A relative to, basil (
Ocimum basilicum ) has become one of the most popular, easy-to- and versatile of garden herbs. All basil is heat- and sun-loving, regardless of variety. Originating from India, basil plant leaves may be found in a plethora of cuisines from Italian to Thai and can be used to flavor foods, vinegars, oils, and even to scent soap. However, you may sometimes be surprisedВ to find holes or other basil leaf damage in basil leaves. What s Eating My Basil Leaves? Generally speaking, basil plant leaves are not susceptible to many issues as long as you and maintain hygiene surrounding the plant. That said, you may on occasion notice that something is taking a nibble or two from your soon-to-be pesto. What basil pests are capable of this relentless infraction? Let s learn more about the pests associated with most basil leaf damage. When gaps or holes in basil leaves have been discovered, the time for action is now! The most frequent assaulters of your precious basil plant leaves are Japanese beetles, slugs and aphids. are usually found for around a month during the summer.
They ravage the tender leaf but do not eat the larger veins of the basil plant, leaving a lacy looking skeleton on your plant. Japanese beetles can be plucked from the basil plant with your fingers and squished or dropped into soapy water to dispose. You may also choose to cover plants with garden fabric to reduce the number of mature insects that feed on them, which can also include the. Slugs, ugh, slugs! find the basil plant leaves almost as delicious as you do. They create ragged holes in the basil plant leaves after climbing up the plant. While basil plants like mulch to help retain the moisture they enjoy, it is also a conduit for the slugs. To retard those munching slugs, try sprinkling over the mulch. The diatomaceous earth scrapes the slug s skin and causes it to dehydrate and subsequently die. Products such as Bayer Advanced Dual Action and Slug Killer Bait, Sluggo, Escar-Go, and Schultz Slug and Snail Bait must be reapplied after rain or watering. While not totally nontoxic, these products contain iron phosphate, which is significantly less harmful to pets, birds and beneficial insects than the more antiquated metaldehyde-containing products.
Soft bodied insects such as, and В can be eradicated with like Bonide Multi Purpose Insect Control Soap, Safer Rose and Flower Insect Killer Concentrate, Safer Insect Killing Soap Concentrate and Concern Insect Killing Soap Concentrate. Most of these pests will be on the underside of the basil leaf and must have direct contact with the soapy spray to effectively eradicate them. If you are interested in using a more environmentally friendly product, you may investigate Azadiractin, which is an extraction naturally produced by the Neem tree, and is also known to gardeners as. Products which contain Azadiractin include: Align, Azatin, Neemex and Omazin. These products provide the gardener with another option for controlling basil plant marauders. Finally, remove any basil plant leaves with holes in them to avoid contaminating the rest of your plant. Chances are good that those damaged basil plant leaves harbor some type of pest vying for your next batch of Pesto Genovese. My basil is riddled with holes.
I can t find any pests hanging around the plants or on the leaves. What to do? Basil (Ocimum basilicum) can be grown in Michigan gardens as an annual herb when the ground warms in the spring or inside year-round. Basil is grown for many purposes, including crafters using it in potpourri and dried flower arrangements. Cooks find endless culinary uses for its unique flavor, including the making of vinegars, baked goods, jellies, salads and Italian dishes. Gardeners value basil as a beneficial companion plant for many vegetables to help improve growth and flavor while providing some protection from insects. We can rub leaves on our skin and place fresh sprigs on the barbecue to repel mosquitoes or lay them on top of food bowls to stop flies from landing. Despite all its insect repellent properties, basil itself is subject to a variety of pests, including leaf-chewing slugs, snails, Japanese beetles, rose beetles, caterpillars, thrips, white flies and flea beetles. Realizing that there are a number of pests that feed on basil, your first step will be to clearly identify which pest is causing the leaf damage before a course of action can be chosen.
Slugs and their relatives hide during the day, but during the night they leave telltale slime trails to identify them after the fact. Flea beetles can hide on the undersides of the leaves, with many tiny shot holes as evidence of their presence. Most of the others are able to be observed during the day if you are vigilant. Once identified, one or more of the solutions below will help you to successfully grow and harvest this useful, valuable herb. Create a healthy environment by providing your plants with full sun and ample water. Plant in a nutrient-rich, well-drained soil. Rotate plants and introduce beneficial insects into your garden. Use organic controls including insecticidal soap and oils, B. t. (Bacillus thuringiensis), plant-based insecticides (pyrethrums) and diatomaceous earth. Learn and practice the tenets of IPM (Integrated Pest Management). A few pesticides are registered for legal use on basil, but the residue left on the plant and the chance of inhalation during application can be toxic.