odor and is not recommended for edible plant material. It is very fast-acting and will rid your plants of most pests quickly. We suggest speaking with a nursery pro on usage and storage instructions before using Malathion.

3. Carbaryl

An excellent insecticide for defense against all varieties of chewing insects such as aphids, caterpillars, and ants. The brand we carry at Moon Valley Nurseries is Sevin and it can be sourced as a concentrated liquid or powdered dust.

4. Spinosad

A chemical-based insecticide designed for chewing insects. This is another fast-acting solution to combat chewing pests quickly. It is a great choice for defense against caterpillars if you need a stronger insecticide than a Bacillus Thuringiensis-based product.

5. Neem Oil (Triple Action)

Pesticide products that use Neem Oil as their active ingredient allow them to be used against a variety of creatures including insects, mites, and fungi. It is safe to use on fruits, herbs, nuts, spices, vegetables, and other edible plants and is also safe to use near pets and children. It can also be used as both a corrective and preventative measure to help combat pests before they cause damage to your plants.


Systemic Insecticides

System Insecticide Granules Hi-Yield Grub Free Zone III at Moon Valley NurseriesSimilar to how we take antibiotics to combat illness in our bodies, systemic insecticides fight off pests from within your plants. You can use these systemic treatments on any trees or plants that do not produce edible fruit or crop.

These products contain Imidaclorpid and are administered to the plant through the root system. The pesticide then travels through the plant's leaves and branches to protect it from the inside. Systemic Insecticides can be purchased in liquid and granular formats and can be used in conjunction with topical pesticide products for complete protection.



Stress Relief

Any time your trees or plants undergo a period of stress, such as being attacked by pests, it is important to provide them with supplemental nutrients to boost them back to health. We developed our Super Charged Moon Juice™ as a customized blend of nutrients to help trees, palms, plants, cacti, and grass recover from wind, weather, and pest-related stress.

Once your trees and plants have been given a healthy dose of stress-relieving Moon Juice, it's time to promote strong, new growth with our Moon Dust™. Moon Dust™ is a potent fertilizer and plant food for all varieties of trees and plants that are grown in our region. It promotes vigorous, healthy new growth to fully recover from any damage.

Our Super Charged Moon Juice™ and Moon Dust™ are tailored for trees and plants in our local environment and will help them bounce back to being lush and beautiful after any damage they may have sustained from a recent pest attack. We carry Super Charged Moon Juice™, Moon Dust™, and a wide selection of other custom fertilizers at all our nursery locations. Feel free to stop by and pick some up to ensure your landscape is growing at its best!

Moon juice plant food at Moon Valley Nurseries
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