Gardening may be both joyful and frustrating, especially when pests keep attacking your plants.
Many garden pests love to munch on plants and are especially fond of fruits and vegetables.
If something’s been nibbling on the plants in your garden, you’ll want to get to the bottom of the problem before the plant is seriously damaged.
Pests can destroy plants if you don’t take action.
How can you identify what’s eating your plants?
Inspect your plants and look for signs that might tell you what type of pest you’re dealing with, such as droppings, insect larvae, or eggs.
You also learn more about common garden pests.
What is Eating my Plants Leaves?
Insects, slugs, snails, and rodents all eat the leaves of plants. Some of these pests are more active during the day, while others attack plants at night. If you can successfully identify the pest that’s targeting your plants, you’ll be able to do more to keep your plants safe.
- 1 What is Eating my Plants Leaves?
- 2 Pests that Eat Leaves include:
- 3 How to Deal With Garden Pests
- 4 Frequently Asked Questions About Garden Pest Eating Plant Leaves
Pests that Eat Leaves include:
Woodchucks usually feed on plants during the afternoon.
Not only do they eat leaves and vegetables, but they trample other plants in your garden.
Since woodchucks can destroy a garden fairly quickly, you should be proactive if you spot a woodchuck in your yard.
The easiest method to keep woodchucks out is to put up a garden fence.
Rabbits typically eat entire leaves rather than taking a bite out of a plant.
They feed throughout the evenings, nights, and early mornings.
You can usually identify rabbit damage by looking for droppings or footprints.
Rabbits feed near their burrows, so if you’ve seen rabbits in your yard, there’s a good chance they’re eating your leaves.
Voles typically chew on both the leaves and stems of seedlings. They do most of their feeding at night.
When voles move around, they dig shallow burrows.
In addition to leaf damage, you’ll see holes in your garden if it’s been infested by voles.
A mouse will eat almost anything to survive, including plant leaves.
Not only will mice attack plants in your garden, but they may also feed on plants inside your home.
When mice feed on plants, they leave droppings behind, which can contaminate the soil in your garden.
If you see mice droppings, they should be cleaned away before your plants are damaged.
Slugs typically chew small to medium-sized holes in leaves. A snail’s trail of slime is obvious evidence of its presence.
Since slugs are nocturnal, they’ll almost always attack your garden at night. Early spring is when slugs are most active.
While snails usually eat the leaves of younger plants, they’ll much on almost any plant in your garden.
Like slugs, snails leave behind trails of slime, usually on the surfaces of leaves.
Snails eat mostly at night and early in the morning.
Since snails hibernate during the winter, they feed more heavily at the end of summer and throughout the fall.
When aphids attack a plant, they do it en masse. You can usually spot aphids swarming around a plant’s upper leaves.
Early dawn is when insects like aphids are most active.
Aphids are likely attacking your plant if the leaves and stems of the plant have begun to wilt.
Caterpillars usually leave behind large holes in the leaves of the plants they feed on.
Some types of caterpillars, like cutworms, also feed on the stems of plants, which can cause plants to topple over.
This insect is known for its healthy appetite and feeds throughout the day, especially during the summer.
They usually chew on the outer edges of leaves instead of leaving holes in a leaf’s center.
While people often mistake sawflies for caterpillars, they’re wasp larvae.
Sawflies typically feed on plants in a group, which means they can do a lot of damage in a short period.
When sawflies eat leaves, they may leave holes behind or skeletonize the leaf, eating all of the tissue in the leaf’s veins.
Sawflies may leave behind webs or tiny larvae called gall.
Ants don’t actually eat leaves, but leaf cutter ants will bite off chunks of leaves and carry the pieces back to their nest.
The leaves are fed to a fungus that the ants eat.
If there are leaf cutter ants in your garden, you may see ants carrying pieces of leaves away.
These ants forage in groups and can be active day and night.
If grasshoppers have been feeding on your plants, they’ll usually leave behind ragged holes.
In addition to chewing on leaves, grasshoppers will eat steams, fruits, and vegetables.
Although grasshoppers tend to be active during the day, they feed at night as well.
Grasshoppers may lay eggs in the soil around your garden.
If you spot beetles in your garden they’re likely either Japanese beetles or asparagus beetles.
Both types of beetles are very active, and if they’re attacking your plant, you should be able to spot them out in the open.
Late spring or early summer is when these insects like beetles begin to eat.
While a single beetle won’t cause much damage, it can wreak havoc on a garden in groups.
How to Deal With Garden Pests
The best way to protect your garden from rodents and other mammals is to shield your plants with fencing or row covers.
Certain smells, such as garlic, chili powder, or predator urine, can also help to keep these critters away.
You may remove insects off the plant by hand and drop them into soapy water if you can detect them in motion.
You can also try leaving open containers of soapy water on the ground around your plants.
Dusting plants with diatomaceous earth can also repel many pests.
Diatomaceous earth is formed from the leftovers of aquatic organisms called diatoms.
While diatomaceous earth is non-toxic and isn’t dangerous to people, it can be fatal to slugs, beetles, and insects.
When these creatures come into direct contact with the substance, it dries out their bodies, eventually killing them.
Chemical pesticides can be effective against pests, but they can also contaminate the soil.
Because of this, it’s best to try other pest removal methods before you spray your plants.
Frequently Asked Questions About Garden Pest Eating Plant Leaves
How Can I Heal a Plant With Holes In Its Leaves?
Use pruning shears to cut away leaves that have been damaged. The plant will grow new leaves as a result of this.
Should I Prune Leaves That Aren’t Damaged?
If your plant has seen a lot of growth, pruning leaves can improve air circulation around the plant. Pruning can also be a way to shape a plant.