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Holes-in-Basil-Leaves.jpg

Holes in Basil Leaves

Last year I planted basil in a pot on our deck. It wasn't long before there were holes in the leaves. It looked like something was eating them. I wasn't sure how to treat it and wanted to check with you before I buy some again. Thanks so much!

Slugs eat large ragged holes in the leaves of basil and many other plants. They feed at night and hide under mulch, plant leaves and rocks during the day. Trap and drown slugs using beer. Place the beer in a shallow dish sunk into the ground or use a half empty bottle laid on its side. The slugs are attracted to the fermenting yeast, crawl inside and drown. Sluggo and other slug controls with iron phosphate as the active ingredient can be used around food crops. Be sure to read and follow all label directions before purchasing and applying.

The four lined plant bug can also damage basil. They suck plant juices causing circular clear or black spots on the leaves. The dead tissue can eventually fall out resulting in small holes. Hand picking, if you are quick, and insecticidal soap can be used to control these pests.

Japanese beetles are the culprit when the leaf tissue is devoured and just the veins remain. You can’t miss these pests as they eat and mate in broad daylight. Pluck these insects off the plants and drop them in soapy water. Or try Neem. This eco-friendly product can help control small populations of Japanese beetles.

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