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Old August 17, 2019   #1
rhines81
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Default What stripped my Rose of Sharon tree??

I have several Rose of Sharon trees mixed in with some Rhododendrons in between. The smaller tree (about 6 ft) is totally stripped clean of leaves, buds and flowers from top to bottom. Looks like a tall twig in the ground with branches and stems. All of the other trees are untouched, even the lower branches. The taller Rose of Sharon trees even have dropped some of their flowers on the ground and they are untouched.
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Old August 17, 2019   #2
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I should also mention that where it is stripped is totally green and not dead. Nothing is on the ground below the tree to indicate leaves fell off. It's like a herd of caterpillars feasted on only this particular tree overnight. Deer do not do this - it is meticulous, every node is stripped clean.
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Old August 18, 2019   #3
JoParrott
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How about some photos?
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Old August 18, 2019   #4
Worth1
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In my neck of the woods it would be grasshoppers that do it.
The massive infestation is sickening to look at sometimes.
Hundreds of them on one plant I have seen.
Then they move on to greener pastures seemingly over night.
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Old August 18, 2019   #5
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In one corner of my garden, I have ten okra plants planted. I noticed a few days ago, on my approach; a hoard of giant grasshoppers takes flight. They are only on the okra plants. They show no interest in the pepper, tomato, and cucumber plants around and under the okra plants. I thought I would soon start losing okra plants to the grasshoppers, but so far; I have not found a single nibble missing from a single okra plant.


You may be seeing some uncommon behavior by a common insect. I've seen grasshoppers strip tomato plants bare. I've seen them strip the outer surface from the stem and branches of a tomato plant and leave the dying plant standing. We sometimes have plagues of grasshoppers which eat everything in their path. I have a friend whose property is surrounded by a steel pipe supported fence. He claims he drove to the gate of his property to get his mail one day and noticed the steel pipe of the gate and fence looked very shiny. On inspection, he found the grasshoppers had removed all the rust from the steel pipes. I've never seen that happen, but my friend swears his story is true.
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Old August 18, 2019   #6
Patihum
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Are there any droppings present? I've had blister beetles completely strip tomato plants overnight but don't have any idea if they feed on things like Rose of Sharon.
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Old August 18, 2019   #7
zeuspaul
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In my neck of the woods it would be rats or squirrels, I am not sure which as I have never caught them in the act but my best guess is rats. Apple trees and oranges are the most vulnerable. They will strip an entire young tree including the ends of the branches.
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Old August 18, 2019   #8
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I watched a squirrel eating leaves from a large hibiscus plant on my front deck. I've never seen a squirrel eating leaves before.
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Old August 18, 2019   #9
Worth1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonDuck View Post
I watched a squirrel eating leaves from a large hibiscus plant on my front deck. I've never seen a squirrel eating leaves before.
Probably a Hipster squirrel, I sent a few your way.
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Old August 18, 2019   #10
bcday
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Could be larvae of the Hibiscus Sawfly or the caterpillar of the Rose of Sharon Moth aka hibiscus leaf caterpillar. They can defoliate a bush in short order. Japanese beetles will do a lot of damage, but you would have noticed Japanese beetles. Sawfly larvae and moth caterpillars are small skinny green things that blend right in with the plant stems. I don't know that they would eat the flower buds and blossoms though.
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Old August 19, 2019   #11
DonDuck
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Worth1 View Post
Probably a Hipster squirrel, I sent a few your way.

Worth, you really don't need to do that. I have plenty of squirrel's without your help. I used to trap them and release them on an island near our house. We finally found some squirrel proof bird feeders, so I no longer need to trap them. That is probably why that squirrel was eating leaves.
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Old August 28, 2019   #12
rhines81
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I identified the culprit once they found their way around the corner to another Rose of Sharon tree ... Japanese Beetles! Case closed!
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